No matter how much or how little you focus on your skin, you’ve probably heard about the merits of moisturizing enough to fill several lifetimes. Indeed, moisturizing (along with staying hydrated) has become somewhat of a meme at this point, but for good reason. Simply put, keeping your skin hydrated is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep it healthy, youthful, and clear. Moisturizing helps prevent wrinkles from forming or deepening, keeps acne at bay, decreases dryness, inflammation, and itchiness, reduces the appearance of scars, and more.
Of course, these benefits aren’t always guaranteed, and some moisturizers are better than others by virtue of their ingredients and properties. So, what’s the best moisturizer for your skin? Well, the answer depends on your unique skin type and needs. This is why it’s important to talk with your dermatologist before investing in a new product or routine. Still, we can discuss the various factors that make a moisturizer more or less effective across the board.
Like any skin care product, all moisturizers are not created equal. This is good, because one product might work well for one person and not so much for another. When comparing moisturizers, look for these ingredients, features, and buzzwords.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally-occuring, moisture-locking sugar that gives our skin its elasticity and structure. As we get older, our bodies produce less and less HA, which is in part why skin gets looser and drier with age. It should come as no surprise, then, that some of the best moisturizers on the market feature HA as a main ingredient. These moisturizers help the skin retain its moisture for extended periods of time by virtue of HA’s properties.
Some moisturizers contain retinol (essentially vitamin A) or are best used in conjunction with retinol. These products can strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and renew one’s complexion. Many anti-aging/wrinkle reducing treatments feature retinol, so these moisturizers are often geared towards those with maturing skin.
Scented moisturizers are not inherently problematic, but many manufacturers will boast that their product is “scent-free” or “odorless” to signal the lack of certain chemicals and additives. Indeed, certain scented products can irritate those with sensitive skin, so “scentless” is a worthy selling point and something to look for when comparing moisturizers.
Cermaides (“healthy fats”) are another ingredient to look for in a moisturizer. Like HA, ceramides partially form the skin’s barrier and retain moisture. These lipids provide a strong defense against dry skin.
Many moisturizers also feature some number of natural ingredients to consider, such as aloe vera, seaweed, shea butter, cocoa butter, etc. Don’t simply write off these ingredients -- many of them contain fats and other properties that help keep the skin hydrated, reduce inflammation, restore one’s complexion, and more. Of course, make sure you look into these ingredients before using a moisturizer, especially if you think you have an allergy to any of them.
Now that you know what to look for when comparing moisturizers, the next step is to pick a product that will serve your skin well. In order to do this, you and your dermatologist must determine your skin type and your desires. For instance, do you have dry skin or oily skin? Is your skin sensitive? Are you concerned about aging skin? Finding the answers to these questions will help you find the right products for you.
If you struggle with dry and/or sensitive skin, you’ll want to avoid scented moisturizers, as these can cause further irritation, dry skin rash, etc. Additionally, moisturizers containing HA, ceramides, and other fats are typically great for treaitng dry skin. As it turns out, HA moisturizers also work well for those with oily skin. This is because HA is not an oil or fat but rather a sugar that helps the skin retain its moisture. Those seeking acne skin care can benefit from HA-based moisturizers and might want to avoid ceramide-based ones so they’re not adding oils to their already oily skin.
Those with aging and/or sun damaged skin should seek moisturizers containing retinol/vitamin A as well as wrinkles enzyme inhibitors (sometimes found in fruit extracts). They might also look for moisturizers that offer sun protection as well, noting, however, that not all sunscreen/moisturizer combination products are effective. And, once again, moisturizers containing HA (and ceramides) can help those with mature skin keep wrinkles and lines in check and restore a more youthful complexion.
The best moisurizer for your skin is out there -- you just have to know your skin and which ingredients and features will alleviate, not exacerbate, your current problems. Ultimately, the best products are often scent-free and contain either hyaluronic acids, ceramides, or natural soothing ingredients (or all of the above). By speaking with your dermatologist and/or the experts at Premier Dermatology Partners, you can locate a high-quality moisturizer that offers the protection, hydration, and features right for your skin.
To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.