Moisturizer 101

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've been focusing on winter dryness. My skin has been feeling extra dry lately, so it's time to step it up - welcome to Moisturizer 101!

Who needs to moisturize? You do! Moisturizers enhance hydration in the skin, preventing dryness, flakiness, redness, itching, and even reducing the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles. Every skin type requires a moisturizer - they help to reinforce our skin barrier, keeping our skin healthy & strong. Different skin types produce different amounts of oil, and therefore have different requirements for moisturizing. I.E, if you have dry skin, you will want a heavier moisturizer whereas someone with oilier skin would want a lighter product. Are all moisturizers the same? No. There are three distinct categories of moisturizers: humectants, occlusives and emollients.

  • Humectants attract water molecules, aiming to move them from the air & place on the skin's surface. There's a catch: humectants draw water from wherever there's more of it to wherever there's less of it. If the humidity in the air around us is low (dry air, like in winter), humectants can actually draw out the water from our skin rather than our environment, leaving us with drier skin. When using a product with humectants, make sure that you're applying a heavier product on top (like an occlusive!) to lock the moisture in. Or, get a humidifier to help your humectants work better. Common humectants in skin care: hyaluronic acid, allantoin, honey, & aloe vera.

  • Occlusives are moisturizing ingredients that create a physical barrier on the skin to prevent water loss. They are most effective when applied onto damp skin, helping to lock the moisture in. Common occlusive ingredients are petroleum jelly, beeswax, and oils such as argan, jojoba, coconut or olive. Have you heard of "slugging" in skin care? That's making use of occlusive ingredients!

  • Emollients soothe & soften the skin by helping to repair the skin barrier. Made up of butters, lipids & fatty acids, "emollients" is a broad term, categorized into ointments, creams, lotions & gels. Ointments are the most hydrating but also the heaviest; gels are the least hydrating but the lightest & tend to be the preferred choice for those with oily skin. Some emollients can also be occlusive, such as petroleum. Other examples of emollients in skin care are ceramides, shea & cocoa butter, triglycerides and lanolin.

Can you over-moisturize? Yes! Excessive moisturizing could result in clogged pores or breakouts, & it could even signal our oil cells to produce less oil - which we don't want. They key here is to find the right moisturizer for your skin type & listen to your skin. Oilier skin types may not need to moisturize twice a day & may prefer lightweight emollients such as gels. Drier skin types may want to use heavier products, such as occlusives - or even layer multiple hydrating products. How do I find the right moisturizer for my skin? I recommend looking for a brand you trust & then reading a lot of reviews. Most people list their skin type, so you can get an idea of how that moisturizer might work for your skin specifically. Additionally, look for keywords. A cream is typically heavier than a lotion or gel, making it a better option for those with drier skin. Or, cut to the chase and work with a professional. Did you know I offer a skin care concierge service? Think: a personal shopper for your skin.

Any other moisturizing q's? Shoot me a message - I'm here to help.

xx Vanessa

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