One part Hydrogen molecule, two part Oxygen.
Water accounts for 70% of the earth’s surface and 55%-75% of our total body weight. Without water we could not survive, as every cell in our body needs it in order to function properly.
In the skin, the epidermis (top layer of the skin) acts as a water barrier to maintain moisture and keep it from becoming dry, dehydrated, and essentially, vulnerable to the environment. Water balance is of the essence when it comes to the skin. After all, it is the body’s first line of defense against foreign invasion! If the skin is broken down due to water loss you leave it open to bacteria and other dangerous pathogens.
In cosmetic preparations, water is the most widely used ingredient, which is actually how ingredient list regulations came about. An ingredient list is made up of all ingredients used in the preparation of any given product. The first ingredient listed is what there is most of in that product, while the last ingredient is what there is the least of.
When it comes to water and its role in a cosmetic formulation, you will often find water listed first. This is common, as water is a vehicle used to spread and distribute other ingredients onto the skin.
As the first ingredient, water, when used as a solvent in products that are rinsed off the skin, such as a cleanser, or when used as a vehicle in serums to drive AHA’s or BHA’s directly into the skin, works really well.
In products that are meant to penetrate specific ingredients deep into the skin, water may not necessarily be the ingredient you want most of in that particular product.
Water is most commonly listed as purified, deionized, distilled, and aqua.
So why is “water” listed in such a variety of formats and why isn’t water just simply water?
Each one of these terms describes a particular process of sterilization. While they may all slightly alter, they all share the ultimate common goal… Purity.
Purified: Water that has been treated to filter out sediments, remove minerals and kill micro-organisms.
Deionized: Water that is demineralized, as well as a less expensive alternative to a distilled water process.
Distilled: Water that has been boiled down to remove minerals and contaminants.
Aqua: A term used in Europe to describe purified water.
Who knew that the type of water used in our skin care and makeup would be as important as the water we drink!?! It is, and in my opinion possibly even more! Since our skin is our body’s first line of defense against disease its essential that it be unbroken and healthy. By utilizing products that are unstable and possibly contaminated, the potential for a dermatatic reaction causing the skin to no longer be healthy and intact, is almost always guaranteed.
It is essential that the water used in cosmetic formulations be sterile to avoid contamination and instability of other ingredients, so if your bottle of product says simply “water”, I would advise against further use and stick with products that adhere to these guidelines.
What’s in your water!?