right moisturizer

Choosing The Right Moisturizer: A Detailed Guide

Choosing the right moisturizer for your skin is one hell of a journey most of the time. I remember when I first started my own light daily moisturizing routine by Neutrogena City Shield and I was convinced that I didn’t need anything else because my skin wasn’t really dry and I didn’t need anything else.

And don’t get me wrong, I really liked my light moisturizer and stuck to that for a while, but then I turned 26 and discovered that my skin needed more in order to speed up the cell turnover on my skin.

So, the fundamental question is “How to choose the right moisturizer?” Let’s start with how a moisturizer works and why every skin type needs it. Moisturizing is an absolute necessity and indeed, any type of skin reacts to a lack of moisture one way or another. 

The right moisturizer = Skincare mystery solved

For example, dry skin experiences discomfort and tightness, flaking appears. Oily skin can simultaneously suffer from oily sheen, clogged pores, inflammation on the one hand, and dehydration, (and yes, oily and hydrated aren’t the same) which only exacerbates the situation, on the other hand, to make the matters worse. 

Combination skin often reacts to a lack of moisture with an oily sheen in the T-zone and flaking in the cheeks and nasolabial folds. Normal skin loses its natural radiance, the complexion becomes dull, the tone is uneven, and an unpleasant sensation of dryness may be experienced. 

It is important to take these skin needs into account before finally choosing the right moisturizer.

Why do you need to moisturize your skin?

You need to moisturize your skin to provide it with a moisture balance – if it is too dry, it has lost most of it, if it is oily, again, it produces more oil because it doesn’t get enough hydration.

The moisture of the skin is what keeps it young and fresh – it is what protects the skin from the outer world, dirt, bacteria. Moisturizing your face daily forms a kind of a shield to protect your skin.

Here are other reasons why you need to moisturize your skin:

  • Moisturizing daily helps you fight wrinkles and fine lines;
  • It helps balance your skin’s natural oil production;
  • It accelerates cell turnover of the skin, replaces old skin cells
  • Moisturizing strenghtens the skin barrier which protects the skin from outer toxins, environmental damage

Skin without moisture tends to age faster, the best way to prevent it is moisturizing daily.

What are the best ingredients in a moisturizer you should look for?

right moisturizer
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I have made a quick list for ya with the best ingredients in a moisturizer. So, next time you shop for one, look for these:

#1. Glycerin

Glycerin has gained wide popularity for many years among other ingredients. Its main task is to moisturize the skin. What glycerin basically does is keep the skin hydrated by drawing in water from the lower layers of the skin and the air.

Since glycerin is intensely hygroscopic, (meaning that it absorbs water effectively) it is an essential ingredient to retain the moisture on the skin. It forms a layer that attracts water to the skin surface and sort of opens waterways to deeper layers of the skin.

Glycerin is similar in its effect to another important ingredient – hyaluronic acid.

#2. Hyaluronic acid

Did you know that the human skin contains about 50% of all hyaluronic acid in the body? They started talking about hyaluronic acid at the end of the last century when the first “beauty injections” with ingredients based on this substance appeared.

The result of it is an incredible anti-aging and refreshing effect. Today, lucky for us, you can achieve it without going into the beautician’s office. After 25 years, our own reserves of hyaluronic acid begin to gradually decline, it is produced more and more slowly.

Due to the lack of life-giving moisture, the skin, like all other organs, begins to age. Hyaluronic acid is basically “blessed” with the ability to attract and retain water. It provides elasticity and strengthening of the skin overall.

#3. Panthenol

Panthenol can be found in many skincare products, such as lotions and cleansers. This ingredient has anti-inflammatory properties and is great for enhancing skin elasticity. It is effective for locking in moisture very well, it can be used against skin irritation as well. 

#4. Petrolatum

You know this one under a different name – Vaseline. It is great for helping seal your skin with a water-protective barrier. Petrolatum helps your skin heal and retain moisture. It is a superhero name for extremely dry, almost flaky skin that you can find in most skincare products.

It is the very essential moisturizer that you can obtain over the counter. In fact, I encourage you to make this little experiment: Apply a thin layer of Vaseline on your face 15 minutes before going outside (even on a very cold day), when you return home, you will not notice any redness, flaking, and cracking on your face – your face will be fresh and hydrated. It is a must-have for dry, flaky skin types. 

#5. Oils

Shea, coconut, jojoba, avocado oils have lipid-replenishing properties and prevent moisture from evaporating on the skin.

More about lipids: What are Lipids and 5 Promising Reasons Why Your Skin can’t Survive Without Them

#6. Antioxidants

Antioxidants like Vitamins E and C, green tea extract, allantoin, coenzyme Q10 all slow down oxidation processes, protecting cells from free radicals, and the skin from premature aging. These antioxidants are a must in your moisturizing routine since they give it a considerable boost.

#7. SPF

Always, and I mean, always try to get a moisturizing product with an SPF when choosing the right moisturizer. Whether it is a scorching hot day outside or a drizzly type of weather, you need to protect your skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays of the sun.

Now, let’s talk about how to choose the right skincare products for your skin: When looking for a daytime moisturizer, first pay attention to the texture.

Dense oily balms will not work if you constantly use foundation – such formulas help the foundation roll-off, and even without makeup, you will experience discomfort from too dense texture.

Rich textures are good for an evening skincare routine. They usually contain maximum concentrations of active substances: oils, antioxidants, vitamin C, retinol. At night, skin metabolism accelerates, which means that the skin absorbs valuable ingredients much better.

How to choose the right moisturizer for different skin types

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How to choose the right moisturizer for oily skin

The first thing you have to know is that every skin needs a moisturizer. A common misconception is that oily skin has enough hydration and doesn’t need any moisture. That is the worst thing to do to your oily skin! Because oily isn’t equal to hydrated.

What oil does on the skin is simply protect it from external pollutants. The oil-producing glands (sebaceous glands) are super important, because they make our skin soft, smooth, and they help moisture to get “locked” in the skin. But this doesn’t mean that they provide moisture, your skin can be oily and dehydrated at the same time. Interesting, right?

So, if oily skin doesn’t get enough hydration, it will overcompensate for the lacking moisture and will produce even more oil, which will definitely make the matters worse. This is exactly why you need to regularly moisturize your oily skin. 

The right moisturizer for oily skin is the type that has more hydrating ingredients. Use light creams and lotions that contain salicylic acid, glycerine, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, and aloe. Water-based gels would be perfect to start with. Also, if you have acne-prone skin, stick to non-comedogenic moisturizers that won’t clog your pores. A moisturizer with Niacinamide would be another great option to control the oily sheen that most of us with oily skin struggle with.

How to choose the right moisturizer for dry skin

Contrary to what you have heard about oily skin, for dry skin you will need to use products with a much thicker consistency. Dry skin craves moisture the most due to its constant loss. The best ingredients to look for in the right moisturizer:

  • ceramides;
  • shea butter;
  • Vitamin E;
  • lanolin;
  • Petrolatum, aka Vaseline
  • hyaluronic acid.

You can also look for natural ingredients such as rosehip oil, blackcurrant oil which are potent antioxidantsCeramide creams, in particular, have proven to be most effective on dry skin. Don’t forget to boost your anti-aging routine with peptides, for example, as dry skin tends to sadly, age faster. Peptides aren’t exactly the cheapest ingredient out there but trust me, they are totally worth it.

How to choose the right moisturizer for sensitive skin

When it comes to choosing the right moisturizer for sensitive skin, it is best to choose products with fewer ingredients to avoid any risks. Basically, the lesser the number of ingredients is, the better the results.

Sensitive skin has a weak skin barrier, meaning that you need to moisturize so you can strengthen this barrier. Plus, it experiences redness, itchiness, pimples, dry patches constantly. You need to calm down these symptoms by hydrating the skin with the right moisturizer.

Choosing the right moisturizer for sensitive skin can seem tricky at first, but it shouldn’t. If you have skin on the sensitive side, use hypoallergenic and fragrance-free moisturizers.

Avoid alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, retinoic acid, and salicylic acid if you have dry or sensitive skin. These ingredients may have troubling effects on sensitive skin. Stay away from products containing alcohol as well. Use moisturizers with skin-soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, oatmeal, chamomile extract, calendula, panthenol, Centella Asiatica.

How to choose right moisturizer for normal/combination skin

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Having normal skin indicates a rather balanced type of skin. Usually, the T-zone, nose, and chin might experience some oiliness, but sebum (oil) production is at a normal ratio.

So, while picking products for this kind of skin, try to find an oil-free formula that would be not too greasy or heavy on your skin. Some people with combination skin prefer using two moisturizers, for instance, you can use a cream with heavier consistency for dry areas such as cheeks, jawline.

In oily areas use a lighter one, preferably a water-based one to balance it out. Choosing the right moisturizer will take a bit of trial and error, but you will eventually get there.

Final thoughts

While choosing the right moisturizer for skin is no rocket science, it does bring its own challenges. Our face is the most vulnerable part of our body and it needs constant care.

Moisturizing daily should be a part of every skincare routine. It replenishes the skin, helps fight off environmental damage, smoothes out wrinkles, and gives the skin a healthy glow. Choosing the right moisturizer that agrees with your skin can be a starting point for your skincare routine. Think of it as your skincare ritual really, your skin needs it!

Make sure you properly moisturize your face and body and avoid common skincare mistakes (check out our blog post!) along the way.

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