Dry skin is a common problem, especially when the air is cold and dry in the wintertime.
And if you’re like most people, you probably don’t know which of the many moisturizing options available to choose. Should you use lotion, cream, ointment, balm? What about natural oils or herbal remedies?
It can be confusing and frustrating to puzzle out which product is best for your individual needs. If you’ve seen or heard about these new “electrolyte creams,” you may be wondering if they work.
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium that carry an electrical charge. Electrolytes are essential for many processes, including muscle contractions, nerve transmissions, hydration levels, and fluid volume regulation.
They can be found naturally in many foods, like fruits and vegetables. Ordinary table salt is also a source of sodium and chloride electrolytes.
If a person is deficient in electrolytes, they can suffer from many unpleasant and life-threatening symptoms, including fatigue, muscle cramps, seizures, and organ failure.
Electrolytes can be lost from excessive perspiration or frequent urination, for example. We need to replenish them by eating or drinking foods and drinks that contain electrolytes.
But does it help to apply electrolytes to your skin?
How Moisturizers Work
Moisturizers don’t add moisture to the skin; they form a barrier to prevent moisture loss.
This is why washing your hands or soaking them in water won’t “add moisture” to dry skin – it’ll wash away the protective oils and make your problem worse.
Skin hydration comes from within. Moisturizers restore the protective layer to your skin and lock in the moisture that is being pumped up from the blood vessels below.
Moisturizing creams that mimic the natural layers of your skin appear to be the best choice for dry skin because they form a healthy barrier without damaging the skin.
Electrolyte Skin Creams?
The manufacturers and marketers of electrolyte skin cream products claim that the electrolytes work to improve hydration and maintain water balance.
While this may seem like a nice idea, there isn’t any scientific evidence to back up these claims.
No studies show that applying an electrolyte cream to your skin can provide any benefit whatsoever.
Because the electrolytes attach to water molecules, instead of soaking into your skin oils, they’ll probably quickly evaporate before they can be absorbed.
So while there probably isn’t any harm in using these creams, they are unlikely to work any better than regular moisturizing creams.