Dermatologists recommend using a daily facial moisturizer as part of a skin care routine. Gently cleansing the face removes dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria, but it also strips the skin of needed hydration. Water -- not oil -- in the skin keeps it plump and smooth, whereas dry skin loses elasticity, making it more prone to developing wrinkles. Facial moisturizers, which are usually lipid-based, lock in that water by either blocking it from escaping from the outermost layer of skin (occlusive moisturizers) or drawing water from the inner dermis toward the top the of skin (humectant moisturizers) [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
Mastering the "how" of facial moisturizers is the easy half of the equation. For instance, it's better to apply them to damp skin, and they should cover the face as well as the neck [source: Bank and Sobel]. But selecting the appropriate face moisturizer can be as frustrating as noticing a pimple before a hot date. And since moisturizers stay on the skin for extended periods of time, the wrong ones can wreak pore-clogging, skin-irritating havoc. To avoid unwanted breakouts and excessive skin care expenses, follow these five tips to help you select the right daily facial moisturizer.