We all know how our skin looks and feels when we are dehydrated, such as after a long plane journey. Maintaining adequate levels of moisture becomes increasingly important as we grow older, as aging skin is less able to retain fluid, leaving it more vulnerable to dehydration.

Over time we’ll be providing detailed information on skin hydration so please check back here from time to time. One of the things that frustrates me the most is how challenging it is to find moisturizing products that I know actually work (that have some semblance of evidence behind them) at an affordable price. I’m currently on a mini-mission to find a product that I know works and that I can use for a long period of time and see results. The results I’m looking for are mainly around the containment or even diminishing of the lines I’m starting to see around my elbows, knees and underarms.  Also the sagging décolletage. so stay tuned!!

How the skin stays moist

The moisture-retaining properties of our skin are mostly conferred by its glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content, which keep our skin looking full, soft and hydrated. Ageing is associated with a reduction in healthy matrix components, including less collagen and elastin and reduced levels of some GAGs. This means the skin can no longer retain fluid as effectively.

The real deal on moisture replacement!

Our declining GAGs deep in our dermis cannot be replaced by topical applications, no matter what cosmetic companies say. They have to be delivered via injection or come from our inner (skin) health.  A glucosamine supplement (from 500mg of glucosamine daily) can also promote GAG synthesis in aging skin and improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Simple tips for ensuring your skin stays moist

  • Drink at least 2-3 liters of fluid every day.  Drink more on long plane journeys, during heavy exertion and in hot, dry weather;
  • Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, salty foods which increase fluid losses.
  • Apply moisturizers morning and night, as they help to hold moisture in your skin.
  • Carefully select your soap and other skin cleansers to remove dirt, but not the oils that prevent moisture loss. Use a gentle cleanser regularly rather than harsh cleaning every so often. If your skin feels squeaky clean, dry and tight after washing, you may be doing more harm than good.
  • Avoid products strong detergents like Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS) and soap, as they tend to disrupt the acid mantle, thereby affecting your skin’s protective barrier.

The information in this post was derived from our book Fast Living, Slow Ageing.  We had a number of fantastic advisers helping with this section including Dr John Flynn and Ananda Mahony.

Last Reviewed 10/Mar/2014

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