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Skin flooding is the latest TikTok trend to counteract dry or dehydrated skin. It is basically layering hydrating mists, serums or creams to boost hydration in the skin. The idea is to start with a humectant-rich, lightweight products first and then add a thicker emollient to seal in the moisture on the skin. This is a trend which is suitable for all genders at all ages if products are chosen wisely.
DRY OR DEHYDRATED SKIN
There is a difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin is water-lacking skin, considered a skin condition and can be temporary, while dry skin is lipid-lacking skin and seen as a skin-type. All skin types (yes including oily skin) can be dehydrated. Picture yourself in an environment like airplane without any humidity. Our skin will react to this "dehydration condition" by either (over)production of oils and lipids to "protect" itself fro drying out or get very dehydrated. When the skin is producing a fierce amount of oils and lipids as compensation, you do not have lipid-lacking or dry skin, however your skin might be dehydrated. Lipid-lacking or dry skin has less ability to produce those oils or lipids and often has an impaired skin barrier. Lipids are the "mortar" between the bricks and when they are lacking, more water will evaporate from the skin and thus it loses hydration.
Therefore "flooding" without "suffocating" the skin, can be a good approach for dehydrated skin and all skin types at all ages. If you want to start your flooding regimen on damp skin, you start immediately after cleansing and toning or use a light mist containing hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Both ingredients are powerful humectants and attract and bind water to the skin surface. Afterwards you might want to first apply a hyaluronic acid containing serum and then a cream to "seal the deal". The difference between flooding and slugging is that flooding is focusing on maximising skin hydration or moisture, while slugging is focusing on prevention of trans-epidermal water loss by (semi)occlusion. Read more about slugging.
Be aware not all hyaluronans are the same. There are different sizes. A macro-hyaluron (about 2000 kDa or larger) will lay on the surface of the skin and bind water there where the skin is losing the most water. A biologicaly active size hyaluron is the 52 kDa micro-hyaluron. This particular size molecule has proven to penetrate into the metabolic active layer of the epidermis, where is actually stimulates the keratinocytes (a certain skin cell) to produce +209% more hyaluron. This can be enough when you are young as the decline of hyaluron in the skin starts first in the epidermis.
Be aware it is NOT recommended to use a hyalruon size below 30 kDa in skin care. Hyaluronic acid has the ability to bind and attract water up to 10.000 times is molecular weight, are great to plump up the skin, however the smaller sizes have a different function and can actually harm the skin by for example causing inflammation.
LINES AND WRINKLES
If you get a bit older, also the dermis will lose it's most important filling substance (hyaluron). There is another skin cell type which can be stimulated to produce more called the fibroblast. This cell is a key cell in the junction of the epidermis and dermis and the dermis, so deeper layer. The powerful anti-oxidant and bio-active Glycine Saponin or abbreviated Saponin can bio-stimulate this cell to produce +256% more skin's own hyaluron and +49% more collagen. Moreover, there are products on the market which contain all of the above PLUS Enoxolone. Enoxolone has the ability to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called HYAL1 >50%. HYAL1 is one of 6 different hyaluronidase enzymes which degrate skin's own hyaluron, hence eliminate it from our skin. These enzymes get more active in sun-exposed or mature skin and are partially responsible why our skin will lose hyaluron as we age. Together with the anti-oxidant Saponin, Enoxolone can slow down the elimination of skin's own hyaluron via 2 complimentary pathways: physical and enzymatic degradation. With other words, products containing 2 different sizes of hyaluron, Glycine Saponin and Enoxolone will fill, stimulate and defend skin's own hyaluron in both the epidermis (top layer) and the dermis (middle layer) of the skin. Great for dehydrated and early or visible signs of ageing, like fine lines and (even deepest) wrinkles.
DAY AND NIGHT
For daytime I would highly recommend a cream with protective SPF and for nighttime a product containing regenerative and barrier repairing Dexpanthenol or Pro-Vitamin B5. Anti-oxidants are good in every day and night time routine. If you want to use a refreshing hydrating mist, there is only one product with hyaluronic acid I recommend and it is Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Mist Spray. The reason for this is that it has a skin friendly pH unlike (thermal) water. Water has a pH of 7-8 which is like a slight "insult" to the skin's healthy pH every time you spray. With the Hyaluron-Filler Mist Spray, you rebalance the skin's healthy pH level and use it as much as you like. pH to me is the foundation of good skin health. I have written a few pH related blog-posts and if you are interested simply click on the "read more" button below.
We can support's skin natural exfoliation process in various ways, for example with mechanical or chemical exfoliation.
Desquamation (shedding of skin cells thus exfoliation) is an important part of the skin's natural regeneration or renewal process.
Already in our twenties, this process slightly, however increasingly starts to slow down (Kligman 1983). As a result, the cells on the surface of our skin (corneocytes) become bigger (Kligman 1989) and a little disorganised. This leads to a duller appearance (loss of radiance) and a more rough texture of our skin.
A very comprehensive comparison of both methods:
The word "acid" unfortunately sounds very harsh and skin-unfriendly. Many acids are actually skin's own, like for example lactic acid is a skin's own natural moisturising factor (NMF) and so is hyaluronic acid. The level of NMF's decrease as we age and our skin my lose the ability to maintain well hydrated. Many years ago the benefits of lactic acid were capitalised by using baths filled with donkey milk. Citric acid is commonly used in skin care products and toners to balance skin's pH. Gluconolactone is only gradually penetrates skin and is very gentle.
It's unfortunate that "acids" have such a negative connotation, as our skin (healthy and problematic) can benefit if we use them regularly. Moreover, I prefer this method over mechanical exfoliation for all skin types, however particularly if you have dry skin, acne- or redness prone skin, sensitive skin or mature skin.
The risk of exfoliation is over-exfoliation. Over-exfoliation is damage of our skin barrier and the symptoms are very comparable to dry or (hyper) sensitive skin symptoms, which are: redness, irritation, tightness, excessive dryness, dry patches, flaking skin, uncomfortable stinging, or even burning sensation. Whenever you experience one or more symptoms of over-exfoliation, it's recommended to reduce the number of times you exfoliate and support the skin barrier repair with a moisturiser.
Hope you enjoy healthy skin & take care.
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