Choosing the Right Moisturizer for Your Skin

Each year we age, we start losing our natural moisture which affects the elasticity of our skin. Wearing moisturizer daily is an easy way to take care of your skin and help it retain its youthful glow.

If you’ve ever glanced at the ingredient list on the back of a moisturizer it might seem like you need an advanced degree in science to even read it.This guide will give you some tips on selecting a moisturizer suitable for your skin.

The 5 Main Skin Types

You can’t select a moisturizer until you figure out what skin type you fall under. The American Academy of Dermatology classifies skin into five different categories: normal, oily, dry, combination and sensitive.

Normal skin is neither too dry or too oily. It is the goldilocks of skin types… just right. This skin type generally does not struggle with excessive acne breakouts.

Dry skin has a lack of sebum (natural skin oil) production. It often feels tight and may show signs of flakiness and premature wrinkling.

Oily skin produces too much sebum. Pores are larger to accommodate the excessive oil production which also leads to blemishes and acne.

Combination skin means some areas of the face are very dry, whereas others are quite oily.

Sensitive skin is very delicate and may react with a rash or flushed capillaries from extreme temperatures or the use of irritating product ingredients.

What Type of Skin Do I Have?

Now that you know the types, how do you figure out which one fits you? After you wash your face, don’t apply makeup, moisturizer, sunblock or anything to your skin. Just let it breathe au naturel. After about two or three hours inspect your face in the mirror. Touch different areas to see if there is a slick feeling, indicating oil production, in any of the areas.How about dry or tight skin? Does your skin feel itchy or look red in any spots? With a quick little examination you will be able to put your skin into one of the five main categories.

What to Look for in a Moisturizer

Normal skin still needs moisture. A lightweight lotion is usually more than enough to give the skin a hydration boost. This skin type tolerates exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid and alpha hydroxy acid very well.

Oily skin needs moisture even though it is oily. If you use too many harsh and drying products on oily skin it has the opposite effect. The skin’s oil production increases. A very lightweight gel or lotion moisturizer will do. Salicylic acid is a perfect ingredient for oily skin. It is an oil soluble exfoliant that helps fight acne and keep the skin glowing.

Dry skin individuals should look for creams or balms as these products are packed with more hydrating elements than a lotion or gel. Applying water to the face and then layering your moisturizer over it helps look the hydration into dry parched skin.

Combination skin should look for lightweight moisturizers in a gel or lotion medium.

Sensitive skin should avoid any added fragrance in their moisturizer. Fragrance has no benefit to the skin and can be irritating. Alpha hydroxy acids are most likely going to irritate this skin type. You can try a gentler exfoliator like lactic acid if your skin can tolerate it. Stick to gentle lotions or creams without fragrance.

Applying Moisturizer

Moisturizer should be applied onto clean, freshly washed skin. The last thing you want to do is trap dead flakes and bacteria under your moisturizer. Apply morning and evening. In the daytime always use a moisturizer with an spf or apply an spf separately after your favorite moisturizer. Your sunscreen should have a protection of at least SPF30. Even on overcast days cancer causing UV rays can do much damage to the skin. Even if you spend most of the day indoors the sunlight from windows can reach the skin and cause premature aging. The American Academy of Dermatology states that approximately 20 percent of all Americans will develop some form of skin cancer. It’s an easily preventable diagnosis. Just wear your sunblock daily and all year long, no matter what the weather.

Ingredients to Be Careful With

Fragrance and dyes have the potential to irritate any skin type, not just sensitive skin. If you don’t need a fancy scent or tint to your moisturizer it is best to get one that is fragrance free and dye free..Retinol, Retin-A and other vitamin A derivatives are anti-aging powerhouses but they must be used carefully. These ingredients can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so a sunscreen is a must. They should only be used at night and not combined with alpha hydroxy acids. Sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate these ingredients.

With your knowledge of your skin type and ingredients to look for, you will be able to keep your skin supple and moisturized so you can put your best face forward.

Written by Samuel Hill