Choosing a moisturizer from a shelf with around 20 different brands could be one of the most difficult decision making processes for someone who truly wants a product that is going to benefit their skin. What makes it even more difficult is that so many people are used to hearing about how expensive skin care products are, but they do not have to be. You can go to your local drugstore and pick out a product that is equally as amazing, as long as you know exactly what to look for and how to fit it with your skin type. Most people do not, but these are some helpful tips to get some basic knowledge on what you should really be looking for, past the brand name of course.
- First off, you want to understand how a moisturizer works and what it does to benefit your skin. A moisturizer is a complex mixture of chemical agents specially designed to make the epidermis (outer layers of the skin) softer and more pliable, by increasing its hydration (water content) by reducing evaporation. The ingredients you want to look for in a moisturizing product are petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, and dimethicone, which help seal in the moisture. Glycerin, propylene glycol, proteins, urea, and vitamins are what helps to attract water into the epidermis. If you have dry skin and need an exfoliating type of product that works to remove dead skin cells, go for alpha hydroxy acid (AHA).
- To choose a product that is right for you, and I specify the word “you” because not all of us have the same skin types, you need to first determine what yours is. Are you dry? Are you oily? Do you have combination skin where you are both dry and oily? This is important because it helps you get the most out of the product and the results. You want to work towards a moisturizer labeled non-comedogenic, in other words, it will not clog your pores. For dry skin, you need a richer product that is going to help give that extra moisture your skin needs. If you tend to be more on the oily side, focus towards oil-free, which will be much more lighter for your skin. Last, for combination skin, again go for a lighter product over your entire face and in the specific areas that are more dry, be sure to use that heavier cream just over those areas. To go a little further, if you also have sensitive skin, choose a product labeled hypoallergenic.
- If your skin is very dry and these products are not working for you, you may need to see a dermatologist in order to get a prescription moisturizer. They usually contain the AHA lactic acid. This is what softens the epidermis and may give you more beneficial results. The downside to a stronger moisturizer is that the AHAs, such as lactic acid and glycolic acid, can cause an allergic reaction with certain people so you should stop using the product if you are experiencing any burning, irritation, red skin, itching, or a rash and contact your doctor. If this was to happen, there is one other option with is a barrier cream. This cream contains humectants that hold on to moisture longer, meaning your skin will be much more hydrated for a much longer period of time rather than using a regular product because they penetrate deeper.
When you have given a few different products a try and finally found the one that is right for you, be sure to moisturize daily because it will help your skin in the long run. When you apply product make sure to apply it to damp skin. A great example from dermatologist Francesca Fusco is to “think about a sponge that’s dried out. If you put moisturizer on it, it won’t go anywhere. But if you soak the sponge in water and coat it with moisturizer, the sponge will absorb it.” This will ensure your skin is getting every ounce of hydration it can get!
(source: Everyday Health)