Knubbly tweed, snakeskin, cracked leather -- if you think these words describe the condition of your skin more than the composition of a favorite handbag, then you might need to start moisturizing. Even if your skin type tends to be normal to oily, using a high-quality moisturizer on a regular basis can be the key to improving the way your skin looks and feels.
Moisturizing products, which are made to hold water in the skin, often contain humectants and emollients as ingredients. Humectants, such as urea, glycerin and alpha hydroxy acids, work by absorbing water from the air around you. Emollients, such as lanolin, mineral oil or petrolatum, fill in spaces between skin cells to smooth the appearance of rough skin [source: Mayo Clinic]. Look for these ingredients in more than just lotions and creams -- cleansing bars, body washes and even deodorants can contain ingredients that moisturize your skin [source: Bruno].
No matter whether your skin type is dry, oily or sensitive, you shouldn't skip the moisturizing step in your skin care routine. Leaving it out might quickly cause redness or flaking, and in time it can allow wrinkles and other aging signs to show up on your skin earlier than they otherwise might. Also, if you have sensitive skin or a skin condition, moisturizing regularly might help ease some of the irritation.
To get the most out of your moisturizer, first prime your skin. While in the shower, use a loofah or an exfoliating body scrub a few times a week to exfoliate. Removing dead skin cells before adding a moisturizing lotion or cream may help your skin absorb the product and increase hydration [source: Bruno]. Then, within three minutes of getting out of the bath or shower, apply lotion to trap the moisture on your skin. By adding this step to your regular routine, you can ditch dry, itchy skin for good.
To ensure your facial skin stays blemish-free, look for moisturizers that are oil-free and noncomedogenic, or designed not to clog pores. Even if you struggle with breakouts, you should still use a moisturizer. In fact, applying a moisturizing lotion immediately after a topical acne medication can help to reduce dryness and irritation caused by the medicine. If the medicine is causing itching or stinging, however, then you might try applying the moisturizer first [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
Keep reading to find more articles explaining the importance of moisturizing regularly.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Psst …Topical Acne Medication Can Clear Acne." (Accessed Sept, 7, 2009)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/article_topical_acne_medication.html
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Dermatologists' Top 10 Tips for Relieving Dry Skin." (Accessed Sept, 7, 2009)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/winter_skin.html
- Bruno, Karen. "Women's Skin Care for a Soft Body." WebMD. Aug. 6, 2009. (Accessed Sept, 7, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/advances-skin-care-9/moisturizer-toning-cream
- Davis, Susan. "10 Winter Skin Care Tips." WebMD. Dec. 21, 2007. (Accessed Sept, 7, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/ten-winter-skin-care-tips
- Mayo Clinic. "Moisturizers: Options for softer skin." Dec. 16, 2008. (Accessed Sept, 7, 2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/moisturizers/SN00042