Your cosmetics shopping list probably reads like this: concealer, check; lipstick, check; foundation, check; toner, check; moisturizer… Your friends have given you several recommendations for a moisturizer and you go the store feeling confident.
Then you look at the shelves and you are confounded. There are lots of them, in different formulas and for different skin types and you just can’t choose. Now you know there are great ones but to narrow it down is trying to wear you out.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us ask this all-important question: do you need a moisturizer? You probably go through every day looking flawless so you assume you do not need one.
But you do not know that your lotion or cream could contain moisturizing properties. And that is why you always look so good, even to you. Therefore, the answer to the question is: yes.
A moisturizer is a complex mélange of chemical 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 and traps it there.
Whether you believe it or not, the environment does not always favor you. It is taking from your skin’s natural nutrients or depositing harmful substances on you.
So everyone has to find ways to preserve themselves, without adding destructive substances. And one of the best ways to do this is by using moisturizers.
Those with oily skin may think they are exempt from this necessity. But sometimes, you may find yourself involved in some activities that dry your skin out. What better way to hydrate than moisturizing?
What Makes for a Good Moisturizer?
There is an unbelievable array of moisturizers for you to choose from if you don’t already use one. In fact, the choices are so much that a lot of people end up choosing wrong.
Then there are those who already use good moisturizers. If you have found a moisturizer that makes your skin glow, you have found a keeper. But what if you can do better? What if there is an upgrade for you and you don’t even know about it? Wouldn’t you want to know?
In this guide, I have listed some key factors for you consider when you go shopping again. These factors are the foundation that makes for a great moisturizer. If you follow them, you would make an effective moisturizer choice.
Ingredients that Replenish your Skin
First of all, know what natural and artificial substances work for your skin. If you do not know, everything may look to you. Read up on various ingredients that enhance your looks without long-term effects. Understand what they do to for your skin. That way, nothing looks like advanced mathematics to you.
Then, for the love of everything beautiful, read labels on these products. That it bears the name and mark of a world-renowned designer doesn’t make it good for you.
A great moisturizer must enhance the look of your skin. It must be able to attract moisture, absorb it into your skin and hold it in. It must be able to keep your skin hydrated.
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 color, 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 be at least SPF 30. Let it adequately cover your skin during the day and at night.
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 butters, 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. I think this explains a lot, doesn’t it? The whole point of using any moisturizer is to remove skin damage and restore beauty.
Therefore, any moisturizer that doesn’t have potent antioxidants is not for you. Look out for those with antioxidants like vitamins E and C, which 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. You did not know this, right?
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 the tendency to attract harmful bacteria and form mold. 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 anything 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.
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 you. 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 you. you can identify them by names such as glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol and sorbitan oleate.
Choosing Right Based on your Skin Type
Every beauty regimen usually comes back to one thing: your skin type. Well, that is the core of having a regimen in the first place. Choosing the right moisturizer must be done with 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 be a disaster for someone with oily skin.
What moisturizer should you use, based on your skin type?
- For sensitive skin, it would be wise to use a moisturizer with ingredients that mostly soothe. As the name implies, sensitive skin needs the most care and attention. Any wrong move could result in rashes or irritation.
Choose those 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. Your skin would thank you for it.
- If you have dry skin, select those that have an oil base and are heavy. Your skin would 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.
Creams and lotions could work but they are not as heavy as petrolatum, especially if you have very dry skin. And they never contain as much oil as your skin needs. Antioxidants are also good for you because they would remove the drying agents in your skin.
- For normal skin, not much is needed. 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. Having normal skin does not exempt you from that, you know. Such a moisturizer would contain cyclomethicone or cetyl alcohol.
- Those with oily skin should avoid any oil-based moisturizer. We are not trying to add insult to injury here. Avoid petrolatum products, shea and cocoa butters. 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 of oily and dry skin 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 good enough to keep your dry parts satisfied.
- Aging 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.
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. You get two benefits for the prize of one.
Tips on Maximizing your Moisturizer Experience
There are great ways to get the best out of your use of moisturizers. You have seen what to keep in mind when buying and choosing based on your skin type. Now it is time to give you tips on how to get the best use out of your moisturizer.
The first tip is where and when you will use it. Since it is the summer months, we all know that moisturizing is a given. But you have to use the right type.
Use a water-based one which is light, not heavy. The temptation would come to slather it on as heavily as possible but don’t do that.
Keep it light but be sure it is hydrating. Heavy ones would make your skin greasy and you don’t want that. You would get really uncomfortable as time wears on.
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. With time, you will be all the more grateful for it. Then, use a heavier one for your body. For the best results, try this tip.
When buying, look at the first 3 or 4 ingredients. This is because they are the ones that make up 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 would make your choice for you.
Don’t go for a type because it is the entire rave. Go for it because it suits your skin perfectly.
Avoid moisturizers with synthetic fragrances. Now, don’t get me wrong, most lotions 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. This could mean that some chemical substance has been used to mask the fragrance and that could be more harmful. Go for those which have ‘no added fragrance’ written on them.
Choose those with mineral sunscreen filters instead of chemical ones. Especially in these summer months, be sure to protect your skin as much as possible.
And sunscreen with chemical filters won’t do that for you. Look for those which contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They are safe minerals for a sunscreen.
Please, for the sake of everything beautiful that you are, 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, 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.
Go for what is best for you. And remember that cheap does not mean fake while expensive does not mean good. Stick to what works for you but don’t scrimp.
Have you had a great experience using moisturizers? Have you had a hard time picking out a good one? Share your experience and thoughts in the comments section.