Is it time to moisturize yet?

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Using a moisturizer on a regular basis can be the answer to getting silky, smooth skin; however, knowing how often to apply it can be a little more difficult. Your skin type can be a factor. For example, if you have dry skin, you will probably need to moisturize more often than people with normal or oily skin. No matter what type of skin you have, though, there are certain times it will need moisturizer.

The best times to apply moisturizer are after you bathe, shave or exfoliate [source: Mann]. For most people, this might be every day. Shaving and exfoliating both remove dead skin cells and can strip away some of your body's natural and essential oils along with them, and moisturizing can protect your skin until your skin normalizes again.

If you bathe every day, also apply your moisturizer daily, and do it within a few minutes of leaving the bath or shower. Instead of briskly drying off with your towel, pat your body until the towel leaves it almost dry. Then slather on the moisturizer to capture the water that is still on your skin, keeping it hydrated for longer [source: Mayo Clinic].

For your hands and body, apply moisturizer whenever it's necessary, such as before spending time outside in the winter or after bathing or washing your hands. Washing your hands multiple times a day helps protect you from germs, but it can also make your skin dry and chapped. Extra moisturizing throughout the day may be necessary, especially during the cold months, so consider carrying a small tube of hand lotion to combat dry skin [source: Mayo Clinic].

Some out-of-the-ordinary activities can mean a switch from your usual moisturizing routine. For example, humidity in airplanes is normally pretty low, which can dry out skin more quickly than normal. Consider applying an intense moisturizer the night before your flight, especially if it will last for several hours or overnight [source: Bouchez]. Swimming also can cause natural moisture to evaporate from your skin, so drying off as soon as you get out of the water, followed by exfoliating and then moisturizing, can help your body recapture the hydration it so desperately needs.

To learn more about how often your skin needs moisturizing, visit the links on the next page.