Think you don't need a moisturizer? Or that you know all the ins and outs of hydrating your skin? Surveys show that moisturizer is widely underused among dermatology patients, possibly due to a lack of information about the products [Medscape]. So before you give yourself a gold star for your moisturizing know-how and techniques, read on to find out if you're making one of these common moisturizing mistakes.
You don't use a moisturizer.
A moisturized face prepares your skin to tolerate potentially irritating products, says Deirdre Hooper, MD, dermatologist at Audubon Dermatology in New Orleans. "Plus, a moist face is softer, more light-reflective, and more youthful."
Some people think they don't need moisturizer, especially if they have oily skin, and that's not true, says Valerie Golburt, MD, PhD, Advanced Dermatology and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery. When skin, even oily skin, dries out, your skin signals the body to produce more oil and moisture. And since oily skin most often occurs in the t-zone (the forehead, nose and chin), the skin on your cheeks may become dry and flaky. All adults need to use a moisturizer, she says, and should look for ones with SPF 15 or higher. And if you forget to apply your moisturizer one day, use it the next day or use olive oil on your face as a quick replacement, suggests Dr. Goldburt. [source: Dr. Goldburt]
You rub moisturizers in harshly.
Applying moisturizer is an art according to some dermatologists. You have to be careful and not just rub moisturizer all over your face, says Dr. Goldburt. "I recommend applying lotion to the eyelids with the fourth finger, since it's the weakest finger, and you'll do it softer. The eyelid skin is a lot thinner than the skin on the rest of the face. That goes for cleansing in that area as well," she says. You're better off cleansing and moisturizing gently, never scrubbing, so your skin remains healthy, soft, and radiant. [source: Dr. Goldburt]
You're choosing the wrong ingredient(s) for your skin type.
Understand your skin type, which may require a discussion with your dermatologist, suggests Dr. Hooper. It's easy to be swayed by marketing and packaging that promises perfect skin for all types, but your skin type determines the ingredients in your moisturizer. For example, someone with sensitive skin will want to avoid fragrances. And while someone with dry skin will want an occlusive moisturizer with oil-rich ingredients like petroleum, someone with oily skin will want to avoid those same products. Consult with your derm to get a better understanding of your skin type, follow your doc's recommendations for best products to use, and be prepared for some trial and error, says Dr. Hooper. [Dr. Hooper] Follow the guides below for help with your moisturizing your routine.
You're overloading on products.
You might use a cleanser in the morning, then use a toner, then apply a moisturizing lotion with SPF, followed by a liquid foundation with SPF and anti-aging benefits. Chances are, you don't need all of those products. Find multi-tasking products that moisturize as well as provide anti-aging or anti-acne effects that your skin needs, suggests Dr. Hooper. If you wear makeup, you might want to experiment with BB creams (beauty or blemish creams), which can hydrate skin, even out skin tones, treat the skin with anti-aging ingredients or antioxidants or other anti-aging ingredients, and provide broad-spectrum SPF. [souce: Allure.com]
You're using the same moisturizer since high school.
Brand loyalty may not help your complexion. Several changes in your body can change the effectiveness of the moisturizer you use. Whether it's hormones, diet, age, or climate—all can affect the moisturizer you need, says Dr. Hooper. Talk with your dermatologist about any physical changes in your body, diet, or lifestyle at your yearly checkup to find out if they recommend swapping moisturizers. [Dr. Hooper]
And remember to be on the lookout for changes in smell, color, and texture in your moisturizer as that's a sign the components in it have changed and it may have expired, says Dr. Goldburt. A good rule of thumb is to replace your bottle within a year of opening it to ensure you're using moisturizer that hasn't expired. [Dr. Goldburt]
You use moisturizer to reduce eye puffiness.
You might rely on eye cream in the morning to reduce eye puffiness, but it could be causing your eyes to look even more swollen. It might sound counterintuitive, but hydrating ingredients can hold water in the skin, so moisturizers and eye creams may make your eyes look even puffier. Apply a cold compress or an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes if the skin around your eyes is puffy but not red, irritated, or itchy. Instead, try a lightweight gel that contains caffeine, which has anti-inflammatory benefits. And if your eye area is itchy, puffy, red, or irritated, see your dermatologist as you may be having an allergic reaction. [source: RealSimple.com]
You apply foundation without giving moisturizer time to dry.
When you're running short on time in the morning, you might slap on moisturizer and then quickly apply foundation and the rest of your makeup—you've got your routine down to 10 minutes and you look pretty good, right? The problem with that speedy process is that moisturizer's creaminess can cause makeup to thin out if it hasn't had enough time to soak into your skin. The result can be blotchy skin and a lack of coverage from your foundation. The fix just requires a bit of patient. Give moisturizer a minute to be absorbed, or, if you're really hustling that morning, blot your face with a tissue after moisturizing, then apply foundation. [source: RealSimple.com]
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- Deirdre O'Boyle Hooper, MD, Personal correspondence, Oct 1, 2013
- Valerie Goldburt,MD, personal correspondence, October 2, 2013.
- Abramson, Stephanie. RealSimple.com. "How to Correct 8 Common Beauty Mistakes.http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/makeovers-tips/how-to-correct-8-common-beauty-mistakes-10000001587809/index.html
- Siegel, Elizabeth. Allure.com. "The 8 Best Multitasking BB Creams." http://www.allure.com/beauty-products/skin/2012/bb-cream#slide=1