If there's one thing that's essential for healthy skin it's moisture. Without adequate moisture, skin becomes less supple and may become rough, dry and itchy. So many factors can rob skin of essential moisture and damage the lipid layer that helps hold in water: low humidity, dry heat, wind, medications and harsh cleansing products. Your skin needs protection against moisture loss and it needs moisture therapy when it becomes too dry.
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One ingredient to look for in a moisturizing product is ceramides. Ceramides are lipids found in the outer layer of your skin. They act as a protective glue to hold skin cells tightly in place to prevent moisture loss. Unfortunately, we lose ceramides as we age. This causes skin to become dryer and thinner. You can find ceramides in some moisture therapy products to replenish those lost due to aging and to help seal in moisture.
When skin becomes dry and moisture-deprived, it can become itchy and inflamed. Ingredients like aloe vera, a succulent plant known for its healing properties, help to soothe irritated skin. So powerful are the anti-inflammatory effects of aloe vera that a study showed it greatly minimizes the effects associated with dermatitis associated with radiation therapy. Another botanical in some skin care products that helps to ease inflammation is chamomile. Some small studies show chamomile helps to soothe inflamed skin in people with the common skin condition eczema. It also has natural antioxidant properties.
The most common cause of skin aging is exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet light causes free radical production that damages skin cells and the collagen and elastin that keep it firm and youthful. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamins A, C and E in skin products help to protect against free radical damage that's so closely linked with aging. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed a combination of vitamins E and C may protect against skin aging due to sun exposure and skin cancer. That's why it's common to find these vitamins as an ingredient in lotions and other skin care products.
Another popular moisturizing ingredient in skin creams is cocoa butter. This natural emollient forms a protective layer over the skin to seal in moisture. It's ideal for softening and smoothing dry, parched skin and shielding against further moisture loss. Since it comes from the cacao bean - cocoa butter is rich in antioxidants and abundant in fatty acids that help to hydrate skin in need of moisture. Cocoa butter is a popular remedy for stretch marks although there hasn't been a lot of research supporting its effectiveness.
Glycerine is an ingredient in moisturizers that's known as a humectant. Humectants draw water to the surface of skin from the lower dermis and from the environment to help replenish moisture. There's also some evidence that glycerine improves skin elasticity. It's one of the most common ingredients in therapeutic skin products because of its ability to hold onto moisture.
As you can see, there are a number of ingredients that help to moisture and soothe dry skin. The key is to use them consistently along with a sunscreen to protect your skin against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. At drugstore.com, we’re sure to have the products on hand that have the moisturizing ingredients you choose. Check out our extensive therapeutic lotion range and give your skin the protection it deserves - every day.