Skin care is not skin deep

Skin care is not skin deep

Our skin is a pretty amazing thing – It is a strong barrier to things from the outside, yet soft and supple; it keeps things together on the inside; it selectively transports important molecules and knows which ones to let in; it helps to regulate our temperature; and it replaces itself each month!

Where does skin come from?

Skin is created by what we eat, what our body can make from what we eat, and it is kept supple by maintaining a highly regulated water flux. We are literally feeding it from the inside, and the world is attacking it from the outside. We should care for our skin first from the inside, and then support it through life's different challenges from the outside by caring about what you put on it.

Sometimes these challenges are due to injury, exposure, diseases, or pollution. But we also are challenged throughout life from our genetics, hormonal balances, medications, and as we age. For this outside bit – we developed Nourish to work as a “moisturiser”, which is a term that is really a bit vague. Do we really need moisturisers if our skin is good at doing its thing?

Are moisturisers necessary?

The answer is not always, mostly, people need different types, and more as we age. However, the basics remain the same – people with dryer skin need a lipid-rich moisturiser particularly when skin is stressed, not fully performing its barrier function and losing water faster than it should. At other times when all systems are optimal, our skin can actually recover to a normal moisture balance without moisturisers within about 3 weeks – with an addendum here – while we are young.

Because we are all growing older and life throws spanners at us constantly, you will adapt to your changing skin needs from the outside. Moisturisers work because water loss is one of those things that is especially important to keep in check. Hydration keeps the important metabolic processes flowing inside the skin, and also keeps it supple for the vigorous mechanical manoeuvres that is has to pull off.

Make it simple, safe and proven

Choosing your moisturiser is mostly about knowing the good, basic, plant ingredients that are safe, well established and have worked for millenia, and not including anything toxic. On top of that, there are still some unique molecules that we learn about with some special effects, and that is what we found with our seaweed extract SXRG84.

There are a number of very safe ingredients in our Nourish moisturiser, but there are four key ones that we know will work for those challenged with dry skin.

PhycoDerm Nourish by PhycoHealth

Shea butter is a natural emolient and barrier ingredient from the Shea Tree that reduces water loss, includes some interesting anti-oxidant phenolics, and has been used by humans and traded across Western Africa and up to Ancient Egypt since at least 5000 years ago. It is also one of the more sustainable crops and is more resilient than most to dry climate effects, creating an important income to African nations. This is one of the most sustainable and oldest sources of natural barrier ingredients for the skin. It is even used in the manufacture of chocolate sometimes so we are also eating shea butter – it is safe, sustainable and what is good for chocolate is good for me too I say.

PhycoDerm SXRG84 is of course our very own and exclusive seaweed extract that has been used to develop skin tissue bioinks for wound and burns healing research. You can read about our research on the phenomenal similarity between the function of our particular seaweed molecules and our own skins dermatan sulfate, a molecule that regulates skin cell growth and development, inflammatory processes and collagen production and structure, has an extreme water holding capacity, and is critical in regulating skin physiology. We are finding that in reconstructed skin tissue research, our PhycoDerm SXRG84 is doing the same things and also has skin firming, anti-oxidant, collagen protecting and super hydration properties.

Chamomile is known for its anti-oxidant properties, and these are most potent in the water soluble components of Chamomile, which is why we drink Chamomile tea. Like shea butter, it has been used for millennia from Egypt to Rome in topical applications, soothing redness; in other words an anti-inflammation effect. There are many phytonutrients in Chamomile that means we are not across specifically cause and effect in skin care, but the rich phenolic compounds and organic acids are thought to be most important.

For Rosemary extracts, in contrast to Chammomile extracts, it tends to be the oiler ones that are beneficial. Rosemary oils acts as a refreshing astringent that tightens or the skin. It sometimes provides some relief for acne prone skins and is used for its antimicrobial effects. A bit like honey and without the risk of creating superbugs from toxic antibiotics. Rosemary is also used as a cell stimulant and although it has also been used for millenia along the Mediterranean Sea, we are still learning about what it’s properties are. Current research is showing potential for neurological support.

Remember to stay on top of skin health from the inside too with plenty of diverse foods, mostly plants, lots of colour and seaweed, exercise, good sleep, and low exposure to UV light and pollutants. If your skin is naturally oily, then maybe a lower barrier moisturiser like Soothe will be better for you.