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Natural Awakenings Boston

Skin Hydration 101

Apr 30, 2011 01:52AM ● By Kit Doucoure

Drinking water and applying creams aren’t enough to keep the skin hydrated, according to Beverly Goldstein, owner of Natural Sense Skin Care & Cosmetics, in Newton. Natural Awakenings asked Goldstein to share more tips on the topic of retaining the skin’s precious moisture.

During warmer weather, should people be very concerned about hydrating their skin?

Absolutely. In New England, drastic weather changes—especially in the spring and fall—really rob the skin of moisture. In summer, you have the added problem of hot sun and air conditioning. Other factors include aging; tobacco, caffeine and alcohol use; frequent airplane travel; not drinking enough water; stress; medication; and hormonal changes.

Will avoiding some of these moisture zappers and drinking lots of water help?

Drinking water helps flush the system, but it doesn’t put as much moisture into the skin as needed, especially during weather changes. For that, I recommend using hyaluronic acid and sodium PCA, humectants that do put moisture into the skin. Our skin is made up of hyaluronic acid, and as we get older, it decreases. It’s what keeps the eyes and the joints moist, and it helps with wound healing. You can take it internally, via capsules and liquid, or use topical versions. I ingest it orally because I have some arthritis in my body, but I also spray hyaluronic acid or sodium PCA on my skin before applying a cream. I don’t recommend spraying the face with water by the way, because it evaporates and can actually be dehydrating.

How can someone tell if his or her skin is dehydrated?

When you squeeze the skin a bit and it forms a line, and the line stays there when you release, that’s a sign of dehydration, as are dry flakes and dry patches. In the wintertime, people make the mistake of using a heavier cream on flaky and patchy skin, but that “asphyxiates” the skin, so it can’t breathe. It gets clogged and blackheads and pustules can form. Most of the time, the problem is dehydration; so using one of the humectants might allow you to use a lighter cream. People with very oily skin might only need to use a hyaluronic acid or sodium PCA spray. A cream on top of that could be problematic.

Visit Natural Sense Skin Care & Cosmetics at 326 Walnut Street, in Newton, or call 617-969-9510 for more information.

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