No matter what type of skin you have (dry, oily, combination, sensitive) using a moisturizer is a must. Your skin is your heaviest and largest organ and it’s the main physical barrier that protects your body from the outside world. If your skin is too dry or dehydrated it can become itchy, inflamed and scaly, which makes skin conditions like acne much worse.
But....finding a moisturizer for your face is easier said than done. Walk into any skincare aisle and you’ll instantly be bombarded with hundreds of options! How do you ever decide which moisturizer is right for you? Well, we’re here to help! Read on to learn how to choose the right moisturizer for your skin type.
If you have dry skin, look for thicker formulas that contain both humectants to draw moisture to the skin and occlusive agents to form a protective layer and lock that moisture in. Common humectants are hyaluronic acid, urea, glycerin, sodium PCA, alpha-hydroxy acids, and amino acids, while occlusive agents are usually fatty acids and plant oils like shea butter, cocoa butter, linoleic acid, oleic acid, and primrose oil. If you don’t love the feel of a heavier formulation, use a lighter moisturizer with SPF during the day and a heavier formula at night.
Oily or acne-prone skin
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, choose a light-weight moisturizer that is oil-free and labeled as non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic, which means it won’t clog pores. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid are great for adding moisture without the extra shine. If you are currently using an acne treatment, find a formulation free of exfoliating agents like alpha hydroxy acids, retinol, and salicylic acid, which can further dry and irritate the skin. Also, acne-inflamed skin tends to be sensitive so look for moisturizers that are labeled as hypoallergenic or fragrance-free.
If you have combination skin, meaning you are oily in your T-zone (forehead and nose), but dry in other areas like your cheeks and chin, then we suggest using two different moisturizers. Apply a thicker moisturizer to dry areas and a lighter, oil-free formulation to your T-zone.
If you have sensitive skin, look for hypoallergenic formulations with minimal ingredients that are free of common sensitizing agents like natural and synthetic fragrances. Anti-inflammatory moisturizers with soothing ingredients like oats, rice, and jojoba oil can help calm irritated skin.
If you have normal skin, which generally means your skin is neither very dry nor very oily, then we suggest changing your moisturizer with the season. When it’s really dry and cold outside, us a thicker moisturizer to lock in hydration. Then switch to a lighter, oil-free moisturizer during the hot and humid months.
No matter what your skin type is, always look for other important ingredients like SPF (stick to zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for sensitive skin), ceramides, and antioxidants in your moisturizer. Also, other factors like texture, scent, how long it takes the moisturizer to rub in, and how it makes your skin look are important to consider when finding a moisturizer. If you're not comfortable wearing the moisturizer, then the odds are that you're not going use it.