Moisturizing your skin is not only a cosmetic choice, but also a health necessity. According to Healthline, moisturizers can benefit the skin in several ways, such as boosting hydration, soothing inflammation, improving texture, delaying signs of aging, and preventing skin disorders. However, finding the right moisturizer for your skin type and needs can be challenging, given the plethora of options available in the market. In this article, we will guide you through the basics of moisturizers and help you pick the best one for your skin.
What are the types of moisturizers?
Moisturizers are products that hydrate and nourish the skin by creating a protective barrier, retaining moisture, and delivering active ingredients. There are three main types of moisturizers, based on their composition and function: humectants, occlusives, and emollients.
Humectants are substances that attract and bind water to the skin, increasing its water content and plumpness. Some common humectants are glycerin, hyaluronic acid, urea, and aloe vera. Humectants are suitable for all skin types, but especially for dry and dehydrated skin, as they provide instant and lasting hydration. However, humectants alone may not be enough to prevent water loss, especially in dry climates. Therefore, they are often combined with occlusives or emollients to seal in the moisture.
Occlusives are substances that form a film on the skin surface, preventing water from evaporating and keeping the skin moist. Some common occlusives are petrolatum, lanolin, beeswax, and plant oils. Occlusives are ideal for very dry and cracked skin, as they provide intense and long-lasting hydration. However, occlusives may also clog pores, cause acne, or feel greasy on the skin. Therefore, they are often used sparingly or in combination with humectants or emollients to balance their effects.
Emollients are substances that fill in the gaps between skin cells, smoothing and softening the skin. Some common emollients are ceramides, fatty acids, shea butter, and squalane. Emollients are suitable for normal to dry skin, as they provide moderate hydration and improve skin texture. However, emollients may not be enough to hydrate very dry or dehydrated skin, or to prevent water loss in harsh environments. Therefore, they are often used in conjunction with humectants or occlusives to enhance their benefits.
How to choose the best moisturizer for your skin type?
The best moisturizer for your skin type depends on several factors, such as your skin’s hydration level, oil production, sensitivity, and concerns. Here are some general guidelines to help you choose the best moisturizer for your skin type:
Dry skin lacks oil and moisture, resulting in a rough, flaky, and dull appearance. Dry skin may also be prone to irritation, itching, and redness. The best moisturizer for dry skin is one that provides both hydration and nourishment, such as a cream or an ointment. Look for moisturizers that contain humectants, occlusives, and emollients, as well as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging ingredients. Some examples of moisturizers for dry skin are SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2, Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre, and CeraVe Moisturizing Cream.
Oily skin produces excess oil, resulting in a shiny, greasy, and blemish-prone appearance. Oily skin may also be prone to enlarged pores, blackheads, and inflammation. The best moisturizer for oily skin is one that provides hydration without adding oil, such as a gel or a lotion. Look for moisturizers that contain humectants, as well as oil-free, non-comedogenic, and mattifying ingredients. Some examples of moisturizers for oily skin are Tata Harper Hyaluronic Gel Moisturizer, Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer, and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream.
Combination skin has both dry and oily areas, usually with a dry U-zone (cheeks and jawline) and an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Combination skin may also have different concerns in different areas, such as dryness, oiliness, sensitivity, or acne. The best moisturizer for combination skin is one that provides balanced hydration, such as a lightweight cream or a gel-cream. Look for moisturizers that contain humectants and emollients, as well as ingredients that address your specific concerns. Some examples of moisturizers for combination skin are Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream, Tula Skincare 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream, and Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer.
Sensitive skin reacts easily to external or internal factors, such as products, weather, stress, or hormones. Sensitive skin may experience symptoms such as burning, stinging, itching, redness, or rashes. The best moisturizer for sensitive skin is one that provides gentle hydration and soothing, such as a cream or a balm. Look for moisturizers that contain humectants and emollients, as well as calming, anti-inflammatory, and hypoallergenic ingredients. Avoid moisturizers that contain alcohol, fragrance, preservatives, or other potential irritants. Some examples of moisturizers for sensitive skin are Osmia Purely Simple Face Cream, Weleda Sensitive Care Facial Cream, and Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair.
How to use moisturizer effectively?
To get the most out of your moisturizer, follow these simple steps:
- Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser that suits your skin type.
- Apply a toner, essence, serum, or other treatment products that address your skin concerns.
- Apply a thin layer of moisturizer all over your face and neck, using gentle upward strokes. Avoid rubbing or tugging your skin.
- If you are using a moisturizer during the day, make sure it contains SPF or apply a separate sunscreen on top of it.
- If you are using a moisturizer at night, make sure it is compatible with any other products you are using, such as retinoids or acids.
- Reapply moisturizer as needed throughout the day or night, especially if your skin feels dry or tight.
Moisturizing your skin is an essential step in your skincare routine, as it helps keep your skin healthy, hydrated, and youthful. However, not all moisturizers are created equal, and you need to choose the best one for your skin type and needs. By understanding the types of moisturizers and how to use them effectively, you can achieve the best results for your skin. Remember, the best moisturizer for you is the one that makes your skin feel comfortable and happy.