Today we begin the first part of Miloon’s new guide to the K-Beauty Ingredients. The first chapter dedicated to moisturizers and hydration. We start by shading a light on these two concepts: Maybe you don’t know it, but hydration and moisture are exactly the same thing. In fact, hydration is linked to water, while moisture is linked to oil.  If the skin is dehydrated, it lacks water. And if the skin is dry, there is no oil. We will also review methods to protect against the cold and subsequent dehydration.  Therefore, without further delay, we introduce the main ingredients, which act as hydration and moisture factors: Aloe, Squalene, Ceramides, Peptides and Hyaluronic Acid.

This is the time of year when the cold and low humidity levels increase the dryness of the skin, inexorably destining it to dehydration. Without proper care, dry skin can lead to a rough and almost scaly texture, more pronounced wrinkles, greater sensitivity of the skin and a greater tendency to ignite due to the drastic decrease in the amount of Collagen and Elastin in the tissues. In the guide to the Winter Dehydration, we saw different methods to defend ourselves from the much hated dehydration, that turns off our glow. For example, The 7 Skin Method,  and Vitamin C.  Follow this link if you missed it. But first, remember that the concept of hydration is quite varied.

You may not know it, but hydration and moisture are exactly the same thing. In fact, hydration is related to water, while moisture is related to oil.  If the skin is dehydrated, it lacks water.

A moisturizer (like hyaluronic acid) helps bring water to the skin using humectants. These humectants help to collect moisture in the environment and bind it to the skin, which allows the skin to absorb water.

A moisturizer contains oils that help block moisture and keep skin soft and smooth. The skin has a natural lipid barrier, but when the skin is drier, or aging, that lipid barrier begins to break and the skin loses hydration. Moisturizers fight dehydrated skin, while moisturizers block hydration and create skin barrier protection.

In your beauty routine, remember to first apply moisturizers and then a second moisturizer.  This way, you’ll add moisture to your skin, then make sure it stays hydrated all day long.  If your skin is dry and you only use one moisturizer, you may need to apply it seVeral times during the day.  While the moisturizing ingredients will give you the impression that they’ve helped smooth out those dry areas, they haven’t solved the problem.  Moisturizers can only mask it.

Without further ado, let’s introduce the main ingredients, acting as  factors of hydration and moisturizer: Aloe, Squalene, Ceramides, Peptides and Hyaluronic Acid.




What Is Squalane?

First of all, the human body produces its own version known as squalene, but the amount made and retained in the skin decreases over time. It peaks in our teens and then starts to decline in our 20’s, leaving skin rough, dry and vulnerable.

Where Is Squalane Found?

Squalane comes from Squalene, which can be confusing if you don’t know the difference. Squalene is part of our skin’s own natural moisture. Squalene is extremely unstable. When squalene is hydrogenated it converts to skin-friendlier and safer squalane.

Fun Fact: It is found in a variety of plants like olives and depends on weather and crop growth. Alternatively, you can extract it on shark liver, from which it gets its name.

What are the skin properties of Squalane?

It’s lightweight.

It will never feel heavy or greasy on the skin.

It has deep absorption.

Squalane oil’s molecular structure is so close to the skin’s own, penetrates deep into the pores where it targets your skin care concerns at a cellular level.

It fights the signs of aging.

Squalane oil fights free radicals, the off skin-damaging particles that foster signs of aging. It levels up oil production, regulating moisture production to keep the skin clear and healthy.

It soothes properties.

Squalane has anti-inflammatory skills to fight acne, eczema and other skin conditions.

It improves blood circulation

Squalane oil fosters blood circulation, increasing collagen formation to deliver firmer, plumper skin and an instant skin radiance.




Originally native to the hot, dry climate of the Arabian Peninsula, Aloe Vera is a very common plant that incorporates over 400 different species worldwide. Aloe Vera is  has dark green, often grey, leaves that can grow to be anywhere from 20 centimeters to 1 meter, upon the different plant breeds. Aloe Vera plant contain a huge variety of different nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibre : This make it so cross-cuttingly optimal to human health like  Vitamins A, B, C, D and E, Vitamin B12 (Aloe Vera is one of only a few plants to contain this nutrient), Copper, Magnesium, Potassium and Zinc.

Where can Aloe be found.

Throughout history, Sloe Vera and its herbal benefits have been documented in several countries like China, Japan, India, Greece and even by the Roman Empire.

FunFact: In ancient Egypt, where it was referred to as the “plant of immortality”.

What are the properties of Aloe Vera for the skin?

It heals wounds.

Aloe Vera is notorious  natural remedy to promote scrapes, cuts and burns healing.

Its anti-microbial properties help to clean and disinfect wounds, which bringing the healing process to speed. Clinic tests showed that the Aloe Vera gel-treated lesion healed faster than products containing  Vaseline.

It soothes sunburns.

When our skin is exposed to powerful ultraviolet rays from the sun for too long, eventually the skin cells may begin to die, which triggers an anti-inflammatory response in your body to help heal and protect the skin from further damage. The healing properties of Aloe Vera can be exploited to help reduce immediate pain or discomfort caused by burns, promoting and delivering an oVerall healing process.

It provides extra hydration.

Dry climate-native Aloe Vera plant can store huge amounts of water to survive the most severe heats conditions. That’s why its leaves are used to produce skin hydrants or moisturizers.

Skin is an organ, and requires constant support to help fend off the bacterial onslaught it faces on a daily basis.A non sufficient skin hydration level, lead cells to die and flake. Dry skin is more prone to irritation and  ripping, tearing or rash out. Aloe promote clean, moisturized skin even in the most delicate areas.

It has antioxidant properties.

Aloe Vera is a fantastic source of vitamins C and E, which are renowned for their ability to help protect our body against potential harm from free radical molecules. As you should have red in our guide to fight winter dehydration, free radicals owns an uneven number of electrons, preventing molecules from being stable, leading to the so-called oxidative stress, bringing rupture or impact skin cells, and weaken our immune system.

It Treats Spots and Acne.

Acne is  related clogged  skin pores  by dead cells, toxins and/or bacteria. Symptoms includes blackheads, whiteheads, spots and even oily skin. Given its anti-microbial properties, Aloe Vera is a valid  facial herbal remedy to heal blemishes and scars that may be created as a result of acne. A great source of vitamin C, Aloe can increase the production of collagen. This is that important  protein in the skin and the other connective tissues that helps skin cells remain supple, firm and strong.

Anti-Aging Benefits.

Fostering collagen production, Aloe helps keeping skin healthy.preventing skin from develop sag, wrinkle and generally aging faster, thanks to the diverse nutritional content they possess. Vitamin C also play an important role in collagen production. When you  increase the level of this nutrient with Aloe Vera-based products or supplements can achieve an important anti-aging effect, especially when Aloe Vera is used in place of alcohol.




Ceramides: what are they?

Ceramides are a family of lipid molecules, composed of sphingosine and a fatty acid. A high concentration of Ceramides can be found within the membrane of cells. Ceramides and other sphingolipids play important roles in coordinating cellular responses to extracellular stimuli and to stress.

Where can they be found?

Ceramides are a special type of oily wax that’s naturally found in our skin, among other tissues. The word Ceramide comes from the Latin “Cera” which means wax. Ceramides forms a sort of a water-proofing barrier in the upper layers of our skin. While regulating cells, Ceramides helps skin retain water and repair its natural barrier . Ceramide production dwindles with age which can result in dry skin, wrinkles and even some types of dermatitis. Ceramides can be sourced naturally. However plants and animals own it in low concentrations. This is why naturally-derived Ceramides are expensive. Anyway, as long as it has the right structure, it doesn’t matter if the Ceramide is natural or synthetic .

Different kind of Ceramides.

There are different types of Ceramides according to the base and fatty acid are combined within the structure. Natural, there are almost 9 different types of ceramides: not only Ceramides but phytoceramides, psuedoceramides, and synthetic ceramides.

Ceramide: A waxy lipid that is occurs naturally in skin. It is obtained by combining  a fatty acid with a sphingoid base.

Phytoceramide: A ceramide made with a phytosphingosine, a special type of sphingosine found in yeast, plants and some mammalian tissues.

Pseudo-ceramide: A lipid that has similar properties to a ceramide but which has a different structure.  Pseudo-Ceramidesmay be naturally occurring but typically are made synthetically.

Synthetic ceramide: A lab-created version of a ceramide found in nature.

Whether they are true Ceramides or pseudoceramides, Ceramides used in skin care are mostly synthetic.

Ceramides works best when combined with other oily materials in a specific ratio. “Crystalline lamellar structures” is the optimal mixture of 50% Ceramides, 25% cholesterol, and 15% free fatty acids forms. It has unique moisture retaining properties. Ceramides’ moisturizing property comes from the fact that they are “skin identical” lipids.

Sometimes they’re beneficial because they are just providing an occlusive layer on the surface of skin that locks in moisture. If that’s the case, Ceramides may work no better than conventional, less expensive ingredients like petrolatum. Other times they’re more beneficial as they penetrates and moisturize from within. In this case, they have a more prolonged effect compared to conventional ingredients. However, this seems to be the case only when the Ceramides are in the form of Crystalline lamellar structures. This is because  they are combined with other materials like cholesterol and fatty acids.

Fun facts:

Did you know that newborn infants, especially premature ones, may be born with a waxy or cheese-like coating on their skin that prevents them from losing too much moisture? Composed mainly of Ceramides, such coating is called the Vernix Caseosa (from the latin word for Cheese) .

What are Ceramides benefits for the skin?

Have a Role in Certain Skin Diseases

Studies showed that a lower level of Ceramides is connected to eczema. On the other hand, people who have psoriasis  have the same number of Ceramides as people who have normal skin. However, people who have psoriasis have less of ceramide 1, 3, 4, and a subset of 5 and 6, and they have more of ceramide 2 and another subset of 5.

May Improve Eczema.

Recent studies have shown that lipids can be replaced with topical preparations. Interestingly, all the types of lipids have to be replaced at a certain ratio in order to restore the barrier function of the skin. If the incorrect balance of lipids is applied, it actually takes longer for the skin to heal.

Delays aging.

Once you hit your early 30s, the level of Ceramides in your skin begins to decrease. As a result, your skin barrier weakens, and this can lead to certain skin symptoms, such as irritation, dryness, and redness. Some skincare products that contain Ceramides may help improve these symptoms, as well as reduce signs of aging in the skin, like wrinkles.




What are Peptides?

Peptides are fragments of proteins and proteins are the fundamental building blocks of skin. Naturally occurring biological molecules in all living organisms, Peptides play a key role in all manner of biological activity. In a similar way to  proteins, peptides are synthesized naturally from transcription of a sequence of the genetic code, DNA. Transcription is the biological process of copying a specific DNA gene sequence into a messenger molecule, mRNA, which then carries the code for a given peptide or protein. Reading from the mRNA, a chain of amino acids is joined together by peptide bonds to form a single molecule. Biology says there are 20 naturally-occurring amino acids and they can be combined into an immense variety of different molecules, but basically,  a molecule consisting of 2-50 amino acids it is called a peptide, whereas a larger chain of more than 50 amino acids generally is usually a protein.

The function that a peptide carries out is dependent on the types of amino acids involved in the chain and their sequence, as well as the specific shape of the peptide. Peptides often act as hormones and thus constitute biologic messengers carrying information from one tissue through the blood to another. Two common classes of hormones are peptide and steroid hormones.

Different kinds of Peptydes.

There are four different types of peptides used in skincare.


They are Copper peptides, X-50 Myocept

They deliver trace elements, like copper and magnesium, to the skin. These trace elements boost collagen synthesis, improve elasticity and help skin heal faster.


They are Trifluoroacetyl tripeptide-2, Trylagen

They stop the processes that break down collagen so your skin doesn’t age as quickly. Most of them work by inhibiting  matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), a group of enzymes that degrades collagen when they proliferate too much.


They are Argireline, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-28, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Syn-Ake, XEP-30

They inhibit muscle contraction. If your muscles can’t move as much, wrinkles can’t form. Those you already have relax so they don’t look as obvious. The catch? They only work on expression lines, not wrinkles caused by sun exposure, pollution, etc.


They are copper peptides, Matrixyl-3000, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide-7, etc.

Being faithful to the transmitter function of the Peptides, these peptides communicate to skin cells to do a particular job, like collagen or elastin production for your skin to remain healthy and young.

Where they can be found?

In the human body, peptides are found in every cell and tissue and perform a wide range of essential functions. Maintenance of appropriate concentration and activity levels of peptides is necessary to achieve homeostasis and maintain health.

Fun Fact: By inhibiting glucose burning, peptides promote faster fat burning.

What befits do Peptides have for the skin?

Peptides allow skin to remain intact, promoting firmness, appearance of wrinkles, texture changes, and bouncy skin. Consistent use of peptides for skin is steady firming and smoothing of your skin as it becomes tauter and more elastic. The evidence that supports the relationship between peptides skin care and your body’s generation of natural peptides for skin is pretty overwhelming. In some clinical trials of anti-aging serums, as much as 100% of patients reported improvements in the oVerall appearance of crow’s feet, radiance, and firmness, and 97% experienced oVerall improvements in fine lines, skin texture, and clarity.

It foster collagen synthesis.

Some of these peptides have an affinity for the metal copper. When they meet, they hug and bind to each other really tightly.Copper is something that exists naturally within our bodies, and there’s a direct correlation between copper peptides and many degenerative diseases. Studies show that copper peptides not only promote collagen and elastic production, but also promote production of glycosaminoglycans, from the family of carbohydrates that maintain and support collagen and elastin. Copper peptides help you not only generate collagen, but also maintain the collagen you generate.

It diminish wrinkles:

When Argireline peptide is applied to the skin and absorbed by the skin into the body, the acids cause the facial muscles to contract with a lot less force. Argirleine acts as some sort of botox: a result, the appearance of wrinkles are diminished.

Some of the most promising peptides (i.e. those that have more studies backing up their efficacy) are GHK-Cu, a copper peptide that can firm skin; Palmitoyl Pentapeptide, which boosts collagen and Argireline, which works sort of like Botox.

Moreover Copper Peptides

It have anti-inflammatory properties:

Copper petites  soothe irritations, one of the main causes of premature aging.

It helps healing wounds:

Copper peptides help heal scars by getting rid of the extra large, damaged collagen in them.

They promote the production of elastin.

Increasing the production of elastin as well as glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, and other building blocks of the skin’s protective barrier and strengthen other proteins in our skin such as keratin and elastin.




Hyaluronic Acid (HA), also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate, is a carbohydrate, more specifically a mucopolysaccharide occurring naturally throughout the human body. It can be seVeral thousands of sugars (carbohydrates) long. Its function in the body is, amongst other things, to bind water and to lubricate movable parts of the body, such as joints and muscles. Its consistency and tissue-friendliness allows it to be beneficial in skin-care products as an excellent moisturizer. Because HA is one of the most hydrophilic (water-loving) molecules in nature with numerous benefits for the human body it can be described as “nature’s moisturizer  but the human body needs to continually replenish as it has a very short life cycle.

Where can it be found.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA), also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate, is a carbohydrate, more specifically a mucopolysaccharide occurring naturally throughout the human body. Hyaluronic Acid is found naturally in almost every cell in the body and occurs in high concentrations in specific body locations.

Fun fact: Hyaluronic Acid is one of the main component of the eye: it helps keep the shape of our eyeballs.

What is the connection between Hyaluronic Acid and Collagen?

Although Hyaluronic Acid (HA) can be found naturally in most every cell in the body, it is found in the greatest concentrations in the skin tissue, hosting over 50% of the body’s HA in both the deep underlying dermal areas as well as the visible epidermal top layers. Young skin is smooth and elastic and contains large amounts of HA that helps keep the skin stay young and healthy. The HA provides continuous moisture to the skin by binding up to 1000 times its weight in water. With age, the ability of the skin to produce HA decreases. With decreasing levels of HA in the skin, so goes the ability of the skin to hold water. The result, the skin becomes drier and loses its ability to maintain its hydration. Hyaluronic acid acts as a space filler by binding to water and thus keeping the skin wrinkle-free.

Comprising about 15% of the body weight, the skin is the largest organ in the body. HA and Collagen are vital to maintaining the skin’s layers and structure. Collagen delivers skin’s firmness while HA nourishes and hydrates the collagen. Collagen is continuously surrounded and nourished by the gelatinous HA substance. Collagen could be intended as the stretchy fibers that restore the skin back to shape when stretched. In fact, collagen is like a rubber band but stretches that rubber band a million times, like what we do with our skin and without any moisture. When eventually that rubber band gets overstretched, skin becomes saggy and dried out and will most likely break. HA keeps collagen, hence skin, moist and elastic.

It is an humectant and it is absorbed into the skin better.

The diameter of hyaluronic acid is also important as it too determines the ingredient’s ability to penetrate the skin. A recent study investigated the efficacy of a topical, low molecular nano-hyaluroid acid, and found that smaller substances under 500 kD. Moreover, not is a humectant, which means it grabs moisture and holds it so skin can absorb it.

It henances the lipid barrier.

Hyaluronic Acid fortifies the skin’s natural barriers to help lock moisture in for an even more dramatic hydrating effect. Over time, this can help slow down the the deterioration of the lipid barrier and help protect and fortify it.

It improves the skin texture.

Hyaluronic acid has the ability to plump and help retain moisture by drawing moisture from the air and holding up to “1,000 times its weight in water.  Therefore,  it helps improve the skin texture .

It changes the depth of wrinkles.

Hyaluronic acid forms a barrier on the skin giving a smoothing effect by plumping the skin, as in not getting rid of wrinkles since it does not penetrate the skin.  When the skin is protected and hydrated, increased skin cell production can take place, as the skin isn’t trying to foster for hydration, leading to smoother, plumper skin cells. Beware; the skin around the eye area is one of the firs points to show fine lines and wrinkles. Act quick using an eye cream to boost it.

It delivers  Healthier, More Supple Skin.

HA helps increasing skin moisture while reducing fine lines and wrinkles appearance. It can soothe redness and dermatitis and can make skin appear firmer.

It increase skin’s resilience.

When the lipid barrier is further enhanced and protected by hyaluronic acid, the skin can defend itself against environmental age-factors and pollutants. When it’s not fighting these toxins, the skin remains less wrinkled, brighter, and bouncier longer.

It heals wounds.

Applying hyaluronic acid directly to an open wound can help speed up the recovery process. It’s unknown whether supplementing with it would have the same effect.

It Fights inflammations.

Inflammation breaks down collagen and hyaluronic acid, so a supplement with collagen could help to rebuild damaged cells and support the skin’s structure.

It fights pigmentation.

increased cell turnover, hyaluronic acid also helps reduce and prevent age spots and pigmentation issues. But, it cannot do it on its own.

It promotes clarity.

When oily skin is stripped of water, it overcompensates to hydrate the skin by producing oil. Beware: oily and acne prone skins need hydration too.

The first part of this guide ends here. We examines the basic ingredients of your beauty routine according to their function. Next week, we’ll be dealing with anti-inflammatories. Don’t miss it. Stick around on