It seems like a simple thing to do – moisturize your skin daily to keep it soft and supple. But of all the steps in your beauty routine, moisturizing seems to be the hardest to pin down. Do you moisturize if you have oily skin? Should you use a lotion, gel, cream or balm? Can you use a body moisturizer on your face?
First, let’s address that question about using body moisturizer on your face. This is not ideal, but if you are stuck and your face is parched, you can apply a little body lotion for a temporary measure. Body moisturizers are heaver and greasier than moisturizers made for the face. That’s because body moisturizers are formulated to penetrate thicker skin that is less prone to sensitivity and irritation. So, yes, in a pinch, go ahead and use your body moisturizer, but I would not make it a habit.
Types of Moisturizers
Moisturizers come in many forms and they fall into three basic categories:
Humectants: This type of moisturizer acts like a sponge – attracting water from the deeper layers of the skin to the top layers of the skin to boost moisture levels. If you want a humectant, look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
Emollients: These are softeners that smooth your skin by preventing moisture loss from cells. Emollients keep the skin moist and supple by providing a protective film. For those with extremely dry skin, or for people with eczema or psoriasis, emollients are an important part of their daily skin care. If an emollient is what you need, look for products with keratin, ceramides, stearyl alchohol.
Occlusives: Occlusives create a barrier on the skin to prevent the evaporation of water from the surface of the skin. Some of these ingredients can be greasy and are most effective when applied to damp skin – nothing locks moisture in better than applying it to damp skin after a shower. Look for products with mineral oil, lanolin, silicone derivatives like dimethicone and cyclomethicone, and petrolatum.
Moisturize at Any Age
In your 20s: Moisturizing your skin in your 20s is often overlooked. We are more concerned with keeping the skin clear of blemishes at this age than anything else. Try adding a light, water-based, oil-free or gel moisturizer with salicylic acid and take care of two jobs at once – keeping blemishes at bay, and keeping skin moist and healthy.
In your 30s: This is the time to get serious about moisturizing your skin on a daily basis. The first signs of fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear and skin tone begins to look uneven. Starting now with an anti-aging moisturizer and a night repair treatment will have lasting benefits as your skin ages.
In your 40s: Forget fine lines, the wrinkles have set in and you begin to see signs of age spots. Time to get a moisturizer that is packed with peptides to even out pigmented skin and increase collagen production.
In your 50s and beyond: Hormonal changes can lead to dehydrated skin and possibly even blemishes. It’s a difficult time for your skin – not unlike the teenage years. Anything that builds collagen in your skin will help to maintain that youthful quality, glow, and reflectivity. Vitamin A creams are the gold standard for their collagen-building qualities. Vitamin C serums also build collagen, and alpha and beta hydroxy acids are known to build collagen by encouraging cell turnover.
Best Way to Apply Moisturizer
Step 1: The best time to apply moisturizer is right after you wash the skin, while it’s still damp. That helps trap the moisture that’s still on the surface of the skin for maximum benefit. For really dry skin, you can moisturizer during the day to keep it soft and supple. Moisturizing dry skin is not as effective, but it’s better than nothing.
Step 2: Apply moisturizer with clean fingers and hands to avoid contaminating your skin. Forgetting to wash our finger tips before applying skincare products is the #1 method of introducing pore-clogging dirt, oils and bacteria to the face. Using clean fingers, simply pat a small dab of moisturizer on your cheeks, forehead, chin and nose and blend evenly. Avoid the T-zone if you have oily skin.
Step 3: Give you moisturizer time to sink into the skin before applying makeup. Wait at least 2 minutes to allow the product to dry.
Remember to keep your skin exfoliated so that all your skincare products can be properly absorbed -including your moisturizer.
How can you tell if you are moisturizing enough, or too much?
According to Dr. Jeanette Graf, Dermatologist in New York, if your skin is shiny, it means you crossed the line to greasy and you need to change your product or dial it down a notch. If your skin is dull, chalky or ashy, you need a more effective moisturizer. If you skin is soft, dewy and the light bounces off it, then you have it just right!