How to treat clients with deeply dehydrated skin

How should I treat clients with deeply dehydrated skin?

You first need to look at the fundamental role played by water in balancing the skin. The skin is made up of 70% water, which comes in varying forms. In the dermis it is, for example, linked to protein macromolecules and forms a semi-fluid “gel” in which our cells, elastin and collagen fibres are immersed.

A very small proportion of this nourishing water crosses the epidermal layer and migrates from the keratinocytes in the stratum basale to the corneocytes, which only retain 10-13% of the water provided. This residual water attaches itself to keratin thanks to compounds known as natural moisturising factors (NMF), and the lipid mortar produced by our keratinocytes. Made up of ceramides, free fatty acids and cholesterol, this mortar plays a key role in controlling hydration levels.

Countering transepidermal water loss and boosting epidermal water retention helps skin face external aggressions by forming a protective hydrolipidic film at the surface of the epidermis. However, this barrier is very fragile so it’s important for products and treatments to be perfectly adapted to the client’s skin type. Look at using the following active ingredients:

• Those that collect and store water: including glycerin, sorbitol and propylene glycol
• NMF compounds: such as pyrrolidone, carboxylic acid, urea and serine
• Alphahydroxy acids: for example, lactic and citric
• Film-forming hydrophilic active ingredients: like hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans
• Film-forming hydrophobic active ingredients: cetyl and stearyl alcohols, vegetable and animal wax, vegetable oils, and others

Skin hydration is a priority that requires true professional expertise when it comes to choosing the appropriate methods and products, and that’s where you come in.

Catherine Mühlethaler is managing director of family-owned French company Multaler Laboratories and the daughter of founders Cecile Ernst and Charles Mühlethaler. The company, which was established in 1954 and formulates, produces and distributes the Yon-Ka range around the world, has its UK office and training centre in London.