There are a number of moisturizers on the market today, but which one should you choose? First, what should a moisturizer do for the skin? A moisturizer should be hydrating (replenish water in the skin), it should act as a humectant (to prevent the skin from losing water), as well as prevent dryness (restores lipids in the skin). A good moisturizer should have the following qualities: (1) it should be water soluble to prevent the skin from losing water, (2) it should restore moisture, and (3) soften the skin. All moisturizers are not created equal, so read your product labels carefully.
Consumers are also confused by the terms “dry” and “dehydrated” in relationship to the skin. Dry skin lacks lipids and can lead to dehydration. Lipids act as a protective barrier for the skin and if lipids are reduced, it can lead to water evaporation. Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is skin that has a lack of water. Look for a moisturizer that will help to restore lipid production and moisture.
It is also important to change your moisturizer by season. For the fall and winter, choose a moisturizer that is more emollient to protect the skin from dry, cold weather. For the spring and summer, choose a moisturizer with hydrating serums to reduce water loss and act as an antioxidant from the sun’s damaging rays. Avoid moisturizers that have alcohol.
Moisturizers for the day should all have an SPF of no lower than 15 for the winter and 30 for the spring and summer. Night time moisturizers should be emollient to help restore hydration in the skin while you sleep.
Jurist, C. (2012). Dermascope, “Understanding moisturizers”, pp. 48-53.