How Skin Stays Hydrated

Posted by Nicki Staggs on

The Role of Lactic Acid in Skin Hydration

  • The outer most layer of skin serves as a tough barrier between you and the environment
  • Skin cells are continually migrating to the surface where they die and slough off
  • Exfoliating dead cells reveals younger cells, leading to a more youthful appearance
  • Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMFs) deep within the cells bind with water and keep cells hydrated
  • Lactic Acid is a major component of NMFs
Knight in armor

Every day you wear an armor of protection against the environment.  Your personal armor is a strong, thin layer of skin cells called the stratum corneum (SC).  This skin cell armor is necessary to keep moisture in and toxins out. 

The cells in this outer most layer of skin are arranged like bricks in a matrix of intercellular lipids, creating a tough, waterproof shell.  Located in the cells are Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) consisting mostly of amino acids, pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, lactate, sugars, organic acids, and peptides.  NMFs have the ability to bind with water and disrupt water loss in tissue.

Skin is continually regenerating itself.  Skin cells are born deep in the skin and slowly migrate towards the surface where they are eventually shed.  In our youth, this process of desquamation occurs frequently.  As we age, the process slows down, meaning the old cells remain on the skin’s surface for a longer period of time.  Skin cells on the surface that are irregular and not consistently shed appear as dry, flaky skin.

Plump cells at the skin's surface

There are several mechanisms important to keeping skin hydrated.  First, maintain a strong SC.  Exfoliate old, dead skin cells so that younger, stronger cells can take their place at the surface.  Second, nourish your cells so that the NMF are plentiful within the cell matrix.  Nourished cells at the skin’s surface keeps your skin hydrated, more vibrant, smoother, and toned – all leading to younger looking skin.

Facial Peel

Lactic acid is an ingredient vital to skin hydration.  As a natural exfoliator, it works to dissolve skin cells by breaking up the bond between dead cells, allowing them to slough off the surface.  The new skin cells reaching the surface are smoother, plumper, and more regular in shape, all leading to more younger looking skin.  Lactic acid is also a component of NMF.  Cells welcome lactic acid where it works to keep cells hydrated and encourages skin cell renewal.  Therefore, lactic acid contributes to skin hydration in two different mechanisms, making it an important ingredient in a skincare routine.  Nikua Skin's Papaya & Lime Facial Peel is an excellent source of Lactic Acid.  Combined with Glycolic Acid, papaya extract, and pineapple extract, this simple, yet effective peel leaves skin feeling smooth, soft, and deeply cleansed.

 


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