Moisturizers Options for Smoother Skin
Find out what moisturizers can and cannot do for your skin and how to choose the one you need.
Moisturizers prevent and treat dry skin. They can also protect sensitive skin, improve skin texture, and mask blemishes. You may want to try many products to find the right moisturizers for you.
What is the best moisturizer for you?
At the most basic level, moisturizers retain water in the outer layer of the skin. They contain ingredients that introduce water into the skin (humectants), such as glycerin, lactic acid or urea; and others that soften the skin (emollients), such as lanolin, sunflower oil, and jojoba oil.
You may want to try various moisturizers to find the best ones for your needs. You may decide to use an eye and neck cream and lotion, which is easier to spread, for the rest of the body. You can also choose moisturizers that are easy to apply and leave no visible residue.
The best moisturizers for you depend on many factors, including your skin type, age, and whether you have specific conditions, such as acne. Consider the following:
- Normal skin. Normal skin is not too dry nor too oily. To maintain this natural moisture balance, use a water-based moisturizer that feels light and non-greasy. These moisturizers often contain light oils or silicone-derived ingredients, such as Cyclomethicone.
- Dry Skin. Dry skin tends to be flaky, itchy, or rough. To return moisture to dry skin, take a heavier, oil-based moisturizer that includes ingredients that help retain water. If you’ve tried moisturizers but still feel dry — especially on the lower legs, feet, arms, and hands — look for one that contains lactic acid or lactic acid and urea.
- For very dry and chapped skin, look for Vaseline ointments (Vaseline, Aquaphor). They have more staying power than lotions and are more effective in reducing water loss from the skin. If this type of product is too greasy for daytime use, apply it at bedtime.
- Oily skin. Oily skin is shiny, oily, and prone to acne and breakouts. Such skin still needs hydration, especially after using skincare products that remove oils and dry it out. A few moisturizers can more help protect your skin after washing.
- Lotions generally contain a higher percentage of water than creams, are easier to apply, and less likely to aggravate acne-prone skin. Choose a lightweight, water-based product that is labeled oil-free or non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. If you are prone to acne, avoid using facial products that contain petroleum jelly, cocoa butter, or coconut oil. If your skin is so oily, try using a sunscreen instead of a moisturizer.
- Mixed skin. Mixed skin has dry and oily areas. For example, the forehead, nose, or chin may be greasy, but the cheeks are dry. Try a medium-weight lotion with broad-spectrum sunscreen. Or use a light moisturizer on your face and a heavier one for your arms and legs.
- Sensitive skin. Sensitive skin is susceptible to irritation, redness, itching, or a rash. Look for a moisturizer that contains soothing ingredients, like chamomile or aloe. Choose soft products labeled hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and for sensitive skin. Please note that products labeled unscented can still irritate your skin as they may contain hidden fragrances. Also avoid products that contain acids, which can irritate sensitive skin.
- Mature skin. As you age, your skin tends to become lighter, drier, less elastic, and less able to protect itself from damage. To keep your skin smooth and well-hydrated, choose an oil-based moisturizer that contains petrolatum, which helps maintain moisture. Hydration can make fine lines and wrinkles less visible.
- To prevent flaky and flaky skin, you can choose products that also include antioxidants or alpha hydroxy acids. Moisturizers are often the basis of wrinkle creams, with retinoids, antioxidants, peptides, or other added ingredients.
How to get the most out of moisturizers
Develop a simple and systematic skincare routine with the regular use of moisturizers:
- You must be willing to experiment. Find a moisturizer brand like Tresor Rare that suits your skin type and makes your skin look and feel soft. You may have to try several brands with different ingredients before finding one that you like.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Apply sunscreen daily throughout the year. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply it every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- You can choose a moisturizer or cosmetic products that contain sunscreen. Apply any topical medications you are using to your skin before applying moisturizer, sunscreen, or cosmetic products.
- You don’t need to buy a more expensive brand. Just because a moisturizer is expensive doesn’t mean it is more effective than a lower-priced product. Many of the ingredients added to these more expensive brands are of questionable value and may include fragrances, dyes, or other ingredients that do not help hydrate and protect the skin.
- Wash regularly and carefully. Wash your face daily and after sweating. Use warm (not hot) water and a mild facial cleanser, or just water. When bathing, avoid using scouring pads and pumice stones. Use unscented bath oil and a mild soap or shower gel with added moisturizer. Rinse well. Limit bathing to no more than once a day and no more than five to ten minutes.
- Apply moisturizers while the skin is still wet. After bathing, showering, or shaving, gently pat your skin dry with some moisture. Then apply a moisturizer so that water is trapped in the skin. Depending on your skin type, it is recommended that you reapply the moisturizer two or three times a day, or more often as needed. Moisturize your hands every time you wash them. Although often ignored, the hands are more exposed to irritants than any other part of the body.
- Use heavy creams and oils appropriately. Don’t use heavy creams on your face unless you have excessive dryness. You can use baby oil or heavier lotions on your legs, hands, and feet because those areas tend to be drier.
- Apply moisturizer after medicinal creams. If you use medicinal creams, such as a corticosteroid or tacrolimus (Protopic), wait at least 30 minutes before applying a moisturizer. Check the medicine container for specific instructions.
Not all moisturizers honor published claims or contain all advertised ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate cosmetics, including moisturizers, as strictly as it does with drugs.
If regular hydration has not improved your skin condition or if you notice new skin problems, see your doctor or dermatologist. Ask about creating a personalized skincare plan based on your skin type and any skin conditions you may have.