If both a hydrated glow to the complexion is the opposite of dry skin and oily skin is the opposite of dry skin, does this mean glow and grease are the same thing? WRONG-O! They’re as different as oil and water.

While difficult to define exactly, we all know glow when we see it. Science has no such problem though because it knows precisely how to describe the phenomenon.

Defined by the light

Says our own Ava Shamban, M.D., dermatologist, skin researcher and founder of SKINFIVE, “Glow is simply physics, that is, an even reflection of light. On a smooth surface (imagine a piece of glass), light bounces back whereas on a rough one (think shingles on a rooftop) the light is absorbed.

“When you look at the stratum corneum (that is, the uppermost skin layer that is exposed to the outside),” Dr. Shamban continues, “On young, healthy skin under the microscopic, the cells lay down flat and smooth. It’s that smoothness that creates the reflective glow we love so much.”

Moisture in the picture

Along with smoothness, young healthy cells are plump with water, aka hydration. (‘Hydro’ is the Greek root word for water.) So when the skin is dry, the cells shrivel and the stratum corneum peels off unevenly like dry paint.

Now the problem with water is that just splashed on the surface it doesn’t absorb all that well into the cells and evaporates off. That’s where oils (in the form of natural sebum, topical lipids or moisturizers) come in. Oil, in and of itself, does not actually moisturize; what it does do is hold water in the skin. (Other moisturizing compounds do supplement water in the skin but that is a posting for another day.)

Under the microscope, a greasy complexion that shows slick on the face to the naked eye shows a high density of sebaceous glands when magnified. To be sure, oily skin seals in hydration better than dry skin does because it acts like a shield that prevents evaporation. And it too will reflect light but unpleasantly so like an oil spill on a mechanic’s garage. So as counter intuitive as it sounds, oily complexions can still be lacking water and still be rough and dehydrated as a consequence which means that they need moisturizers too.

GLOWING ON, FIGHTING SLICK – For the dry and the dull, nothing works better than The Infuser to slough off the rough and deliver the glow. For those burdened by grease, If you want to balance out your skin and help shrink your overactive oil glands, The Spotless can do the trick (and then, yes, you can have The Infuser right after and enjoy spectacular results).  BOOK NOW