Ask someone to mention different skincare products out there; skin lotion will likely be in the top five listed. However it has been discovered that despite the popularity of this product, very few get desired result from using it.
This is because a lot of people assume they know all there is to know about skin lotions. In this buying guide, we will re-orientate you about skin lotions. We’ll also show you how to choose a skin lotion that will yield the desired result.
What is a Skin Lotion?
A skin lotion is an oil-in-water mixture that is applied topically to the skin. It is formulated to take care of a lot of skincare issues. It could hydrate, moisturize and even beautify the skin. Skin lotion is the most common and well known skincare product due to its ease of use.
Types of Skin Lotion According to Their Functions
Skin lotions are formulated and designed most times with a specific purpose. So the purpose of a product will determine the following:
- The ingredients it will contain.
- The effect it will have on your skin.
- The skin it is also suitable for.
Important to note is that the ingredients contained in your skin lotion mostly determines its function.Now basically, your skin lotion will either be one of these three types and this is based on their functions.
This type of skin lotion functions by closing up spaces in the skin cells pores. That is they soak into the skin and fill its cells thereby causing a smooth and soft feel to the skin. Examples of ingredients that properly execute this include jojoba oil and glyceryl stearate.
Silicones such as cyclomethicone and dimethicone are also emollients but we advise you to be wary of them. This is due to several negative reports about them especially dimethicone. Though skin type also plays a major role as to the kind of effect we get from these ingredients. Generally we recommend that those with sensitive skin should keep away from silicones just to be safe.
These are ingredients that keep in skin moisture by producing a sort of barrier over the skin. They prevent misture from exiting the skin. Examples include lanolin, mineral oil and waxes.
Apart from these above named ingredients, chief among occlusives is petrolatum. We do not recommend this for general use. However, severe cases of dryness of skin that require that moisture be locked up in the skin could employ this. Yet this should be used in very little amount.
Those with dry skin will enjoy the best out of this skin lotion type. Also winter periods will require the use of this heavy duty skin lotion.
These ingredients possess excellent hydrating properties. They function by pulling to the skin’s topmost layer moisture that has been locked in the skin. This keeps the skin well hydrated and less vulnerable to dehydration. Examples include hyaluronic acid, panthenol and glycerin.
Useful Ingredients in a Good Skin Lotion
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)
Most people get scared when they see or hear of acid. Relax AHAs aren’t like those acids that can fix up your skin for good; sorry we mean bad. Alpha hydroxyl acids are gentle acids that assist in getting rid of dead cells and smoothening your skin. This function is referred to as exfoliating.
Due to their gentle nature, AHAS require constant application for maximum effect unlike those dangerous acids you’re scared of. AHAS are found naturally from fruit products. AHAs can help in the treatment of keratosis pilaris also known as “chicken skin” that is found on the backs of thighs and upper arms
Antioxidants combat free radicals which are oxygen molecules that have become unstable in our skin. They counter the effects of these free radicals thereby keeping the skin safe. This is important because these free radicals damages collagen found in our skin. And collagen is essential to our skin looking youthful. For those who don’t know collagen is a protein that is found abundantly in the body. It is responsible for your skin’s elasticity and strength which makes your skin look youthful. It also helps in skin cells production. When the collagen production reduces which happens as we age, it leads to wrinkles and other aging signs.
Ceramides are naturally produced by a skin that’s healthy. When it is at a low level, it is best you replenish it using a product that contains ceramide. This is necessary because ceramides helps in the production of the skin’s barrier known as acid mantle. Without it the skin becomes exposed to bacteria, germs and all sorts of infections.
It also helps in treating certain skin issues like psoriasis and eczema. Based on research, it is proven that those who suffer from these conditions have lesser amount of ceramides than required. Therefore the addition of ceramides to the skin will help treat those skin issues.
Essential Fatty Acids aka Healthy Fats
In order for the skin to maintain certain cellular functions it has to be fueled. Without this fuel the skin is unable to go through certain processes that keep the skin looking healthy. This is where healthy fats come into play. They serve as the fuel the skin cells need for all those functions.
As essential as they might be (it’s even evident in their names), your body does not produce them naturally. It is either gotten from the food eaten or absorbed into the skin via skin lotions. That’s why your skin lotion should contain these essentially essential fatty acids (We couldn’t say essential twice).
Examples of these healthy fats include almond oil, shea butter, olive oil and avocado.
You can find the Omega-3 essential fatty acids in the following foods like safflower oil, mackerel, walnuts, salmon, flaxseed and soy.
Hyaluronic acid is a lightweight ingredient with the ability to absorb a multiple of 1,000 its weight when in water meaning its hydrating properties are second to none. It enables elastin and collagen to function optimally which leads to a youthful looking skin. Hyaluronic acid also keeps in skin moisture from escaping. It is pretty safe for those with an oily skin as well as those prone to acne.
This trio is humectants with the ability to attract moisture around toward themselves and hold it in place. This makes them powerful hydrating ingredients that are usually used by skin lotion products. They are listed with varying names but common among them are butylene glycol and propylene glycol.
Sodium PCA has the properties of a humectant which means it’s a good hydrator. It can easily keep the skin hydrated and feeling supple for long period of time during the day. It is naturally found in proteins located in our skin.
Ginseng has the ability to soothe the skin and give it a glowing look.
Your skin lotion should contain a bit of oil that has small molecules. This replenishes your skin with the right amount of oil it needs and it can easily seep into the skin. Opt for naturals oils for this purpose. Jojoba oil and Shea butter can perform this function efficiently.
Green tea extract
Naturally gotten and blessed with moisturizing and soothing properties. The extract from green tea leaf will leave a smooth feel on your skin.
Shea butter has been tested and proven over time to be effective at boosting skin hydration and enhancing skin protection.
Ingredients to Avoid
Alcohol is just one very large family that has several members. If you studied even basic chemistry you’ll attest to this. Even in skin lotions, there are different types manufacturers employ.
Despite being used by different brands, alcohols are not totally skin-friendly. They can cause damage to the skin if you aren’t careful. If you must use them (because certain severe conditions require it) it should be in little amount. Keep away from alcohol for your skin’s sake if there is no serious reason that warrants using it.
Products Obtained from Petroleum
They hardly get soaked into the skin which in turn will leave a greasy feeling on your skin. A good and very common example is Vaseline.
Dyes or Fragrances
These are major players in the irritants’ world league. They are known to cause serious irritation to the skin and NOT just to those with sensitive skin. So always opt for fragrance-free and dye-free skin lotion.
Parabens are mostly used as preservatives in the cosmetic industry. They offer nothing by being in your skin lotion maybe except cancer. Yeah you heard right; parabens have been linked to causing skin cancer.
Whatever state you’re in; even if you are drunk do not purchase a skin lotion with this ingredient. We repeat do not purchase a skin lotion with this ingredient. It is a major toxicant to your immune system as well as a great irritant.
Consider your Skin Type before Getting a Skin Lotion
So often a lot of people purchase skin lotions or any other skincare product without considering their skins. Some just see commercials on TV and assume that skin lotion will be good for my skin. Before you launch off like a rocket to the store if you’re one of such, get the full gist first. Your commercial won’t tell you what you’re about to find out.
Your skin has its own unique characteristics and must be treated specially. Remember it is the largest organ of your body so treat it with respect. So what should I consider based on my skin type you might ask; let’s find out shall we?
Common characteristics of a dry skin include dry patches, cracking and flaking skin. During winter these characteristics are magnified due to absence of or little moisture in the air.
This skin needs a skin lotion that is heavy and thick in composition to prevent further moisture loss.
It should also contain ingredients with the ability to properly soothe and hydrate the skin. A good example of such is Shea Butter.
Common traits shown by an oily skin is the presence of oil on the skin. There is also a shiny look void of dry patches.
This kind of skin unlike the dry skin does not require a heavy and thick skin lotion. Rather a skin lotion that is light without a greasy after feel will do justice to an oily skin. This will prevent the skin pores from getting blocked if heavy lotions were used. A good example of a light ingredient that works well for oily skin is jojoba oil.
This skin does not show any of the characteristics of either an oily skin or dry skin. So what kind of skin lotion should one with a normal skin get? Gets a regular skin lotion with light ingredients as well as sufficient hydrating ingredients to keep your skin looking smooth.
If a normal skin is one without any of the characteristics of an oily or dry skin, then a combination skin is the opposite. This type of skin has both characteristics of an oily and dry skin.
How does one choose a skin lotion for such a skin type? You don’t choose one; you choose two to combat effectively the issues your skin might face. A light skin lotion will serve you well for areas that are oily and a heavy lotion for dry areas.
This skin is plagued constantly with irritation and redness. In fact it could be so sensitive that even a touch could cause redness. (However, this mostly occurs with severe cases). Ensure the skin lotion is specifically designed for sensitive skins. You should opt for those that are free of irritants like fragrances, dyes, alcohols etc.
Things to Consider when Getting a Skin Toner
Your skin lotion should not cost you an arm in the process. If that’s the case you’ll probably end up without limbs in maybe two to three months. What we’re saying basically is that your skin lotion does not have to be expensive for it to be effective.
How well your skin lotion is packaged will determine how long it will last and well as it effectiveness over time. We recommend you buy products that have a tube or pump container. This will allow your lotion to be protected from bacteria and even air which will cause its degradation.
It is always advisable to do a patch test if possible of the skin lotion you intend purchasing. This will enable you ascertain if you like the feeling on your skin or not. After all who’ll want to use something he or she isn’t comfortable with? A good skin lotion will always have a silky light feeling on the skin. It will not feel greasy like you just applied engine oil on your skin. (Really some skin lotions have that kind of feel).
Purchase from Drugstores
You don’t need to go to any fancy beauty shop before you get a good skin lotion. Most products sold in such places are a whole lot of advertising and nothing else. You will get a good skin lotion at a good drugstore around you. And like we said earlier; it doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective.
Your skin lotion should contain that will protect you from the skin’s UV rays. This will prevent you from excess dehydration as well as skin damage. And SPF 30 is good enough to protect your skin.
Here is a useful tip: Use your skin lotion immediately after you take your bath. Or more appropriately, use it on a damp skin. Your skin absorbs much of the lotion quicker that way. This allows your skin lotion to be more effective.
Has this buying guide been helpful? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.