Why are natural oils so important for skin moisturisation?


Professional Beauty magazine speaks to Stacey Irving, an independent technical consultant within the cosmetics industry and co-founder of Body Armour Skincare, a new skincare range formulated to provide skin moisturisation for active men and women.

Natural oils are full of active compounds that are essential for maintaining the skin’s moisturising balance. Within the stratum corneum, the outermost layer, are a group of water-soluble compounds known as the natural moisturising factor (NMF). These compounds absorb water from the atmosphere and combine it with their own water content, allowing the outer layers of the stratum corneum to stay hydrated despite exposure. Because NMF components are water soluble, they are easily leached from the cells with water contact, which is why repeated contact with water actually makes the skin dryer.

The lipid layer surrounding the corneocites (the cells that protect the NMF) help seal the corneocyte to prevent loss of NMF. Natural oils such as babassu oil, sweet almond oil and coconut oil contain compounds that are similar to those that form the NMF structure within the skin and also possess occlusive and moisturising properties that can help keep the skin hydrated. Essential oils that are commonly used in aromatherapy have made their way into skincare products due to their potential of preventing bacterial and fungal infections and also for their ability to provide relaxation for the mind.

Other natural oils that are great for the skin due to their moisturisation ability and also for their potential anti-ageing attributes include: avocado oil, argan oil, jojoba oil and apricot kernel oil.

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