Moisturizer is an essential skin care product everyone should use daily. Whether your skin type is dry, normal, oily or combination, there’s a moisturizer that’s just right for you. From lightweight gel formulas to thick, rich night creams, moisturizers ensure optimum skin health and diminish the signs of aging. Moisturizers containing antioxidants provide a boost to your skin’s overall condition and health.
One important skin care function of moisturizer is its ability to act as a barrier between skin and the elements. From free radicals to UV rays, moisturizer protects the skin as it retains skin-plumping moisture. Choose a daytime formula with sun protection to help prevent skin cancer and decrease the likelihood of wrinkles and sun spots. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests an SPF of 30 or higher, regardless of your skin’s pigmentation.
Applying moisturizer while skin is still damp from cleansing maximizes its effectiveness. Moisturizers prevent tightness caused by some cleansers, leaving the skin feeling soft and supple. Gentle, detergent-free, moisturizing cleansers are the best option for sensitive or dry skin care. Follow up with an aloe- or grape seed oil-containing moisturizer to soothe sensitive skin. Some find sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulfate irritating, so look for formulas without these ingredients.
Although it may seem harmless because it is completely natural, tea tree oil as an ingredient or on its own may also cause flare-ups or inflammation in sensitive skin. Some people are allergic to tea tree oil, so do a patch test by placing the product on a bandage on your upper back if you choose to try it out. Hydroquinone is another ingredient that may irritate skin. Often used in anti-aging creams, hydroquinone also acts as a skin bleaching agent and has been banned in some countries. Although less irritating than some of these ingredients, artificial fragrances may be a source of redness or other minor skin problems in those with very sensitive skin.
To avoid potentially irritating fragrances, look for moisturizers labeled as “fragrance-free” rather than “unscented.” Unscented products actually contain ingredients with their own scent designed to mask stronger-smelling ingredients. Check the label of an unscented product, and you just might find “fragrance” listed as an ingredient.
If your skin is oily and you’re concerned about acne or clogged pores, look for a lightweight oil-free formula designed for your skin type. Select a moisturizer labeled “non-comedogenic” to ensure clog-free pores. You probably don’t need a night cream unless your skin is drier in the winter.
Night cream is essential for dry skin, however. Although a day cream or moisturizing lotion with sunscreen may be adequate for daytime, night creams are excellent for providing extra moisture while you sleep. Look for an anti-aging formula for additional skin benefits.
Combination skin is trickier, although moisturizers targeted to this skin type are on the market. If these formulas don’t work for you, experiment with applying moisturizer for oily skin on the t-zone and moisture-rich dry-skin formulas on areas with less natural oil.
Today’s moisturizers offer easy customization by skin type, as well as formulas targeted to skin issues like aging, redness and puffiness. Reading reviews, analyzing ingredients and experimenting with different products are the best ways to help you hone your skin care routine and achieve the soft, smooth, young-looking skin you’ve always wanted.
This article is a contribution from Mountain View Dermatology, acne facial experts in Boulder CO.