What is a Hydrator, Anyway?

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I recently revealed on our Instagram stories (@mybrightbody) that in the next few months I'll be developing a gel hydrator & an eye serum to add to our line of goodies for face! I posted a short survey asking which product people were most excited for, and ~65% of people said the eye serum, and ~35% said the gel hydrator. I quickly realized that not everyone knows what a gel hydrator is, what it can do for the skin, and who would benefit from it. So naturally, I wanted to write a blog post on this future product.

First of all, let's get back to basics - the difference between moisture and hydration. Colloquially, it seems like they mean the same thing, but in terms of aesthetics & the skin, these are two separate concepts.

Bright Body Hydration versus Moisture

  • Moisture refers to the oil content in the skin, including oils produced by the skin's sebaceous glands and any oil-based products used topically. You might also notice a difference in your skin's moisture based on consumption of oils through your diet - "healthier" oils loaded with omegas are likely to improve skin health, while trans fats and other more processed oils are likelier to cause skin issues. Your skin type is based on your level of moisture - or oils - naturally occurring in your skin. This is determined by your pore size, since those are the openings in the skin which allow the oil from your sebaceous glands to come to the surface. Small pores mean drier skin, and larger pores mean oilier skin.
  • Hydration refers to the water content in the skin, including the skin's naturally-occurring water content stored below the epidermis and any water-based products used topically. You might also notice a difference in your skin's hydration based on your water consumption, though most of the water you consume won't make it to the surface of your skin. Furthermore, we all experience something called Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL), whereby we lose water content in our skin due to evaporation and other factors. Fighting TEWL requires both internal & external sources of hydration.

Products that contain both oils and water-based compounds will address both moisture and hydration, but it depends largely on the quality of the ingredients and the relative concentrations of oil vs. water in the formula.

It's likely that most of us are familiar with our skin type - anywhere on the spectrum from dry, normal, combination, to oily - but did you know that your skin type does not correlate to your skin's level of hydration? In fact, 80% of people, regardless of skin type, have dehydrated skin. Signs of dehydrated skin include: itchiness, dullness, fine lines & surface wrinkles, and "shadows" on the face.

Bright Body What is Dehydrated Skin versus Dry Skin

Most of the water you drink doesn't make it to the surface of your skin, so the best way to boost your skin's hydration is to use hydrators - skincare products with a jelly-like consistency formulated primarily (or exclusively) with safe & effective water-based compounds like plant hydrosols. You apply hydrators just as you would a moisturizer - by gently rubbing into the face (usually a dime to quarter-sized amount). Most people find that their skin will soak up hydrators even faster than moisturizers.

Another common and effective ingredient in hydrators is Hyaluronic Acid (HA). Generally speaking, Hyaluronic Acid helps attract and bind water to the surface of the skin, promoting a plump, radiant, and hydrated complexion. HA comes in low, medium, and high molecular weights, and they perform somewhat differently. Low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid (LMWHA) is a small molecule that can easily be absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin. Medium weight Hyaluronic Acid (MMWHA) is a molecule that can be absorbed into the superficial layers of the skin, but not as deeply as LMWHA. High molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid (HMWHA) is not absorbed into the skin, but instead stays on the skin's outermost layer.

Bright Body Hyaluronic Acid

Initial research has shown that LMWHA might promote inflammation, while MMWHA and HMWHA have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. In our upcoming gel hydrator, I opted for HMWHA so it can bind water to the epidermis without the potential downsides of LMWHA.

Our formula will feature:

  • calendula hydrosol - anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, and vulnerary (pro-healing), this soothing ingredient derived from marigolds is a multipurpose powerhouse in beauty formulations
  • white rose hydrosol - anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, astringent, antibacterial, this hydrosol is a favorite of mine for its ultra-calming properties - and you'll also find it in all our Toners!
  • helichrysum hydrosol - antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and vulnerary (pro-healing), this ingredient is often found in formulas for mature skin.
  • aloe vera gel - antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itch, this cooling ingredient is another BB favorite for its broad benefits - you'll find it in our Light Facial Cream, all our Toners & Facial Washes, all our Hair Cleansers, and our Salt Texturizing Spray.
  • rice water - a darling of the K-beauty world & another BB favorite, this ingredient is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and soothing to all skin types. You'll also find rice water in all our Toners & Facial Washes, our Clay Detox Mask for Straight Hair, and Body Wash.
  • ginseng extract - another darling of K-beauty, ginseng is an adaptogenic herb known for its strong rejuvenative, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary (pro-healing) and antioxidant properties.
  • gotu kola extract - beloved by both K-beauty and Ayurveda, gotu kola is a powerful rejuvenative herb with anti-inflammatory, vulnerary (pro-healing) and antioxidant properties. You'll find gotu kola powder in our Facial Exfoliant.

Bright Body Gel Hydrator Ingredients

  • HMWHA - this high molecular weight HA helps bind water to the surface of the skin, promoting lasting hydration and radiance without the downsides of LMWHA.
  • ascorbic acid (vitamin C) - not only is this a powerful antioxidant, but we use ascorbic acid to adjust the pH of the formula so it is close to our skin's natural level, ~4.5.
  • geranium essential oil - one of the most universally tolerated essential oils out there, rose geranium essential oil is very soothing and anti-inflammatory, and helps reduce any areas of irritation or redness.
  • basil essential oil - this delightfully herbaceous essential oil is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial, and works well for a variety of skin concerns.
  • probiotic preservatives - just like all BB products, we don't use any harsh preservatives, instead opting for gentler probiotic preservatives like lactobacillus ferment. and lactobacillus & cocos nucifera extract. These ingredients prevent microbial and fungal growth while nourishing the skin.

Excited to learn more about these new products & my development process? Follow us on Instagram at @mybrightbody to stay in the loop!

Until next time,

Gabi Day

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