Korean women have been known to follow the 3-second moisturizing rule. The rule requires that you go straight into their skincare routine immediately after washing up, within 3 seconds.
While this may just seem like a silly recommendation from an over zealous skincare fanatic, science tells us that moisturizing immediately after cleansing is better for your skin! Here are the reasons why you should adopt this technique.
1. Your skin is more receptive to topical actives when wet
Your skin’s outer layer, the stratum corneum or SC, has one major function: to act as a barrier between your living cells and the outside world. When you apply a serum (or any other skincare product) to your skin in what’s called a topical application, you want your skin to absorb the maximum amount of active ingredients. However, your SC will resist the best it can and try to keep it out, because that’s its job (it just wants to make you proud!).
Most of the time, a skincare company will have formulated the product to convince your SC to let the actives through, with tricks like including penetration-enhancing ingredients like glycols, and having low pH levels for acids. Wetting your skin as well will give it a huge boost.
2. Occlusives in your moisturizer can seal in the water
Moisturizing ingredients fall into three categories: humectants, which hold onto water and stop it from evaporating; emollients, which sink into your skin and smooth out any cracks; and occlusives, which form a film that can seal in water.
It’s because of the occlusives that you’ll want to apply moisturizer as soon as possible. Water evaporates, and cleansing usually causes your skin to be “leakier” to water, so you generally end up with more dehydrated skin after cleansing if you let it dry and don’t moisturize. Occlusives form a non-evaporative oil-based film on top of the water to trap it in, so it can reenter your skin. The faster you get your moisturizer on, the more water you’ll trap, and the less time you’ll spend with dehydrated skin!
This is particularly true for when you apply a body cream. While you’ll likely be adding more water to your face in toners and serums, your body is usually neglected except for moisturizer. If you apply a body moisturizer that doesn’t contain much water to dry skin, your skin won’t have much water to absorb. But if you’ve waited too long, don’t fret – a water-containing moisturizer will help hydrate as well if your skin isn’t damp.