With so many products on the market, it's hard to know what to choose in order to get the best results for the best price. What you should know is that most moisturizers contain a number of basic ingredients to do the job. Check the label for the following:
- Water is often the main ingredient in moisturizers, which the skin absorbs and other ingredients retain.
- Occlusives block the evaporation of water from the moisturizer itself or washing.
- Humectants absorb water from the air and hold the moisture in the skin. Some humectants are urea, glycerin and alpha hydroxy acids.
- Emollients fill in the spaces between the cells and the skin. They smooth and lubricate rough skin. Lanolin, mineral oil and petrolatum are typical emollients. Water-based creams such as Vanicream and Cetaphil are primarily water and have a light, non-greasy feel. They're easy to apply, but don't last long. Oil-based creams such as Eucerin leave a slight residue on the skin and have more staying power.
- Soothing agents are added to moisturizers to prevent skin from becoming irritated by other ingredients. Aloe, bisabolol and licorice root help prevent irritation.
- Fragrances give moisturizers a pleasant smell and cover up the odors of the other ingredients. They may, however cause skin to become irritated.
- Preservatives are a key ingredient in products containing oil and water, because they prevent bacterial contamination after opening. Many moisturizers contain multiple preservatives, and they too may cause irritation or allergic reactions.
To enhance the qualities of a moisturizer or face cream, manufacturers often add other ingredients, including vitamins and antioxidants that claim to solve other skin issues such as stretch marks, wrinkles and dead skin. However, the quantity of these ingredients is usually too small to be effective [source: Lynde].
If exotic ingredients are not essential for effective face moisturizing, should you choose a product just based on price, or are there other factors to consider?