By Gary Goldfaden MD – Dermatologist
Whether your skin type is oily, normal, sensitive, combination or dry, moisturizing should be a regular part of your daily skin care regimen, all year round. Everyone needs a moisturizer, but different skin types require different types of products.
For Dry and Sensitive Skin:
The most important thing to consider when picking a good moisturizer for dry skin is the degree of dryness. Generally speaking, there are only a few basic types of moisturizers to choose from: gel, lotion or cream. The heavier and denser a moisturizer is, the more moisturizing elements it contains. Gel is the lightest preparation, followed by lotion, with cream providing the heaviest dose of moisture. If your skin happens to be only slightly dry, a lightweight gel that’s water-based can sometimes get the job done. If your skin is somewhat drier and loses moisture more quickly, you may require a lotion that supplies a heavier dose of moisturizing ingredients. If your skin is extremely dry, however, you might need to use an oil-based cream or ointment. These are highly recommended for very dry skin as they’re thick and coat your skin surface, trapping moisture in. However, caution must be used if your skin is acne-prone.
For Normal or Combination Skin:
Women with normal skin, or those with combination skin who have an oily “T-zone” (the forehead, nose and chin areas) may want to start with a gel-type moisturizer. This will provide added moisture without a greasy or heavy feeling. It’s also an excellent choice for any skin type as a daytime moisturizer under makeup.
Women who have more mature skin should generally opt for a moisturizing cream, since older skin needs the most moisture. This is especially true during the winter months when the drier, colder air can really draw the moisture from your skin. Women who live in more arid regions, such as the Southwest, need to be particularly careful about keeping their skin moist, as the atmosphere there doesn’t contain a lot of ambient moisture. Also, if you’re concerned about older skin, you should look for a nighttime moisturizer that contains active ingredients such as Vitamin A or Collagen. Retinols like Vitamin A and its analogues are extremely proficient at accelerating exfoliation and minimizing sun damage to help prevent and visibly lessen the appearance of age spots and wrinkles.
For Oily Skin:
If you have oily skin, instead of avoiding moisturizers altogether, you should select one that’s “water-based.” Water-based moisturizing formulas are the most common type found on the market today. These moisturizers list water as their chief ingredient and often include such active constituents as Hyaluronic Acid to help improve their water-binding properties. This type of moisturizer often comes in a lightweight gel and may be labeled “non-pore clogging,” “oil-free” or “noncomedogenic.”
Ultimately, choosing a moisturizer is a very personalized matter that’s based on your skin’s unique requirements. What works for you may be totally inappropriate for another person. It’s possible that in your efforts to find the proper moisturizer, you’ll try a number of different products before you succeed, but the rewards are certainly worth the effort.
Moisturizing Tips from Dr. Goldfaden:
- To obtain optimum results from your skin care routine, I suggest using a day moisturizer and a night moisturizer.
- The best time to moisturize is right after your bath or shower when your skin is still slightly damp.
- Instead of rubbing dry after washing, pat your skin dry and then apply your moisturizer to a clean face with clean hands.