Finding the Best Facial Moisturizers

Medically CitedMedically Cited Fact Check Fact Checkedby Reviewed by CHD TeamUpdated: Jun-16-2024
Here's why moisturizing is super important and you should never, ever skip this step.
Facial Moisturizers

The best face moisturizers for every skin type. Image via Shutterstock

For those who are not used to following the basic skincare routine of cleanse-tone-moisturize, applying a moisturizer can feel like a bit of a chore. But trust us, this step is just as essential as washing your face.

What are Facial Moisturizers?

A facial moisturizer, or moisturizer in general, pertains to skincare formulations that protects and lubricates the skin. It is available in different forms, with the most common being creams, gels, ointments, and serums.

Moisturizers are recommended to everyone, and there are different formulations to suit all skin types.

Reasons You Need Facial Moisturizer in Your Life

The skin loses water on a constant basis, in a process known as transepidermal water loss (TEWL). This causes the skin to become dry and brittle, making it an inefficient barrier against dirt, pathogens, and other potential irritants. Moisturizers prevent TEWL by forming an occlusive coating on the topmost layer of the skin. Some moisturizers even have the ability to draw moisture from the environment.

Facial moisturizers are frequently advertised as anti-aging products, as one effect of moisturizing the skin is diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. There are also those that are specifically intended for problematic skin like acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, pruritus, etc. In these cases, active ingredients like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, urea etc. are added.

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The Most Effective Moisturizing Ingredients

There are different types of moisturizers that address different skin needs and they all have their respective list of ingredients. The following are the most commonly used:

Shea Butter - This seed fat is derived from shea tree native to East and West Africa. It is an excellent emollient that also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in a wide variety of skin conditions including acne, burns, eczema, insect bites, psoriasis, and stretch marks to name a few.

Antioxidants - These molecules have a special place in dermatology and anti-aging medicine, as their main function is to protect the skin against free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to the cells. They also shield the skin against UV rays and other environmental aggressors. Some of the most popular antioxidants added in moisturizers include vitamins C and E.

Ceramides - These lipids are naturally found in the skin where they contribute to the formation of the skin's protective barrier (source). It prevents the skin from becoming permeable to potential irritants. It also locks in moisture and prevent dryness. Without adequate ceramides, the skin becomes more prone to dryness, itching, and irritation.

Hyaluronic Acid - The champion ingredient when it comes to skin moisture, owing to its ability to hold water up to a thousand times its weight. It intensely hydrates the skin (source) and locks in moisture (source), making it softer, smoother, and more plump. It effectively gets rid of fine lines and wrinkles.

Dimethicone - Like hyaluronic acid, this compound helps retain moisture and prevent water loss. It also has been proven to strengthen the skin's protective barrier (source), rendering it useful for conditions such as dermatitis and eczema (source).

Glycerin - This compound attracts and traps moisture, making the skin softer, smoother, and more plump (source). It is especially recommended for oily skin and problematic skin, particularly acne-prone skin (source).

Moisturizers: Do They Work?

Facial moisturizers are generally effective in keeping the skin hydrated, so long as you pick the right one for your skin type and follow the proper way of applying them. The most important advice with regards to their use is to do so twice a day after cleansing and toning, in order to maximize their absorption into the skin.

Some experts would suggest using them on damp skin in order to immediately replace the natural oils that were removed by washing and also to lock in the moisture that's already there.

How to Choose the Best Facial Moisturizers?

Choosing the best facial moisturizer depends on several factors, the most important being your skin type. Dry, itchy skin would benefit from ointments whereas oily skin are best for moisturizers in gel form because the main ingredient of these moisturizers is water. Those with normal skin are okay with cream moisturizers, but they can actually get away with any form.

It is also important to check the label and find one whose composition will best address your skin concerns. Furthermore, no matter what your skin type is, always pick a daytime facial moisturizer that has SPF and antioxidants in it. SPF of at least 30 provides adequate protection against UV rays, while antioxidants give further protection not just against sun but from other harsh environmental factors as well. Lastly, make sure that your moisturizer is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic.

The Bottom Line

Using facial moisturizers, or moisturizers in general, is an important part of any skincare routine. Anyone can benefit from it, even those with oily, sensitive, or acne-prone skin. If you're still having a hard time finding the right moisturizer for you, you can always consult your trusted skincare expert to help you sort it out. In fact, it is always better to seek professional advice first when picking any skincare product to ensure that you're on the right track.

Once you've picked the most suitable product, use it consistently to maximize the benefits and keep your skin hydrated and healthy.

**This is a subjective assessment based on the strength of the available informations and our estimation of efficacy.

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