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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What’s In Your Moisturizer?

Woman applying facial moisturizer

Jupiterimages

With so many moisturizers on the market, how do you choose the right one? The first step begins with educating yourself.

Moisturizers often work by trapping the existing moisture on your face and diminishing water evaporation from the surface of the skin.

Read the ingredients first and know your skin type. Moisturizers are frequently labeled as either water-based or oil-based. The term “oil free” is somewhat of a misnomer, because products that contain natural oils do not typically leave a residue and can be used safely on individuals with oily skin.

As a general rule, whether you have oily or dry skin, look for compounds that are noncomedogenic or non pore-clogging. There are many natural non-pore clogging oils that may be used on your face, that will moisturize your skin without leaving a slick, sticky feeling.

avocado moisturizer

BananaStock

Look for products that contain natural oils such as avocado oil or grapeseed oil. Avocado oil is a powerful antioxidant and has natural hydrating ability. Grape seed oil, another powerful antioxidant, will dry clear on your skin without a filmy residue. Grapeseed oil is also rich in vitamin E and linoleic acid which are essential oils for your skin health and nutrition.

If you have dry skin, look for natural additives that contain healthy oils such as avocado, grapeseed or almond oil. If you suffer from extremely sensitive dry skin, be aware that some anti-aging moisturizing products may contain retinoids or an alpha-hydroxy acid, which may further irritate dry, itchy skin. Make sure you are using a moisturizing formula that can bring can bring relief. You may need to consult with your physician for a prescription-based product.

For everyone else, plant-based oils are always a safe start. Eucerin cream, Cetaphil, vitamin E oil and compounds that contain hyaluronic acid will aid in rehydrating dry skin.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

1. Sunscreen additives (titanium dioxide) are a beneficial additive for most moisturizers. Use products that contain a SPF of at least 30. Eucerin Cream with a SPF 30 is a great addition to your cabinet, especially for individuals with  dry skin who spend a lot of time in the outdoors.

2. If you want to avoid chemical additives, stick with natural compounds. Avoid chemical additives that are petroleum derivatives. Petroleum derivatives come in many forms with names such as petrolatum, paraffin wax, mineral oil, benzene and unfortunately, baby oil. These compounds may feel like they are smoothing out the skin, but they leave a residue, may clog your pores, and many are potential carcinogens.

3. Moisturizer with alcohol should be avoided — especially if the percentage of alcohol is greater than three percent. Elevated concentrations of alcohol will further accelerate the drying of the skin surface. That is why many hand sensitizers will leave your hands feeling very dry, because of their high alcohol content.

4. Use mild, unscented skin care products. This will help reduce irritation and make your skin feel more comfortable.

5. While applying your moisturizer, use a pea-sized amount. You don’t need to slather on heavy amounts for the moisturizer to be more effective. Apply your moisturizer within five minutes of getting out of the shower.

Have you had trouble finding a moisturizer that works best for your skin type? Share your concerns with the Skin & Beauty Community.

Posted by: Susan Evans, MD at 1:27 pm

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