Oily skin: Does it need hydration?

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Moisturized skin

Our skin retains about 20% of the body’s water and its hydration is one of the most important properties of cosmetic products. There is a myth that oily skin does not need hydration. However, as with any skin type, oily skin needs its own, specialized regular hydration.

What does oily skin mean?

Oily skin occurs when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum. This makes the skin shiny, especially on the T-Zone of the face (forehead, nose and chin). In general, the areas most affected are the face, neck and chest. Also, oily skin usually has larger pores.

Moisturized skin

When we talk about hydration of the skin, we mean the hydration of the stratum corneum, which is the most superficial layer of the skin. The stratum corneum is the moisture barrier of the skin. It is so named because it has keratinized, dead cells that form blades, which have lost their nucleus and their interior is full of a protein called keratin. Normally it has a humidity of 10-20%, binding the water due to the Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) which is 30% of the stratum corneum. This moisture comes from the main layer of the skin which is the deepest and has 70% water. Water is transported at a certain speed to the stratum corneum and eventually diffuses into the environment also at a certain speed called dehydration speed.

Dehydrated skin

Evaporation of water through the skin – obvious breathing – affects the function of certain enzymes in the stratum corneum and this has consequences on the face of the skin which becomes duller, more wrinkled and less elastic. To characterize a dehydrated skin, the water content of the stratum corneum should be less than 10%. Skin is more sensitive to dehydration or when the stratum corneum is easily detached.

Sebum production reduces the rate of dehydration by forming a protective film but the belief that oily skin does not need hydration is wrong. Clearly oily skin needs moisturizing care. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people with oily skin tend to have thicker skin and fewer wrinkles but should apply a moisturizer daily. Excessive sebum production not only does not provide greater protection to the skin but sometimes your glands produce more sebum than normal due to dehydration.

Why is skin hydratation important?

In normal and oily skin, external factors such as pollution, UV rays and excessive cleaning can damage the skin’s moisture barrier, causing water loss and increased sebum production. As a result, your skin may begin to look too oily because it does not have the necessary hydration. Excessive sebum can also clog the pores and cause pimples. Oily skin is more prone to blemishes and blisters, and is prone to acne because some germs feed on sebum.

It is common to think that a moisturizer adds water to the skin, however, this is a misconception as it actually works by preventing or reducing water evaporation from the skin. Research has shown the significant effects of moisturizing products, for example, a study published in 2018 found that a moisturizer that contains ingredients that mimic natural skin hydration systems, with a single use, increases hydration up to 24 hours [ 2].

Remember that the needs of each skin type are different and a product that is ideal for one skin type may be inappropriate or even harmful to another type. If you have oily skin, look for “oil free” on the package. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people with oily skin should use cosmetic products that do not clog the pores of the skin, non-food products [1].

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  2. Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturizing systems.

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