Sunday, March 28, 2010

30 Days to 10 years younger--10 minute tips. Tip 24: Stay hydrated

And I'm not talking about that ridiculous canard about drinking eight glasses of water a day.

I'm talking about applying water externally.

When you drench your skin in water, it plumps up and look gorgeous. Think about the way you look when you walk out of a steam bath--rosy and glowing and smooth.

This happens because the outer layer of the skin--the statum corneum--is designed to absorb water. Get enough water into it and your skin will look younger and fresher--temporarily. The trick is to lock the moisture into the skin.

That's what moisturizers are for. Pretty much all moisturizers are emulsions of oil in water (the light ones) or water in oil (the super heavy ones like Eucerin.) They also tend to contain various waxes. The oils and waxes are there to create a barrier. They keep the moisture from evaporating from the stratum cornea. Without them, the evaporation will start within seconds of leaving the bath or shower.

If you've ever had a pedicure at a really top-end salon, and a pedicure at an inexpensive walk-in salon, you'll notice that the overall procedure is pretty much the same. The main difference is that expensive salons soak your feet for a long time. They don't start working on your calluses until your feet have been immersed in water for 15 minutes. The time in the water moisturizes your skin and softens your cuticles and calluses. Walk-in nail salons are fine--I'm not knocking them; I use them all the time--but they're like a fast-food restaurant. Their goal is to get you in and out of the chair as quickly as possible, so they skimp on hydration.

As often as possible, I'd like you to treat your face as though you were an operator in a luxury salon. When I have the time, after massaging in my cleanser, I rinse my face at least 20 times with handfuls of warm water. I can really see the difference when I towel dry--the skin on my face is plumped up and dewy. Then I seal in all that water with my regular moisturizer.

I do the same when I bathe. As soon as I get out of the water, I blot myself dry, then immediately massage in a rich lotion.

The Grant Sisters
Or sometimes I have a cabana boy do it for me.

When my skin is really thirsty, I use a mask. I don't use anything heavy or complicated; I use pure aloe vera gel. If you've never tried it, you've got to try it. Run out and buy a tube. It's dirt cheap, and it's wonderful--water's leap towards immortality. (Either that, or it's what would happen if mineral water and Jell-O got married and had a baby.)

At any rate, I cleanse, apply the aloe vera gel, rest for 10 minutes, then wipe off the remainder with a damp washcloth. Then I ... wait for it ... seal in all that wonderful hydration with moisturizer.

Frankly, in this politically-correct age of diet police, fitness fanatics, and everyone being all PETA about the way we get fois gras, it feels good to force-feed something--even if it's just stuffing my skin cells with water!


  1. Another thing to learn.

  2. Whoa! In 24 tips, I have now been previously aware of TWO of them. Except the aloe, what a great idea!

  3. hm hmmm. I am a bit sceptical ... the dermatologist says water does not hydrate the skin ... hm hmmmmmm.

    well, maybe for a brief time, but afterwards the skin would be drier than before.

    hm hmmm hmmmm.

  4. Paula, that's why you have to seal the water in. Otherwise, yes, you'd end up dryer than before, because you'd wash away the natural oils on the surface of the skin.

    And no hour-long long soaks until you look like a prune, either. OK?

    I'm as dry-skinned as a person can be, and I'm miserable if I wait until mid-day or later to take a shower and put on my body lotion.

  5. hey, I'm going to try that - with the aloe!

  6. I live on the edge and never moisturise as it is so humid here!

  7. Please don't tell anyone about this, Poppy, but sometimes I steam my face and then slather on Vaseline for a couple of hours. (Only when the DH is out...) Now please let this be our little secret. OK?

  8. Bird: try it and be sure to report back.

    Faux: I had the same problem last August--in England, of all places. I figured out how those English roses preserve their complexions. It wasn't hot, but the humidity was insane. I had to run to Boots and buy some long-wear makeup--my regular stuff was sliding off my face!

    Rosina: I do something similar with Nivea creme. But let that be our secret.

  9. Can I borrow the cabana boy?

    I love Bath and Body Work butter. THICK, creamy stuff that is wonderful for putting on your feet right before adding white cotton socks for bed. Makes those tootsies smell nice, too.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.