Choosing a Moisturizer For Your Skin
Choosing a good-quality moisturizer for your skin is just as important as choosing an effective cleanser. Maybe even more so! People with dry skin and oily skin alike, struggle with the choice of finding a product that will take care of their skin. Many people struggle with the decision to even use a moisturizer in the first place; especially those with oily skin. Maybe they've read an article detailing the importance of one, even if they struggle with that malady. But then. . . . .toddling down the skin care isle in the store is a very daunting task! Face creams and gels, lotions, some made for face and others for body. Those made for dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin. Those with sunscreen, those with natural ingredients. Anti-aging ingredients. Gaagh! Don't turn away and go home just yet! But how do you know which one is right for you?! We're here to help.
About Your Skin
Your skin is not just an inert covering for your muscles and bones. It's the largest organ in the body and is a complex network of supporting tissue, nerve endings, blood vessels, and a protective support structure. It's made up of three main layers: the epidermis (outer layer), dermis (in between layer), and hypodermis (inner layer). Your skin's main functions include keeping moisture in, pushing waste and toxins out, and protecting you from the outside elements. It must maintain hydration in order to function as it should. The skin is made up of 64% water! (Drink up!) The very outermost layer of the epidermis is the stratum corneum. It's made up of corneocytes which hold large amounts of water, and a mesh of fatty acids and other lipids that serve to protect the rest of the skin, retaining its moisture.
You're Losing It!
Skin loses moisture through a process known as transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Trans, meaning across; so across the outer skin layer. Things like stress, dry climate, and chemicals or pollutants can contribute to a larger TEWL. That means that things like your health and the external environment will have an impact. As moisture is lost through TEWL, the skin cells dehydrate. Once that happens you notice cracks in the stratum corneum, which serve to create even more moisture loss. When your skin is dehydrated, it tries to rectify the situation by creating more sebum (oil). This can actually block the pores and cause acne.
You can help or correct the situation completely by using a moisturizer, which will trap water in the epidermis before it has a chance to evaporate, effectively moderating sebum production. Moisturizers will also add water back into the dehydrated skin cells.
Form and Function
Back to that problem: how to choose the right moisturizer for your skin. All types of moisturizers have water plus some form of greasy, waxy, or oily substance that will help to trap the water and keep it from evaporating. Many of them also provide the added bonus of providing UV protection. There are different types of moisturizers, depending on what it is you're looking to accomplish.
Web MD advises that picking a moisturizer is a must, no matter what kind of skin you have -- oily, dry or a combination of both. "Everyone needs moisture, but the texture of your moisturizer will differ depending on your skin type," notes New York City aesthetician Jordana Mattioli. They come in the form of creams, gels, lotions, oils, and ointments, but basically can all be broadly classified into three categories. Occlusives will form a barrier on the surface of the skin that water can't penetrate, locking moisture inside the skin, making them effective in keeping skin hydrated for a while. They sit on the surface, preventing water from leaving. Petroleum jelly is an occlusive. If you have dry, itchy skin you'll want to lock in moisture with a thick ointment. Emollients make skin feel smoother by working to fill the spaces between the cells where the skin is missing fatty acids and lipids. They fill in the cracks and are found in lotions that contain oils and fatty acids. The Revitalizing Moisturizer made by Calysta Labs, has 4 ingredients and one of them is water. It has an emollient, Emulsifix-205, as well as Cyclomethicone, which is used in skincare products to help retain softness and smoothness. Its molecules are too large to go through the pores of the skin, but it does not block the more active ingredients from doing so. It is a silicone base compound that is believed to help heal acne scars. The water in the moisturizer is directly retained on the skin's surface to help it stay humid. Humectants attract moisture from the environment and help the skin retain it inside. Most lotions will contain humectants.