Moisturizing is the most important step for daily skin care. It keeps the skin supple, elastic, fresh and younger. Hydrated skin is plump, luminescent and elastic. Dehydrated skin is tired looking, particularly around the eyes. Such skin looks dull and lacks freshness and elasticity. We need to use moisturizers for the treatment and prevention of dry, flaky, itchy and inflamed skin.
There are many effective moisturizers in the market. Drugstores and department stores are packed with creams, moisturizers, serums and more. What makes one product different from another? How do you pick up the best one for you? It all comes down to ingredients but we hardly check the ingredients label on beauty products. Well, it can be pretty confusing to read. Different substances are packed and not all moisturizers are of same quality. And opting for most expensive bottle is the best bet.
Ingredients in moisturizers are categorized into following three categories:
Occlusive ingredients form a barrier on the epidermis restricting the escape of water vapor when the skin is exposed to dry air or wind. They trap water in skin’s uppermost layers and protectagainst moisture loss. Dimethicone, petrolatum, paraffin and lanolin are common occlusive ingredients.
Humectants attract water into skin cells causing the skin surface to swell slightly, thus temporarily making it appear smoother and wrinkle free. It is helpful for softening and hydrating scaly or thick skin. Humectants are hygroscopic substances. They absorb water from the environmentand promote water retention in the skin. Glycerin, sorbitol, sodium hyaluronate, urea, propylene glycol, alpha hydroxyl acids and sugars are humectants.
Emollients provide an ‘oily’ film over the skin surface where they trap water, allowing the stratum corneum (SC) to swell and close the cracks in the dry skin. Emollients help prevent the penetration of irritants and allergens while also improving the appearance of the skin by smoothing flaky skin cells. It fills the spaces between rough or peeling skin cells, smoothing the surface of the skin. Lanolin, mineral oil and petrolatum, are occlusive agents that also serve as emollients.
No matter your skin type or age, here are the ingredients that you should look in your moisturizers. They will help you to protect skin.
Dimethicone found in many skin care products as it helps to fill in uneven texture and fine lines creating a smooth flawless look. This is the main ingredient in oil-free moisturizers. It is a light emollient that forms a protective layer over the skin surface helping to hydrate and keep moisture in.
Petrolatum derived from petroleum commonly known as petroleum jelly is great for smoothing and protecting rough skin. It is an occlusive ingredient that prevents water loss and emollient that hydrates the rough dead cells on the skin’s surface. Oily skin may want to skip petrolatum as it may exacerbate greasy skin.
Hyaluronic acid is a must for any moisturizer, a humectant that keeps the skin hydrated by drawing water to the skin. Hyaluronic acid has the ability to plump and soften skin. A viscous gooey substance, it helps to lubricate joints and is even found in the fluid of eyeballs to maintain the shape. This acid is a humectant that hydrates by drawing water in to the outer layers from deep within the skin. It makes skin appear plumper and feel softer and smoother.
Glycerin, a humectant that works in the same way as hyaluronic acid consists of sugar and fat. It is a sweet tasting lipid that is actually found in all fats. It absorbs and retains waterkeeping skin smooth and hydrated. It attracts water from the environment and from lower layers of skin adding the moisture to the surface layers of skin.
Alpha Hydroxy Acidsmakes your skin smoother by increasing exfoliation and skin cell turnover. They are beneficial if you want even-toned andsmooth facial skin. Its examples are glycolic acid and lactic acid. Salicylic acid, a form of beta hydroxy acid, keeps your pores clear.
Retinol is one of the best anti-aging ingredients available in over-the-counter facial moisturizers. Look for it if you wish to minimize the appearance of aging in your skin. It also reduces wrinkles.
Most of all are ensured that the daytime moisturizer contains sunscreen. The sun’s damaging rays can cause skin discoloration and wrinkles, even on non-sunny days. Pick a moisturizer with a minimum SPF rating of 15. Some of the examples of sunscreen ingredients are titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and oxybenzone.
Select the moisturizer based on personal factors such as smell, consistency, effectiveness and price. Both oil and water based products can be effective but the one you choose depends on personal preference. Oil based tends to get greasier but have the capacity to stay on the skin better. Water based moisturizer feel better on the skin but do not stay well. Make sure to double check the label before making your next skincare purchase!