A shielding lotion is a type of skin moisturizer. Its proponents claim that it creates a protective barrier on the surface of the skin, which serves a dual purpose of retaining the skin's natural moisture and protecting the skin from external irritants.
How it works
Shielding lotions are lotions that bond with the dead skin cells of the epidermis, forming a protective layer with the outermost layer. This protective layer is virtually the same as what was naturally formed with the outermost layer of skin cells and the skin's own natural oils and lipids, up until about 100 years ago – before modern life and frequent hand washing stripped it away. This protective layer helps prevents irritating substances from penetrating the skin and getting into its deeper layers. Additionally, it helps to retain the natural moisture and oils, which are responsible for the skin’s elasticity and integrity, thus helping the skin to rejuvenate itself.
Difference from conventional moisturizing lotions
Conventional lotions are only effective in the short term by adding artificial moisture to the skin in an effort to replace natural moisture. The problem is that they are very easily removed and need to be reapplied continuously. If the lotion stops being reapplied, the skin can go through a phase of getting even drier than before the first application of an artificial moisturizer (conventional moisturizing lotion). Additionally, conventional lotions sit on the surface of the skin, may be greasy or sticky, thus attracting dirt that may contribute to clogged pores.
Because most moisturizers do not seal in the body's own moisture, they artificially lubricate the outer layers of skin. When they wear off, the lubrication is gone and the original dryness remains. Sometimes this process will draw out the body's natural moisture and contribute to the dehydration process.—Dr.Peter Helton, Dermatologist, Newport Beach, CA.
Shielding lotions actually bond with the outer layer of dead skin cells and come off as these cells exfoliate. These lotions provide the skin with protection necessary to regain its natural oil and moisture balance and restore its own protective functions. Shielding lotions don’t leave any residue on the skin; they keep pores clean by helping to prevent irritants from coming in, thus improving the ability of the skin to breathe.
The outermost layer of the skin is naturally designed to work as a one-way barrier to stop moisture loss, prevent irritants from getting under its surface and allow the skin to breathe and perspire. Today's common irritants include cosmetics, perfumes, antibacterial soaps, cleansers, and household chemicals. These irritants strip the protective elements out from the skin’s surface leaving it unprotected. Skin gets dry, loses its integrity and protective abilities, thus allowing penetration of even more irritants into deeper and deeper layers of the skin which may develop into a variety of various skin problems. The use of conventional moisturizers often only masks the dry skin, but do not provide an actual remedy to dry skin.
Shielding lotions restore the skin’s protective functions, very similar to the way they were before modern life resulted in frequent washing, giving the skin time to restore its integrity and protective abilities. With this protection in place, loss of natural oils and moisture is significantly reduced. Irritants are kept from the deeper layers of the skin preventing even more severe skin disorders. Shielding lotions are becoming the preferred skin care treatment by a growing number of dermatologists.
Moisturizing and treatment
In order to resolve a dry skin condition, not only visually, but in actuality, the skin should be properly hydrated. Artificial moisture can’t get below the outer layer of the skin; the only moisture that is able to get that deep is the skin’s own natural moisture.
Shielding lotions help retain the skin’s own moisture and helps keep it where it works best. By replenishing the skin’s protective layer, shielding lotions allow the skin’s own oils and moisture to heal the skin naturally.
Examples of shielding lotions
Examples of shielding lotions available in the market: