Most people who use skin-care products aren’t dermatologists and chemists, but they somehow expect you to know which ingredients will best help their skin. Moisturizers are some of the most confusing skin-care products on the market because most people don’t know that your moisturizer needs to do more than just moisturize!
The moisturizer you use in your skin-care routine needs to hydrate as well. Hydrating ingredients attract water to your skin while moisturizing ingredients lock in that water. But what are those ingredients, and how do they work? This article will review the ingredients to look for in a quality moisturizer to help you find the best product for your skin.
Humectants draw water deep from within the layers of your skin and up to the top layer, known as the epidermis. You can find these ingredients in products across the market, from lotions to shampoos and more, although skin humectants differ from hair humectants.
Hyaluronic acid is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient that consumers are looking for, and for a good reason. Despite acid being in the name, it heals the skin, regulates inflammation, and binds to water molecules to increase the amount of water concentration in your skin’s protective barrier.
Salicylic and alpha-hydroxy acids remove dead skin cells and help clear pores and follicles, so your moisturizer penetrates your skin faster and more effectively. Of course, your moisturizer doesn’t have to have both, but it should have at least one. If you’re looking to get rid of blackheads, salicylic acid is your best choice.
While humectants hydrate the skin, emollients fill in cracks between the cells with lipids. Squalane is a popular emollient to use due to its natural occurrence. Other popular emollients are petrolatum, cacao, and shea butter. However, it’s best to check the comedogenic level of your emollient if you have acne-prone skin. Comedogenic ingredients block pores and cause blackheads.
Some non-comedogenic emollients are hemp oil, argan oil, and goji-berry oil. If your skin isn’t prone to acne, you don’t have to worry too much about the type of emollient you use. However, everyone should test products on their hand before applying them to the face, just to be on the safe side.
Occlusives are the moisturizing part of your moisturizer. Occlusives will trap in the water your humectant brings to the epidermis. Interestingly enough, many emollients are also occlusives, such as lanolin, squalane, and argan oil.
Doctors and dermatologists highly regard mineral oils and silicones as fantastic ingredients that help build a strong protective seal. Also, many recommend dimethicone for those who like the thick glossy feel of their moisturizer. Some people don’t like dimethicone for this reason but to each their own.
Remember that every skin type needs moisturization. If you have dry skin, you need to build up that protective layer. If you have oily skin, skipping out on your moisturizer can cause your skin to overcompensate and produce more oil. However, now that you know what ingredients you need to look for in a moisturizer, you’re on your way to smoother, clearer, and healthier skin.