Water in skincare, how relevant is it?

water in skincare

Water is undoubtedly essential for good health if not for life itself, just ask your complexion! Recent studies have shown that even a 10% drop in our skin’s water content can leave it vulnerable to environmental aggressors, making water in skincare products vital for optimal skin health and beauty. But did you know that not all waters are the same? Think back to the last time you double and triple checked all the ingredients on that new beauty product you were about to buy…Did you think to check both its water content and more importantly, where it came from?

If the answer is ‘No’, then read on …

Although it’s a bit of a cliché according to top marketing experts quality does actually matter, especially where water in skincare products is concerned. The water used in the formulation of beauty products must comply with ISO 3696 and European or American pharmacopoeias (the standards for pharmaceutical substances and medicinal products). This means that not only is the water free of ions that can interact with ingredients, especially with surfactants (facial cleansing soaps, shampoos, bath gels, etc.) but that it also has an almost undetectable bacterial load. All purified water that is purchased from pharmaceutical and cosmetic suppliers is accompanied by an analysis certificate issued in the moment it was packaged. Unfortunately, during transportation and storage of said water there is no guarantee that the same conditions as when it was packaged will be maintained, making it is crucial for laboratories to invest in a high-quality water purification system if they want to ensure the quality of the water they use.

Water can form up to 70% of the total content of a formula and serves as a vehicle for soluble compounds such as some active ingredients and even preservatives. Furthermore, water is an essential part of the skin’s natural protective barrier and the NMF (Natural Hydration Factor). However, some manufacturers opt to replace the purified water in skincare products with flower water, something that at first glance seems a like good alternative but in reality, is nothing more than water used for washing or rinsing plants before processing. This liquid not only has virtually no benefits but also a high level of impurities, and that’s where the problem lies. To counteract these impurities a binding agent must be added to the formula which can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions.

A well thought-out laboratory

When people ask me for advice on how to start formulating their own products, they always think that I am going to talk to them about what ingredients to include or which product to create first. However, the most crucial investment and consideration for anyone who wishes to become a product formulator is a high-grade water purification system. In fact, it was the biggest investment I made when I set up my own Studio and without a doubt the first instrument I installed! This way I can guarantee that all our products are created with medicinal grade purified water, making them not only as clean and pure as possible but also highly compatible with even the most sensitive skin types.


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