It's great that you have a daily cleansing ritual for your face. Not only does that routine keep dirt away, it rids your skin of dead cells so that the vibrant, healthy new cells can shine. Unfortunately it also removes the hydration your skin so desperately needs. That's why dermatologists recommend using a moisturizer as part of your skin care regimen. But with thousands lining the shelves, which one should you choose?
Since each face is different, it's important to understand what kind of skin you have. Consider the following categories: dry or oily, pigmented or nonpigmented, wrinkled or tight, sensitive or resistant. Lotions are often labeled so you can easily match your skin type to the most effective product. A person with dry skin might want a lotion containing oil-based products while a water-based moisturizer would make more sense for someone with normal to dry skin.
Regardless of your skin type, don't fall into the "you get what you pay for" trap. If that were true in the skin care business, then some of the products would guarantee you supermodel status. Moisturizers are classified as cosmetics, which means the Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate them very closely. Look at the ingredients rather than the price tag and marketing jargon. Noncomodogenic (non-clogging) options are best for people with oily skin. If you have sensitive skin, it's important to look for the words "fragrance free" or "oil-free." The generic versions will likely work as well as the pricey products.
Keep in mind that what's good for your face in the summer isn't the same as what's best for your skin in the winter. Heavy moisturizers can bring on breakouts as a result of increased sweating in the warmer months. The chill of winter has a tendency to dry skin, which may require a richer moisturizer. Monitor how your skin is behaving and check the calendar.
Certain nonprescription additives may be of some benefit. Dermatologists suggest that antioxidants and vitamins can help maintain your skin's elasticity. Vitamin A has been linked with short-term wrinkle reduction. Soy compounds are associated with the growth of collagen fibers. There are indications that the synthetic hydroxy acids in some moisturizers not only exfoliate your skin but also stimulate cell growth.
And finally, as you search out that ideal moisturizer, think not only about preservation but protection. A daily moisturizer with a sunscreen additive can keep your face vibrant while blocking harmful wrinkle-causing UV rays. Look for a moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15. If you're going to be in the sun for more than two hours, make sure to reapply sunscreen – the moisturizer alone won't do the job at that point.
Navigating the cosmetics aisle can be a challenging task but with a little know-how and a realistic approach you'll soon have the best moisturizing products in your cabinet.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Cosmeceutical Facts & Your Skin." Revised 2004. (Aug. 4, 2009)http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/general_cosmeceutical.html
- Bank, David E. and Sobel, Estelle. "Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age." Adams Media. 2000. (Aug. 4, 2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=d55QnU46PtsC&dq=selecting+a+moisturizer&source=gbs_navlinks_s
- Dermatology Nursing. "Moisturizers Do More Than Just Soften Skin." October 2006.
- Mayo Clinic. "Moisturizers 101: The basics of softer skin." Dec. 16, 2008. (Aug. 4, 2009)http://mayoclinic.com/health/moisturizers/SN00042
- Mayo Clinic. "Wrinkle creams: Your guide to younger looking skin." Oct. 11, 2008. (Aug. 4, 2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/wrinkle-creams/SN00010