Choosing the right moisturizer can feel overwhelming when there are so many different options out there. If you find yourself stuck in the skincare aisle, the best way to decide on a moisturizer is to read the ingredients. Here is a guide to what you should look for when choosing a moisturizer.
Everyone can benefit from using moisturizer, whether you have dry or oily skin.
For people with dry skin, a good moisturizer can help you get rid of cracks and flakes.
And though people with oily skin may tend to avoid moisturizers, this can actually backfire. Because if you don't use a moisturizer, your skin will try to overcompensate for missing moisture by producing even more oil.
"Throughout the day, our skin loses moisture," says Melissa Johnson, MD, a plastic surgeon who specializes in skincare. Moisturizer, as its name implies, will help replenish this moisture and keep your skin hydrated.
"Furthermore, as we age, we lose oil-producing glands in the skin," Johnson says. This can leave skin dried out and more prone to damage. Moisturizers help reverse this process by locking in water and replenishing your skin's protective barrier.
Most moisturizers contain three types of ingredients, each with a different function. They are:
Many moisturizers contain all three types of ingredients, with the exception of certain facial moisturizers. Many facial moisturizers may have fewer heavy occlusive ingredients that can clog pores, compared with lotions meant for the thick skin on elbows or feet.
Here are some of the best moisturizing ingredients to look for:
Hyaluronic acid is another humectant ingredient found in many moisturizers, but is also naturally produced by your skin to help retain water. However, as you age, you start to lose the hyaluronic acid in your skin, making skin more likely to dry out. This means that older people may want to look for moisturizers with hyaluronic acid as a main ingredient.
Hyaluronic also decreases when your skin is exposed to the UV radiation in sunlight over long periods of time. So if you spend a lot of time outdoors, applying moisturizers with hyaluronic acid is particularly important.
It is an important ingredient in any moisturizer, as it can help restore your skin's natural ability to hold moisture and appear soft, even as you age.
Shea butter is another natural ingredient that comes from the seeds of shea trees. It's an emollient and works to smooth out your skin and keep moisture contained. By filling in cracks in your skin, emollients like shea butter can help heal a damaged skin barrier and hide imperfections to make your skin look younger.
Shea butter also helps soothe inflammatory symptoms like redness or swelling by slowing down the production of inflammatory cells. However, if you are struggling with acne, you may want to avoid using shea butter on your face, as it can clog pores.
Hydrolyzed collagen is beneficial to skin health in general. With the ability to retain moisture, it makes a good hydrating ingredient for those with dry skin and is a safe ingredient to use. Furthermore, collagen is very useful in improving the texture and consistency of products for a better skin care experience.
It also has the ability to penetrate through the epidermis and assist in collagen production.
Dr. Johnson recommends a great moisturizer that contains some of the most effective ingredients. “I love Bioxelan" Johnson says, adding that it combines both shea butter and hyaluronic acid, as well as hydrolyzed collagen. "It really works well with moisturizing the skin and it does help against anti-aging processes, I’ve seen it on my patients that use Bioxelan," Johnson says.