pheebs  (avatar)
updated 2 years ago

How do moisturisers work? (Part 1: The skin)

When you look at a presentation done by the angmohs on Koreans but you see a Taiwanese celebrity.......

gaiz plz wat

That's like putting an American in a presentation about Brits.

How do moisturisers work?

Gonna be writing about moisturisers today.

Ask any questions now and I'll answer them in the post later!

I'll be splitting this topic up like my guide to sunscreens cause this is quite large.

To understand how moisturisers work I think we need to back up a little bit and learn about skin hydration.

And for that, we need a little primer on the structure of the skin.

Structure of skin

Your skin consists of three main layers:

• Epidermis
• Dermis
• Subcutaneous tissue (also called the fatty layer/hypodermis/adipose tissue)

The epidermis can be further broken down to 4 or sometimes 5 layers, depending on the thickness of the skin:

• Stratum Corneum (SC)
• Stratum Lucidum*
• Stratum Granulosum
• Stratum Spinosum
• Stratum Basale

(* found in areas of thick skin like soles of your feet, and palms)

When talking about hydration, the industry usually refers to SC hydration.

In other words, the moisture content of the topmost layer of the top layer.

Since this layer is so important, lets have a closer look at it.

Stratum Corneum (SC)

There are 2 main components that make up the structure:

• Corneocytes
• Epidermal (intracellular) lipids


Corneocytes are flat, dead cells shaped hexagonally. They do not have a nucleus or any other usual cell components. (Did I make you think about Bio? 😂)

The SC is 10 to 20 micrometers thick and is made up of 25 to 35 layers of corneocytes.

This layer cannot be too thick or too thin. If it's too thick, it will cause scaly skin. If it's too thin, your skin will look smooth and radiant but it doesn't perform its duties as a barrier as well.

Intracellular lipids

The epidermal lipids (oils) make up 20% of the total volume of the SC.

A common analogy to describe this layer is brick-and-mortar, where the corneocytes are the bricks while the lipids are the mortar (cement) in between to bind them.

The lipids ensure that the skin stays supple and does not crack as well as allow the skin to be resistant to transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and microorganisms.

Major lipids are:
• Ceramides (50%)
• Cholesterol (25%)
• Fatty acid (10-20%)


The SC also contains hydrophilic (water-loving) stuff we call Natural Moisturising Factors (NMFs).

Amino acids make up a large proportion (>40%) of the NMFs. Other components include hyaluronic acid, lactates (from lactic acid), urea, sugars, etc.

NMFs are humectants (like glycerin, which can be found in the SC) so they help to boost water content in the skin.

Okay I'm done with talking about the structure of the skin. #pheebsstructureofskin

Sorry ah, I think it was a bit dry. 😪

Environment and the skin

The humidity of your immediate environment does have an impact on your skin's ability to stay hydrated.

When in dry air, even for a very short period, water content in the SC will decrease and the skin will appear rougher.

In other words, in drier air, your skin will dry up. Like a raisin LOLOL

That's not to say that if the air is humid means your skin won't be dry.

If there is excess UV radiation, the UV can cause increased TEWL as the skin barrier will be compromised.

This is yet another reason why sunscreen is important.

And you know I'm gonna nag at you to put on your sunscreen again.
Relevant read: #pheebsguidetosunprotection

This is for your own good okay! 😂😂😂

Anyway, TEWL just sounds fancy la. It's just water loss through your epidermis. 😂

But your skin can also adapt to the climate!

Comparisons of the barrier function and water content of people living in Arizona (drier) vs New York (more humid) found that people who live in a dry climate had a better barrier function (less TEWL) and less dry skin.

Use of cleansers

Probably no surprise (or maybe it is) but cleansers can dry out your skin.

Especially if you use a cleanser with harsh surfactants (what's that? Read Day 203) like soap (why? Read: Day 204) or SLS.

Again, SLS is safe but not recommended because it strips too much oil.

Harsh surfactants can strip the intracellular lipids and can also denature enzymes in the skin that would control processes that keep your skin barrier intact.

Because the barrier is compromised, and lipids are removed excessively, this leads to the skin becoming dry, rough, cracked and in worse cases, inflamed.

So, to prevent excessive water loss from your skin, avoid harsh surfactants and instead go for milder ones like sulfosuccinates, isethionates, alkyl glutamates (fun fact: related to MSG), sarsocinates, alkyl phosphates, taurates or ethoxylated alkyl sulfates (SLES).

Oatmeal, colloidal oatmeal is also good for mild and gentle cleansing for dry and sensitive skin.

Part 2 tomorrow

I will talk about moisturisers tomorrow! Today was just to help you understand skin hydration first.

#dayrebeauty #letstalkskincare #pheebsskincare #pheebscosmeticsguide #moisturiser #pheebsguidetomoisturisers


Finally getting busy at work and earning a reputation as a fast worker 😌 sound like I'm praising myself la but if you know how bored I've been looking for things to do all the time you'll know that this is like dream come true LOLOL


Oh and I also let angmohs at work try the honey Yuzu concentrate (?) today.

I was trying to show them what yuzu is so they know.

Sometimes I see yuzu as a top note of a fine fragrance and get excited. But after smelling, I almost always go "this is more bergamot than yuzu" 😐😐😐

It's quite silly when yuzu is put as a note when more than 80% (estimated) of Europeans don't know what it actually smells like.

Day 223

Wednesday, 10 Aug 2016

32 9
AhhMeow (avatar)

AhhMeow Hello! Me again! (1) So if using chemical exfoliation is on sc ? And too much exfoliation is no good? (2) How about in environment that's like Singapore - hot n humid? Our skin don't lose as much water? (3) If so then why keep moisturize? (4) and those sleeping mask = moisturizer ? (5) using rosehip oil can replace moisturizer? (6) the last question that's not related to moisturizing. How constitute a good/ healthy skin?

2 years ago

thebraveclover (avatar)

thebraveclover Is there a difference between hydration and moisturization??

2 years ago

pgtxl (avatar)

pgtxl @bitteraloevera @thebraveclover thanks for the questions! I'll answer them in today's post later! :)

2 years ago

velvetcakes (avatar)

velvetcakes I love yuzu! Both the smell of it and yuzu-flavoured things ^^ haha what did your colleagues think of it after finally trying yuzu! 😊

2 years ago

pgtxl (avatar)

pgtxl @velvetcakes yay me too!! I also think matcha + yuzu is like match made in heaven LOLOL I think I'll enjoy a hot cup of yuzu during winter 😍
the angmohs quite liked it! One of them said it's like marmalade but it was definitely something new for them cause one of them was like "so this is how yuzu is supposed to smell like".
One of my colleagues wanted to bring a bit for our perfumers in Paris 😆

2 years ago

velvetcakes (avatar)

velvetcakes Yes! A hot cup of yuzu in winter would be sooo good ^^ haha and at least now your colleagues know how yuzu smells like, thankfully they liked it! Yuzu would be so interesting in a perfume!

2 years ago

pgtxl (avatar)

pgtxl @velvetcakes Yes! Yuzu in a perfume would be amazing!!! 😍 I'm not sure if yuzu oil is a thing yet but I definitely hope so!
It's getting nippier in the morning so soon enough I'll be having a hot cup of yuzu in the mornings! Excited for that but not a big fan of the cold ☃

2 years ago

pgtxl (avatar)

pgtxl @bitteraloevera answering some of your questions here :)
1) yes, too much of anything is always a bad thing, everything in moderation. Doing exfoliation too often can injure your skin by exposing lower layers unnecessarily. And yes chemical exfoliation is mostly on the SC.
6) There really isn't an official definition of good & healthy skin and it means different things to different people. To me, good & healthy skin is one that is smooth, radiant, controlled sebum production, very few blemishes, sparse wrinkles. Also definitely not diseased/inflamed and red or dry/flaky.

2 years ago

AhhMeow (avatar)

AhhMeow @pgtxl thank you for answering my questions!!!! 💯😊😊😊

2 years ago

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