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Have you ever heard the expression, “as smooth as a milk maid’s skin?” Neither have we, but its comes with an interesting story. Admittedly, milkmaid is probably not on most little girls list of “what I want to be when I grow up,” but it does have its perks. In the old days, milking cows meant exposure to cowpox, which actually has no harmful symptoms, but does give the exposed partial immunity to smallpox. This meant that milkmaids would never get the pockmarks associated with smallpox, hence the expression! FYI: This eventually led to the discovery of the vaccination for smallpox disease.
While nowadays, we don’t have to worry about smallpox, we still worry about smooth skin. But before you start learning the art of milking cows, let’s talk about more realistic ways of achieving soft, smooth skin.
Picking a Good Moisturizer
The best moisturizing products contain oil or oil related ingredients that make it spread out smoothly and evenly on the skin. The four main components of a moisturizer are:
- Vegetable Oils: Think plant oils like carrot, soybean, sandalwood,jojoba, and wheat germ. Veggie oils are easy for our skin to absorb and act as a natural moisturizer.
- Animal Oils: This most commonly refers to fish oils and lanolin. Other types include phospholipids, glycolipids, and cholesterol.
- Mineral Oils: Mineral oils are chemicals which come from rock or sand and petroleum products. Because of their large molecules, mineral oils can’t be absorbed by the skin. However, this property allows them to remain on skin, forming a barrier against evaporation of nourishing oils. Moisturizers made from petroleum tend to be heavy and may cause pimples. Silicone oils are a lighter alternative.
- Vitamin E: Commonly shown on ingredient labels as tocopherol, vitamin E is always a great addition to any skin product.
If your skin is on the oily side, you may be wary about using a moisturizer. Luckily, there are non-oil ingredients that can effectively moisturize your skin. Collagen is a good example. Although many think that using a collagen infused product would supplement the present collagen level in the skin, it actually does not. Like mineral oils, collagen’s main benefit is in its ability to prevent moisture evaporation. Humectants are another non-oil component of moisturizers which attract the water vapor in the environment to our skin. Oil-free moisturizers include:
- Mucopolysaccharides and Hyaluronic Acid: Also endowed with large molecules, these substances are not absorbed by skin, but form a water -binding layer on the surface of the skin.
- Glycerin: This humectant moisturizes chapped and dry skin.
- Propylene Glycol: This substance is similar to glycerin, but can be irritating in high concentrations.
How Many Moisturizers Should You Buy?
Although it may seem that there is a separate moisturizer for every part of your body, you really only need two basic types: one for the face and one for the body. If you tend toward chapped lips, you may want to invest in a third.
Now, get your hands off that poor cow! When it comes to smooth skin, you have a myriad of better choices! Let us know how it goes for you and what you think moisturizes best! We love to hear your comments.