When asked about their daily hygiene habits, most people list tasks like brushing their teeth, showering, and putting on deodorant. In reality, moisturizing consistently is just as important even though most people don’t moisturize regularly.
In fact, most people only moisturize when they really think they need it. For example, many people don’t moisturize their skin until the summer arrives and they want their dry, winter-weary skin to look fresh again. Another common moisturizing mistake is only caring for the skin on the face because that’s what is noticeable and tends to acne breakout the most.
The Benefits of Moisturizing
Why is moisturizing regularly so important? The skin maintains a delicate balance of oil, water, and tissue. Its layers protect* the body from outside contaminants while also holding in important parts of the body like blood vessels and nerves.
Keeping the skin healthy does much more than give your body a healthy appearance, it also helps the skin to complete its many tasks better*. Plus, healthy skin can guard against breakouts, wrinkling, and other common skin problems.
Moisturizing helps to keep the skin healthy by hydrating it. As a result, the skin and pores are more flexible and able to perform more effectively.
Types of Moisturizer
Choosing a moisturizer can be overwhelming. Many stores that sell skin-care products have entire aisles of moisturizer because there are so many types. From brands to varieties to different substances and ingredients, moisturizers are diverse.
Begin by looking at the following differentiations:
Time of Use
Many moisturizers are identified as day or night time applications. In other words, some are for sleeping in and others should be applied early in the morning. Most moisturizers are designed to be best used right after showering, but some may specify otherwise. Read labels to ensure that a selected moisturizer will fit into your daily routine conveniently.
Place of Use
The skin found on the elbow is very different from the skin on the foot, the face, or the stomach. Moisturizers should be chosen accordingly. Many moisturizers are labeled as being designed to use on the face or the body. There are more specific types, though, like moisturizers made specifically for dry feet.
Each special formulation of moisturizer for a specific part of the body will have common moisturizing ingredients as well as some more targeted ones.
It is important not to misuse moisturizers because they can do more harm than good when used on the wrong part of the body. For instance, a foot moisturizer used on the face may be unsafe around the eyes and mouth or simply too intense for the delicate skin on the face.
Purpose of Use
Moisturizers are also often designed to deal with specific issues. Common purposes of moisturizers (besides just moisturizing) include:
- Preventing acne
- Delaying or reducing* wrinkles
- Healing* scars
- Removing* excess oils
- Improving* skin tone
- Combatting common weather-induced issues like extreme dryness
Generally moisturizers designed for such specific purposes also fall under the time and place of use categories, so be sure to read the whole label to understand how the moisturizer works best.
Skin Type Specific
One of the most important aspects of choosing a moisturizer is selecting the product based on skin type. Each skin type has its own chemistry and will react to moisturizer differently.
Common skin types and corresponding moisturizers include:
- Dry Skin
Skin that is dry is not the same as dehydrated skin as many people mistakenly assume. Dry skin is characterized by a lack of natural, important oils. Without oils, skin begins to feel tight and might flake. It can also become itchy.
Moisturizing dry skin is easy. Choose a moisturizer that contains oil and rub it on daily after showering. Avoid things that might be causing the dry skin as well, like long, hot showers.
- Oily Skin
Believe it or not, skin can be oily and still have symptoms of dryness. What’s really happening in such instances is that the skin is dehydrated due to a lack of water. This often occurs because the skin’s natural oiliness is drawing water out of the skin cells.
Unfortunately, many people with oily but flaky skin avoid moisturizer because they think it will make the skin even oilier and will cause more breakouts. In reality, the right moisturizer will make a big difference.
Look for a moisturizer that is oil-free so as not to add to the problem. Try using a skin cleanser as well to help remove* some of that excess oil.
- Combination Skin
Commonly apparent on the face, combination skin is marked by oiliness in certain areas, like around the nose, but by dryness elsewhere, like on the forehead. The solution to moisturizing combination skin is simple: just moisturize the oily skin areas as prescribed and the dry areas according to typical dry skin moisturizing procedure.
- Normal Skin
Some people have what if called “normal” skin. Basically, normal skin is skin that tends to regulate itself effectively so that breakouts are minimal. Normal skin tends to be slightly oily with hardly noticeable pores.
To moisturize normal skin, simply choose a basic product. Use it regularly but don’t overdo it. Avoid oil-free and oil-based products as not to upset the chemistry of the already healthy skin.
- Sensitive Skin
A person with sensitive skin will usually find that the balance of their skin is easily upset. Prone to having oily skin during certain seasons and dry skin at other times, the skin reacts strongly to changes and its environment. Sensitive skin often breaks out or gets rashes or itchy when exposed to certain products.
Keeping sensitive skin healthy, soft, and hydrated carefully is important. Look for moisturizers that are oil-free and hypoallergenic. Many will even be labeled as designed for sensitive skin specifically.
Finally, regardless of skin type or choice of moisturizer, be sure to:
- Massage, don’t scrub – the skin is delicate and already absorbs moisturizer easily
- Always wash first – don’t mask the dirt
- Don’t overdo it – too much moisturizer can clog pores too
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