Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:52

The Meaning of Hydration

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The word "hydration" or "hydrating" has been a buzz word in both the cosmetic and aesthetic field for decades. We have had hydrating creams, serums, and treatments for as long as I can remember. We know that HYDRA or HYDRO refers to water – but in our field, it has taken on so many connotations as to be compared to the mythical Greek monster Hydra – the beast with many heads!

Before we define the actual meaning of hydrate, let us look at a similar word that is actually a complete misnomer – the word "moisturizer."

Technically there is no such thing as a moisturizer especially in cream form. It was actually a term invented in the early 1960s by a New York advertising firm to sell beauty creams. In those days, it was felt that humectants put into creams, such as ordinary glycerin's, somehow "moisturized" the epidermis when rubbed in.
To normal people who thought they had dry skin these creams actually did seem to make tight, dry skin feel moist and supple at least for a few hours. What actually was taking place was just a build-up of dead cells or redundant corneum.
Dead cells on the skin can be compared to dry little sponges one finds under a kitchen sink. You can rub the most expensive moisturizer on them all day long and nothing really happens, except perhaps a greasy dried out sponge! Soak the same sponge in a bucket of water and it puffs up nice and soft, let it dry out for awhile and it returns to its dry, wrinkled state again.
This is what happens to skin. Since dead cells are smaller than the living new cells underneath, when the skin is cleansed and nothing is applied, the dead cells shrink and feel tight on the skin – the urge to apply a cream to break this tension (and it does) makes the user feel they are moisturized. However, they are only greased or lubricated.
Old time humectants (many are still around) have a habit of drawing any available water to themselves – not deep into the upper epidermis – so the end result is often Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and it is a vicious circle making one dependant on a moisturizer.
My first approach to this several decades ago was to get rid of the cuticle build up and then address the newer living cells — offering them nutrients that they recognized naturally to keep them alive for as long as they were genetically programmed to live. This also involved a "protect and maintain" program as well.
The moisturizing actually comes from within our epidermis naturally. When we are very young, we have two secretive glands that keep us naturally moist and supple and fresh – with no creams at all!
These are the suderiferous glands (sweat or water) and the sebaceous oil glands – slightly acid and fractionated oil – similar in molecular size to the water molecules. Every few hours they rise to the surface of the skin, inter-mingle, and create our natural acid mantle which keeps the skin soft and moist naturally.
As the years go by, dead cells build up and the skin takes on the appearance of dry skin. Tiny lines and wrinkles develop and the suderiferous/sebaceous glands shrink or become plugged and the acid mantle breaks down. Often this is misdiagnosed as dry skin, T-Zone skin, combination skin, et cetera. However, these are not actually diagnostic categories. In fact, there are only a few actual dry skin conditions; itchiosis being the main anomaly, it is merely dead skin and needs to be exfoliated.
The next logical step would be to imitate nature – bring back the acid mantle. This is easily accomplished by spraying the skin liberally with a fine water mist, herbs can be cold soaked and added to this to mock the suderiferous secretion as close as possible and then a high micellized or fractionated oil, loaded with tocopherols, would be applied over the water immediately occluding it into the epidermis. Voila… the acid mantle is restored and you are moisturized.
At this point a good, protein delivery cream can be applied as the daily treatment delivery system. Creams that are transdermally formulated can indeed be stored in the many voids in our skin for hours and deliver the goodies that keep the living skin cells alive. This can include sun blocks and antioxidants.
It is important to note that skin that is rough and flaming red with a rosacea appearance is suffering from TEWL and needs to be spritzed several times a day. What puts out fire? Water.
Keeping the epidermis hydrated with a good acid mantle is not enough as we get older. The very matrix of our skin, that jelly-like substance that all of our cells float in like little islands connected by bridges (desmesomes), is made up of GAGS (glycoaminoglycans). Chondroitan sulfates and essential fatty acids bind it all together. This is what gives skin its youthful bounce and turgidity.
As we age, this matrix gets thinner and the skin becomes crêpe-like in areas. The word "essential" means something that has to come from an outside source, not made by the body, and in this case, essential fatty acids (EFA) must be stepped up on a daily basis orally – to help bring this bounce and thickness back!
Evening Primrose oil with its wonderful female hormone leveling prostaglandins is my main choice of EFA (depending upon how it is extracted) but there are several EFA's obtained from fatty fish and other oils.


To me, hydration means inside out – not the action of any one type of product; it can even include a professional, hydrophilic massage. It is an action and not a name that should identify a product.
If I were forced to describe what the human body actually is, at the most common denominator, I would say: We are a bag of fluids, a few chemicals orchestrated by enzymes, and held together by an electromagnetic field. This does not make us terribly substantial, all things considered; we are fluid creatures by nature. Hydrating is topical, lower epidermal, and internal, such as drinking enough water every day. You would be surprised how many people do not!

Danné Montague-King is a worldwide leader in the field of skin rejuvenation. He was one of the first biochemists to recognize the power of enzymes to hydrate and tighten the skin and the benefit of vitamin C therapy for collagen in human skin. Danné is a tireless educator who annually travels throughout the world conducting lectures and training for professionals and consumers. As a journalist, Danné is a regular contributor to many of the world's most important professional journals including: Australian Beauty, Beauty New Zealand, DERMASCOPE Magazine, Health & Beauty, Irish Beauty, Les Nouvelles Esthetique, Professional Beauty, and Shjkonnet og Helse.


The extraordinary combination of antioxidants and innovative nutrients such as coffee seed oil, vitamin A, hyaluronic acid, and apple extracts in Alex-Cosme-ceuticals' REVIVE
Active Lifting Mask brighten and lift the skin while retaining moisture, improving texture, and tone. 877-313-ALEX,

or CRR# 103

Advanced Rejuvenating Concepts™ Rest-N-Restore is a 10 percent hyaluonic acid complex formulated to help improve hydration and moisture retention of the skin. Rest-N-Restore is a great additionto ultrasonic skin care treatments.
800 689-0499,
or CRR# 299

BIOTONE's Smoothing Massage Butter is unscented, luxuriously silky, and ultra-hydrating. It contains pure African shea butter and replenishing oils of jojoba, avocado, peach, and sunflower. Wheat amino acids and beta glucan are specially added to protect the skin while retaining moisture. 800-445-6457 or

Herb Rich Balm by De La Terre Skincare is a post procedure ointment that accelerates re-epithelialization of wounds, and provides anti-inflammatory benefits following laser resurfacing, aggressive chemical peels, dermabrasions, and facelifts.
or CRR# 221

DMK's hydrating masque re-establishes your skins natural barrier function by containing Tocopherol, a natural vitamin E that accumulates in the epidermis and forms a barrier against moisture evaporation; can be used on normal to dry skin types.
dannemking or CRR# 298

Bubalina's Bath and Shower Gels are formulated with natural ingredients to nourish and hydrate for glowing beautiful skin; filled with antioxidants and vitamin E to enhance the nourishing and hydrating effects when applied to the skin. 800-366-2181,
bubalinabeauty, or CRR# 285

Crater Lake Company's Aloe Smoothie Lotion helps protect skin against UV damage that can cause premature aging. A luscious blend of shea butter, hazelnut, jojoba, and rice bran oil moisturize skin for a softness that lasts all day.

The Elina Rejuvenation Collection from Elina Organics includes Ambra Lift™, a unique skin formula that instantly helps lift, tone, and smooth the skin, as well as Elina Elite Formula, an intensive anti-wrinkle moisturizing treatment to help stimulate collagen production. 877-384-8300 or elinaorganics

Hydrating Body Buffer from cures by avancé® uses a gentle process of exfoliation by way of purifying seaweed extracts that delicately buff and brighten the epidermis. Nutrient rich seaweed cleansing gel exfoliates and remineralizes skin creating a radiant glow. 800-777-7546 or curesbyavance

Éminence Organic Skin Care of Hungary's Echinacea Recovery Cream is a healing, hydrating, and soothing recovery fluid cream for dehydrated and irritated skin; contains echinacea, yarrow, and evening primrose oil to help repair the signs of aging without leavingskin greasy. 877-747-6342, eminence
or CRR# 165

Replenishing Creme by SAIAN® combines highly effective biogenic ingredients to soothe, nurture, and restore the skin's moisture content. This cream contains hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in the body responsible for tissue hydration, lubrication, and cellular function. 800-291-1130, saian, CRR# 250

Natural digestive enzymes that help with the assimilation process of food can now be used in place of peels, masks, lasers, and microdermabrasion. Let Edimi Skin & Body Care's Facial Enzymes with pineapple and papaya do it naturally. For backbar use only.
888-362-8425 or edimi

Astara Skin Care's Golden Flame Hydration Mask is a long, cool drink of water for every skin type, drenching it in moisture binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and organic aloe vera. 888-728-9191 or astaraskincare

Bath By Bettijo's all-natural Whipped Shea Butter is formulated with unrefined Shea Butter from Ghana and is whipped with sunflower, jojoba, soy, and grape seed oils. Absolutely no chemicals are used in the process. 877-528-1584 or

Lam Collagen with Royal Jelly Cream is especially designed for the treatment of dry and sensitive skin. The royal jelly extract is highly nourishing and protective, while the collagen serves to keep the skin supple and well hydrated. 877-760-2722 or lamskin

The FarmHouse Fresh Honeysuckle Blood Orange Custard Body Cream is made up of unprocessed vitamins as well as potassium and magnesium; whipped shea butter, soybean, and rice bran oils, adds emollient moisturization to soothe and hydrate dry, chapped skin. 888-773-9626 or farmhouse

D20 Hydra Mist is a powerhouse of skin nutrition, from peptides that help to naturally stimulate the renewal of skin cells and calm the skin to cactus and algae extracts to help improve the skin's ability to protect itself and D20 molecules forlasting hydration. 510-865-8038 or smbessentials

Centered on the Hawaiian concept of well-being, Ola Hawai'i Body Butter penetrates deeply and moisturizes dry, thirsty skin without leaving it feeling greasy. Available in seven luxuriously rich and creamy scents found only in the tropics.

Hydrating Serum from PCA skin® combines antioxidants and humectants with biocompatible hydrators that effectively move through intracellular water channels for unsurpassed hydration, reduces transepidermal water loss, maintains cutaneous moisture levels, and improves elasticity. 877-722-7546, pcaskin, or CRR# 199

Part of the Ligne Power Repair – Power Repair line, pevonia® BOTANICA's hydrating cleanser removes impurities and rinses away without residue. Combining marine collagen and marine elastin, this cleanser helps to preserve skin's hydrolipidic film and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. 800-PEVONIA, pevonia, or CRR# 278

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