Your cosmetics shopping list probably reads like this: concealer, lipstick, foundation, toner, moisturizer. You may not be new to having to choose a good moisturizer but you just want to broaden your horizon.
But at the store, you realize, from the amazing number of moisturizers available, that you don’t have a particular type in mind. Do you go for a moisturizing cream, lotion or gel? And the number of brands…don’t get us started. We’ve all been there and we know how tedious it can be. So how do you choose a new moisturizer?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us ask this all-important question: do you need a moisturizer?
Your lotion or cream could contain moisturizing properties which keep your skin looking great, even in winter. Therefore, the answer to that question is: yes.
A moisturizer is a complex mélange of chemical and natural ingredients, aimed at making and keeping your skin moldable, smooth and soft.
It does this by increasing your skin’s water retention and cutting down the speed of evaporation. In cases where there isn’t enough skin hydration, it draws moisture from the atmosphere and traps it within the skin.
Pollutants and irritants in the environment deposit harmful substances on your skin while taking away the useful nutrients. One of the best ways to preserve the skin is by using moisturizers.
Table of Contents
What Makes for a Good Moisturizer?
In this guide, we have listed some key factors for you to consider before you go shopping again. These factors are the foundation that makes for a great moisturizer.
Ingredients that Replenish your Skin
First of all, know what natural and artificial substances work for your skin. Read up on various ingredients and know which is harmful and which is good.
Always read the labels of products you wish to buy. This will help you know what is in them.
Look for moisturizers that have ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, salicylic acids and petrolatum.
Moderate Amount of Sunscreen
The sun can be your friend or your enemy, depending on how much of it you absorb. While it gives your skin that beautiful tan colour, it is also the best way to get your skin dehydrated.
Since your moisturizer is one thing you’re sure to use every day, you might as well buy one with sunscreen. The sunscreen has to be broad-spectrum and should have an SPF value of at least 30.
The Presence of Emollients
An effective moisturizer must contain emollients. These keep the skin lubricated, hydrated, smooth and soft.
For those with dry skin, you cannot but look for moisturizers with emollients. They are the best way to trap a good amount of moisture in the epidermis, eliminating quick dryness.
Good examples of emollients used in moisturizers are mango and shea butter, coconut oils, oleic acid, evening primrose oil, cocoa butter and fatty acids.
An antioxidant is a substance that completely eliminates any oxidizing agent that has the potential of deteriorating the skin. The whole point of using any moisturizer is to remove and prevent skin damage, restoring beauty.
Look out for those with ingredients like vitamins E and C, which are powerful natural antioxidants. Others include licorice extracts, ferulic acid, green tea extracts, willow herb extract, quercetin and resveratrol.
The Package It Comes In
This matters because a lot of the ingredients, top of the list antioxidants, react to light and air. Their effectiveness would be determined by how well-sealed the jar or tube is.
Seeing as moisturizers have to be stored, be sure to check if the tube is air-tight and won’t easily let light in. This would preserve it for long and save you the grief of having to replace an ineffective one.
Moisturizers should have some form of preservative, especially the water-based ones. Water has a tendency to attract harmful bacteria and form mould.
If this happens, the moisturizer would do more harm than good. Its effectiveness would diminish and it becomes highly likely to cause infections.
Preservatives do not have to be complicated. It could be alcohol, potassium sorbate, dehydroacetic acid, sodium benzoate, rosemary, gluconolactone and tea tree. These would give the long-lasting effect to any moisturizer so that its shelf life would be prolonged.
But be cautious when using moisturizers with some of these preservatives. They tend towards harm to the skin. Alcohol, for example, dries out the skin and causes deep irritation when used excessively.
Watch Out for Emulsifiers
If your skin is dry and prone to acne or irritations, then you have to be careful. Emulsifiers are like detergents. They wash away dirt and dead skin cells, leaving your skin clear and clean.
But they can also be too strong sometimes, stripping away the oils which are meant to protect the skin. When this happens, you leave yourself susceptible to dryness and irritation.
So if you’re going for a moisturizer with emulsifiers, check the quantity to be sure it is safe for use. You can identify them by names such as glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol and sorbitan oleate.
Choosing the Right Moisturizer Based on Skin Type
Every beauty regimen usually comes back to one thing: your skin type. Choosing the right moisturizer, therefore, must be done with the knowledge of your skin type.
If you are not sure about what your skin type is, it is best to find out before buying. The moisturizer that would be perfect for someone with normal skin may not work so well for someone with oily skin.
What moisturizer should you use, based on your skin type?
It would be wise to use a moisturizer with ingredients that mostly soothe. This is because sensitive skin needs the most care and attention.
Choose a moisturizer with ingredients like aloe vera and chamomile; they are gentle on the skin.
Try as much as possible to reduce the use of those which contain acids and are fragrant or dye-infused. Avoid those that contain alcohol.
Select those that have an oil base and are heavy. Your skin will need all the moisture it can get, as well as storing some. Oil locks in water effectively so any petrolatum-based moisturizer is for you. But don’t overdo the oil.
Creams and lotions could work but they are not as heavy as petrolatum, especially if you have very dry skin. Antioxidants are also good because they remove the drying agents in your skin.
Not much is needed for normal skin. Your choice of a moisturizer should be lightweight, with little oil and more water.
The reason why you need it is to eliminate any chances of developing dryness. Such a moisturizer would contain Cyclomethicone or cetyl alcohol.
Avoid any oil-based moisturizer. Avoid petrolatum products, shea and cocoa kinds of butter. Instead, focus on moisturizers that have more water.
Oily skin does not remove the chances of having skin dehydration. Oil and water are two different things. So drink lots of water and moisturize with water-based products.
Combination Oily and Dry Skin
This skin type would accept moisturizers with an equal mixture of oil and water. This is in other to balance each other out.
The moisturizer would not be too oily yet enough to keep the dry areas satisfied.
Ageing skin has its own challenges. It could be any type of skin but combined with age, it needs extra care. It begins to get easier to lose the moisture and nutrients needed to keep the skin supple as it ages.
Because of this, moisturizers with alpha-hydroxy acids and antioxidants would help with the wrinkles. A moisturizer with emollients and an oil base would do the extra work needed to keep the moisture locked in.
If you have a skin condition, say eczema, you are not left out. The best for you is any moisturizing ointment that has an oil-base (petrolatum is ideal).
You see, eczema tends to be flaky so you need to keep your skin well-oiled and hydrated. Moisturizers like this don’t only give you great skin; they curtail the spread of eczema.
Tips on Maximizing your Moisturizer Experience
Where and When You Use It
The first tip is where and when you will use it. If it is summertime, for example, use a water-based one which is light.
For your face, use a lightweight moisturizer. The skin on your face is sensitive and more exposed, compared to the rest of your body.
Find a light one that you can use day or night. But use a heavier one for your body.
First 3 or 4 Ingredients
When buying, look at the first 3 or 4 ingredients. This is because they are the ones that makeup between 70 – 80 percent of the cream or lotion. This means that they have the highest concentration in it.
Remember all we said about ingredients? So you know how important they are. Depending on your skin type, those ingredients will make your choice for you.
Avoid moisturizers with synthetic fragrances. Now, most of these products have some sort of sweet smell.
But the more there is, the more harmful it is to your skin. How do you know? If it has ‘parfum’, fragrance’ or ‘perfume’ written on it, step away.
Also, if it says ‘no fragrance’ approach with caution. Rather, go for those which have ‘no added fragrance’ written on them.
Mineral Sunscreen Filters
Choose those with mineral sunscreen filters instead of chemical ones. Sunscreen with chemical filters won’t protect your skin very well. Look for those which contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They are safe minerals for a sunscreen.
Please research ingredients as you see them. When you have followed all the steps and pick a moisturizer, surf the internet to check what the ingredients are.
If you are not sure about them, this is the best way to verify. Don’t depend on what others say; find things out for yourself. With time, you will get used to what your skin needs.
There is no particular moisturizer that is the all-in-all. Yes, some are exceptional but that does not mean they will fit everyone.
And remember that cheap does not mean fake while expensive does not mean good. Stick to what works for you but don’t go for ridiculously cheap products.
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