What Makes a Good Moisturizer, and Why You Need One
Moisturizers help your skin to stay hydrated, which is important for a good skincare routine. Find out what makes a good moisturizer and why you need one.
In this article, we’re going to go over the benefits of moisturizing your skin, as well as the ingredients that make up a quality moisturizer. We will also give you some tips on how to choose a moisturizer for your skin type and discuss various methods of applying it.
Benefits of moisturizing your skin
Moisturizing skin is important to keep our skin healthy. If we don’t moisturize, our skin can get dry and cracked which leaves it itchy, scratchy, poor-looking, and in worst cases, susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections (issues such as these are faced by people dealing eczema and psoriasis). Moisturizing also helps maintain a healthy balance of oil on the skin which will prevent it from overproducing sebum, the body’s natural oil that coats the hair and skin.
Moisturizers also have a number of benefits that are not always primary, but very much supplemental. These include protection, brightening, and some anti-aging effects.
If you don’t want to use a lotion as your moisturizer, there are many other options as well. Some people prefer using oils as their moisturizer. Hydrating cleansers are another option for those who have sensitive or dry skin because it reduces irritation and inflammation by removing excess oils from the surface.
Ingredients that make up a quality moisturizer
Some of the base ingredients found in moisturizers are occlusives, humectants and emollients.
Occlusives help seal moisture by forming a barrier on the skin’s surface. Humectants attract water from the environment to keep the skin hydrated and plump. Emollients prevent water loss by attracting moisture to the outer layer of skin and form an oily film that prevents evaporation of water from the surface.
Additionally, many moisturizers contain other ingredients that are meant to add additional benefits to the moisturizing formulation. These ingredients include ceramides, niacinamide, urea, AHA, hyaluronic acid and others. Each works in a different way, and different companies come up with different blends of ingredients based on their own R&D, philosophy and target skin type.
Tips on how to choose a moisturizer for your skin type
While there are many moisturizers to choose from, it can be hard to find the best one for you. It is important to know what skin type you have before purchasing a moisturizer because moisturizers work differently depending on skin types. Moisturizers are classified into dry, oily, and/or combination skin types.
We should also consider how sensitive your skin is when choosing a moisturizer. For example, if your skin is very sensitive then you will need to use products that are fragrance free or hypoallergenic.
- Dry: Your skin is usually flaky and may feel tight and uncomfortable.
- Normal: Your skin falls in between oily and dry; it may be a little or moderately dry or oily, but not too much.
- Oily: You have plenty of natural oils on your face that are causing acne breakouts or too much shine.
- Combination: Some combination of the above, and often the trickiest to deal with.
Different skin types need different facial moisturizers. This means that you have to find the right one for what suits your skin type/requires it to stay healthy, depending on factors such as texture & thickness. A dermatologist can be of great help in this regard.
- Oily skin: A gel moisturizer is the best way to treat it, as they’re mostly humectants-based with a few added rejuvenators. These lightweight moisturizers won’t clog your pores and since they’re water-based, they’ll hydrate more effectively.
- Dry-skin: It’s important to find a cream instead of a lotion for dryness, since creams are thicker and won’t absorb as easily. Moisturizer creams contain both oil & water ingredients, which helps regulate your skin.
- Normal/combination skin: This skin type can use any moisturizer type. If your skin is normal but on the dry side, you might want to use thicker cream moisturizers. If you have oily skin, use gel/gel cream/water cream moisturizers.
- Sensitive-skinned people should look for fragrance-free and paraben-free moisturizers while avoiding any potential irritants
Various method of applying moisturizers
(A very non-exhaustive summary is given here, since there could literally be an encyclopedic calibre article on this aspect alone)
- Use on damp skin. Moisturizing is important to do within a few minutes of washing. If you use toner, essence or serum, apply them before moisturizer when skin is damp still. This improves their effectiveness and helps seal in the moisture.
- Dab, massage. Most people tend to rub moisturizer on the palms of their hands before applying, meaning they lose an excess of product on their skin. To avoid this, pump some moisturizer on the back of your hand and then using one of your ring fingers to apply it evenly over your face.
- Don’t go overboard. The problem with moisturizing too much is that there’s wasted product and a weird, oily sheen. There’s also the issue of products not being able to properly soak into your skin from now on because you used too much. Things like sunscreen and make-up won’t go on as nicely as before.