Moisturizing can be done in two easy steps. First, immediately after cleansing your skin, lightly pat it dry with a towel and leave some moisture on the skin. Next, put moisturizer on your skin within three minutes of cleansing [source: National Eczema Association].
What does moisturizing do for your skin? Most of your body's skin holds about 80 percent water, but the surface of the skin only holds up to 30 percent water [source: Skin Care Guide]. To heal and protect sensitive skin from inflammation and infection, it's necessary to retain moisture in that top layer. Moisturizers return moisture to the skin that was lost during cleansing, and then trap it in for protection against drying. That's why it's beneficial to apply moisturizer soon after cleansing in order to retain as much moisture as possible.
Like cleansers, not all moisturizers work the same. You may need to test several products on a patch of skin to determine which one works best without causing irritation. Moisturizers may come in the form of ointments, creams or lotions. Ointments are usually greasy, while lotions are typically water-based. Use a formula that is lightweight and feels good on the skin. Try an oil-free moisturizer if you have acne or oily skin. Moisturizers with fragrances may smell good, but they can have damaging effects on sensitive skin. Fragrances are likely to cause irritation and allergies [source: Mayo Clinic].
When applying moisturizer, use small amounts on the face, and use thicker amounts on the rest of the body. Your face naturally has more oil glands than the rest of your body, so you can be more sparing on your face.
Moisturizer alone will not protect you from potential damage and irritation. Protection from the sun is also a necessary component of daily sensitive skin care. Learn how you can protect your sensitive skin from the sun's rays on the next page.