Moisturizers can make a world of difference. Contrary to popular belief, don’t actually add moisturize. Instead, they attract and trap existing water in the skin. A good moisturizer contains humectants, ceramides, and/or emollients that lock water in the outer layer of skin, giving any damaged cells a chance to repair. You skin type and the degree of dryness determines what type of hydrator you will best benefit from.
1. Humectants (a.k.a. the Moisture Absorbers)
What They Do: These draw water to the skin cells to keep the skin hydrated.
Key Ingredients: Glycerin, lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, and alphahydroxy acid (AHAs)
Works Better For: Dry, thick skin in climates that are very humid. They act as a good first layer of moisture and are suitable for all skin tyoes including oil, combination, and acne prone skin because they’re void of heavier oils.
2. Ceramides (a.k.a. the Skin ‘Glue’)
What They Do: Naturally found in the skin, damaged or depleted cermaides levels show up as dry, damaged skin. By replenishing the skin with lost ceramides, it is better able to retain moisture.
Key Ingredients: Ceramides
Works Better For: Normal and combination skin types, minimal dryness and those with eczema.
- SkinMedica TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream
- Celfix DNA Ceramide Renewal Nourishing Cream
3. Emollients (a.k.a. the Space Fillers)
What They Do: Emollients fill in any spaces or gaps between skin cells that are missing moisturizing lipids. Usually oil-based, although they can be water-based, toom as an emollient fills the space, skin becomes smoother and better hydrated.
Key Ingredients: Lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum
Works Better For: Extremely dry, dehydrated mature skin that needs serious moisture.
4. Occlusives (a.k.a. the Moisture Sealer)
What They Do: Designed to increase the water content of the skin by slowing the evaporation of water from the surface of the skin. Occulsive agents are heavy in nature and are most effective when applied to damp skin.
Key Ingredients: Rose hip, avocado and hazelnut oils
Works Better For: More mature, dehydrated skin that’s void of an environment with any humidity. If your skin is reactive or blemish prone, it’s best to stay away from occulsive moisturizers.
What is your favorite go-to moisturizer?