Part of my mission is not just to build Agent Nateur into the leading clean skincare brand in the market but also to build a wellbeing brand that educates everyone who comes into contact with it. During my last few years in business and thanks to my own health journey, I have come into contact with so many incredible practitioners who have taught me the TRUTH about what 'wellness' really means.
Hydration is one of the big misconceptions - and so is the difference between dry and dehydrated skin because they're actually different things.
Dry skin is a skin *type*, which is most likely genetic and more likely to be permanent and less changeable. Dry skin is when the skin type and cells lack OIL. However, dehydrated skin is thought to be a skin condition (rather than a skin type) and is more likely to be influenced by external factors. Dehydrated skin is not when the skin lacks oil but is when the skin lacks water. Understanding the difference between these two things was revolutionary for me, and I think it is something that people don't differentiate between.
For so many people suffering from dry or dehydrated skin, even without understanding the difference, they often think that drinking water is the solution. The truth is, it isn't enough - for so many reasons. First, just because you drink water doesn't mean you are hydrating yourself, your organs, or your skin properly. I recently wrote about this in this article linked here on why just drinking water doesn't necessarily translate into hydration. A ton of things impact how our body absorbs water and hydrates, including how the mitochondria in our body function (they drive the electrical charges in the body that help drive hydration), as well as our mineral levels, mineral and water balance, and so much more. Did you know that if you have deficiencies or mineral imbalances your body may not be able to absorb water properly?
The second slightly misguided belief is that more water intake just equals better skin. The truth is that water is a good starting point but true hydration goes deeper than that. Some people think that it MAY lead to better skin hydration because when the absorption process is happening, our cells absorb the water and in doing so, they are more likely to get hydrated. But, if your skin's water retention function is not up to scratch, then it also doesn't matter how much water your cells MIGHT be absorbing, because you might also be losing it out of your skin barrier too.
If you feel like you are drinking a ton of water and it is still making no difference, you might have an issue with your skin barrier and with transepidermal water loss, which means that the barrier of your skin may not be functioning in the way that it should. If this is the case, it doesn't matter how much water you drink; no amount of oral hydration will help keep moisture in the skin and inside your skin cells.
Hydration boosting ingredients are essential to help with the functioning of the skin barrier and are even more important if you think you are suffering from transepidermal water loss. I personally love hyaluronic acid as my key source of hydration because it is known to hold up to 1000x its weight in water within its molecular structure. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule found in the body, and it binds to water to effectively hydrate and prevent moisture loss. It is the main power ingredient in holi (water) and in my formulations, we use a larger molecular size of our hyaluronic acid than our competitors, which is why our holi (water) hydrates so insanely well. This product truly hydrates your skin, plumps it, smooths out fine lines, and actively replenishes the skin's surface and barrier to help it appear firmer, more hydrated, more supple and to stop transepidermal water loss. Top tip: remember to apply your hyaluronic-based products within one minute of washing your face or stepping out of the shower to seal even more moisture into the skin.
Vitamin C is another essential ingredient for hydration (which also gets overlooked). If you're after a Vitamin C solution to add to your routine, holi (c) is my recommendation. It is a powerful antioxidant (keep reading to find out why you need this in our shelfie line up), and Vitamin C is deeply hydrating so this, combined with holi (water) is the perfect hydrating duo.
French peptides are another secret weapon for hydration in the Agent line, and the french peptides in holi (bright) are revolutionary. I formulate only with French silk peptides, 100% natural silk proteins derived from the silkworm cocoon (yes, really!). These ultra-luxurious French silk peptides help the skin retain moisture and help skin look visibly younger, delivering a dewy glow, illuminating skin tone and stimulating collagen production too. In my experience, using the holi (bright) mask overnight resurfaces my whole face. My skin looks visibly revitalized and refreshed, and this is also because the french peptides work perfectly alongside the aloe vera in the mask. I love to formulate with high-quality aloe because it is a key ingredient for hydrating, moisturizing, and replenishing skin barriers without any grease or excess oil, like some products have. So, together, the peptides and the aloe are the perfect source of hydration to help plump your skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark circles. Try holi (bright) for your overnight or pre-night-out hydration hit.
Honey is also an often overlooked ingredient in terms of how optimally it can help hydrate, nurture, and nourish your skin. I think that Manuka honey is one of the most unique, powerful, and beneficial forms of honey in the world because it has such a high-enzyme content. This, plus the fact that it is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and has strong antioxidant properties, is precisely why I formulated it in my new h o l i (c r è m e) filter face crème that we have recently launched. This product, thanks to the manuka honey, and so many other ingredients, is perfect for hydrating, retaining moisture and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Use it after your holi (water) and holi (c) application for moisture restoration at its finest. I'm so happy to have finally launched an Agent filter face moisturizer.
Finally, a supplement that nearly everyone overlooks as being incredible for skin hydration is my Agent Nateur collagen. Science-backed research and studies have *already* confirmed the power and positive impact of collagen on skin health, and one of my favorite studies that goes deep into this is a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled study that looked at the power and efficacy of freshwater marine collagen on skin health (linked here for you).
Collagen is a crucial driver of skin plumpness and hydration, hydrating your body, your elastin and collagen supplies, and your cells, from the inside out. It increases hydration levels and skin elasticity, and collagen also reduces wrinkle depth and skin roughness. The bioavailable amino acids in the holi (mane) blend also activate hair, skin and nail cells to produce more collagen. The high-quality collagen mixed with nacre in the product (the natural compound in pearl powder) also stimulates the appearance of collagen to regenerate hair, skin, and nails. Together, the collagen and the nacre in holi (mane) help to hydrate your skin from the inside out with a boost of collagen at the source. My collagen blend is non-agglomerated, making it the highest quality of collagen on the market. It is far superior to any competitor out there. My collagen also has four collagen types (1, 2, 3, and 4) and all collagen sources are derived from the scales of wild-caught, deep-sea fish - always non-gmo thanks to the source being deep-caught kosher cod, pollock and haddock.
Finally, something that gets overlooked in the ski hydration game is your diet and what I want you to know is that if you don't get enough fat or protein in your diet, your skin can start to dry up, and it can drive dehydration further (which in turn can drive fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, etc). This combined with declining collagen as you age can lead to poor skin texture, excessive dehydration and even early onset aging. To counteract this, I always advise adding bone broth into your diet (also high in collagen) alongside your holi (mane), as well as high-quality sources of protein and good fat like eggs and organic pasture-raised protein. You can also up your garlic intake to boost collagen synthesis in the body too. Remember - good fats are good for you - and garlic is a well kept secret.
So, if you have your cellular hydration under control (well-powered ATP supplies and effectively powered mitochondria), as well as your mineral balance in check so that your cell membranes are functioning as they should, and you also have your skincare routine hydration-heavy and you are still struggling, it might be a sign that your skin challenges are going deeper and have a deeper root cause too. Through a functional medicine lens, skin is a key external feature that provides insight into systemic issues inside of the body and there are a ton of 'root causes' that might be driving your dry or dehydrated skin. Let's get into some of them.
Dry skin, hair loss and brittle hair can indicate a low thyroid function. Low estrogen levels can also contribute to skin dryness, an increase in wrinkles and fine lines, and a decrease in elasticity.
Skin conditions can also suggest that there is low-level inflammation going on within the body - thanks to the process of glycation (read more about it here). Studies show that Advanced Glycation End products (created by the process of glycation) are the most damaging. These are a byproduct of taking in too much glucose (soda, we're looking at you) as well as UV radiation/sun exposure, the cellular impact of emotional trauma, stress, a dysregulated nervous system, EMFs and more. This process of glycation is damaging because the appearance of young, glowing skin depends on youthful, flexible, and repairable collagen. Unfortunately, too much glucose in the body (or too many AGE products) interferes with this by driving a process that changes the skin's structure. The damage from the glycation process (on collagen and elastin fibers) can neither be reversed nor repaired so to reduce this at the source, and before it's too late, you should manage your sugar intake, stress levels and sun/pollution exposure, as well as starting to incorporate more antioxidant heavy products into the body to help fight free radicals that cause the AGEs.
Another potential reason in functional medicine for dry skin is an imbalance in essential fats in the body. Omega-3s are thought to be a key player in moisturizing the skin and fighting dry, itchy or red skin (as well as helping with inflammatory skin disorders like dermatitis and psoriasis). If your skin barrier function isn't sealing in moisture as it should, you might be deficient in essential fats. Omega-3 supplements can be a great help here (remember: always high quality) but again, self supplementation isn't advised, so you should always seek a practitioner to help you navigate this space.
So, there's a lot to take in here but my summary is as follows: oral hydration doesn't necessarily mean skin hydration. You have got to make sure your cellular hydration is ticking over as it is supposed to or your body won't be able to hydrate at all. If you are still struggling with dehydrated skin, you need to look into water loss or lack of water retention from your skin barrier. Deeply hydrating products can help you here, and if these still don't work? Then you need to go deeper. Look into root cause medicine that can identify inflammation, oxidative stress / damage, mineral imbalances, vitamin deficiencies and more that might be driving dehydration.
You deserve healthy, glowing, supple skin, and one of the easiest ways to get there is understanding the basics.
I hope this helped
Love Jena x
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.