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What's Your Recipe... for incorporating hydration

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What's Your Recipe... for incorporating hydration


As the months speed by and seasons change, skin undergoes changes too, such as dehydration, flaking, roughness, redness, cracks—all signs of imbalance in the epidermis and dermis. How can your facial treatments re-establish harmony in your client's skin?

Isotonic Balance

The key to helping clients successfully navigate the dangers of dehydrated, damaged skin is keeping skin in its perfect isotonic balance. To create this balance, hydration must be accompanied by moisturization. The result? Skin stays protected and healthy-looking, while achieving that coveted K-Beauty "chok chok," translated as "dewy glow."


There are 2 important factors for successfully incorporating hydration into treatments.

Step 1: Hydrate with moisture-boosters. Use products with high concentrations of water-loving molecules such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, urea, and sodium PCA, which make up skin's natural moisturizing factors (NMF). These ingredients plump and balance the water content of skin cells and hydrate skin throughout the day.

Step 2: Moisturize with oils that seal in hydration and protect skin's moisture barrier. Use lipids that include ceramides, butters, or botanical oils such as kukui, baobab, moringa, and sacha inchi, known for their high levels of skin-perfecting omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These types of lipids prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and help keep skin healthy, elastic, and supple.

Following these two steps helps maintain skin's isotonic balance and regulates the permeability of skin cells and the skin barrier. This harmonious balance protects skin from issues arising from chronic dryness and dehydration due to skin stressors that include desert climates, wind, cold air, heated rooms, hot showers, and long soaks in jacuzzis.

Exfoliate for a Clean Slate

No matter how much moisture you put onto skin, it won't create an isotonic balance if dead skin cells are in the way. Exfoliation is essential. Mandelic acid, lactic acid, and other AHAs are ideal for clearing away debris and smoothing roughness so that hydrating molecules and anti-aging ingredients can get in. However, be careful not to over-exfoliate dry skin, which can trigger the skin to over-compensate by producing excess oil.


For blemish-prone skin or congested pores, ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide target acne-causing bacteria and enlarged pores, but can upset skin's moisture balance and damage the barrier function. The solution? Apply non-alcohol toner, hyaluronic acid, and non-comedogenic lipids.

For sun-damaged or aging skin, derivatives of vitamin A including retinol, retinyl palmitate tretinoin, and isotretinoin smooth out wrinkles, but can cause irritation and dryness as a side effect. The solution? Layer moisture-boosters and serums containing lipids, growth factors, stem cells, peptides, and antioxidants.

Strive for Balance

The key factor for alleviating dry or dehydrated skin in your facial treatments is the balance between applying water-loving molecules and locking them in with lipids. Chronic dryness creates many skin issues, especially for younger skin, so it is essential to teach your clients proper home care as well. Advise them to apply a mineralized toner throughout the day, and to use a lipid moisturizer or serum to seal in hydration and prevent it from evaporating. This isotonic balance will help create the dewy, luminous "chok chok" skin that clients crave.


Janel Luu

Dermascope March 2018