Moisturisers – the good, the bad and the ugly

Moisturisers are the most important skin care product you can ever use. I believe that if you use nothing else on your skin, at least use a moisturiser. However, I never used to think that it wasn’t such a bad thing to use a cheap moisturiser. My theory was, better a cheap moisturizer than none at all. So whenever a client of mine commented that they could only afford a cheap brand, I never used to get too upset about it, even though I would have preferred they invest more in their skin I thought at least they were protecting their skin from water loss.

However, I have learnt something that has caused me to change my mind! Cheap moisturisers contain cheap ingredients, no surprises there, but the problem is the cheap emulsifiers they contain. You see emulsifiers are needed to mix oil and water together to form a stable emulsion. That way when you open your moisturiser it doesn’t look like French dressing. Emulsifiers are also quite beneficial, helping the actives in your moisturizer penetrate deeper into your skin.

The problem occurs when cheap, harsh emulsifiers build up in the top layers of your skin. You see, they retain their ability to act as emulsifiers but once the oil from your moisturizer has washed off they need to find other oil to emulsify. What they find is the oil-soluble chemicals found between the layers of your skin that are essential for helping your skin retain precious moisturiser and maintaining a good barrier function.

When you wet your skin with water, these cheap emulsifiers react with these important chemicals and cause them to bond with the water and rinse away! This is called the ‘wash out’ effect and you know it is happening if it doesn’t matter how much moisturiser you apply, your skin still feels dry.

So do your skin a favour, ask your beauty therapist which moisturizer they recommend for your skin type and invest in the best one you can afford.

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