Moisturizers are available in four basic forms: ointment, cream, lotion, and gel. You need a form of moisturizer that will play its role well, based on your skin type and seasonal changes. Here are a few things that can help you choose one:
An ointment is the heaviest form of moisturizer typically containing 75-80% oil and the rest is water. It is best for winters and extremely dry skin or problematic skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. This form of moisturizer is typically greasy, and hence, not suitable for oily skin.
A cream-based moisturizer is made up of half oil and half water. It is lighter than an ointment. It helps moisturize normal and dry skin without giving a greasy feel. Similar to an ointment, creams are more suitable during cold dry winter months for additional skin hydration.
A lotion-based moisturizer is thinner and has a greater percentage of water than creams and ointments. It is a lighter version of moisturizer that gets quickly absorbed in the face. Lotions provide reasonable hydration for oily skin. If you have dry skin, you may use lotion during the summer, especially in hot and humid regions.
Water-based gel moisturizer:
A water-based gel moisturizer is something that gets absorbed in the skin more quickly than a lotion but provides the long-lasting moisturizing benefits of a cream. They are much lighter but more hydrating than a lotion without adding oil to the already oily skin. This works perfectly for oily, acne-prone skin, particularly during the hot and humid months.
Try applying moisturizer on damp skin, immediately after washing your face or after taking a bath. Water helps increase the efficacy of the moisturizer by sealing in the moisture.
Face serums are also available for moisturizing acne-prone skin. These contain water as the base and no oil. These are known to have excellent moisturizing properties by working on the inner layers of skin.
Which things to look for in a face moisturizer
Not all ingredients in a moisturizer will suit all skin types. Every skin type has a different need. Hence, it is recommended to know about ingredients that suit your skin and choosing a moisturizer accordingly. For this, you may need to experiment with different products of different brands until you find the best moisturizer for your face.
Additionally, you can consider moisturizers that offer the following benefits as well:
- Sun protection: For a day-time moisturizer, look for one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
- Antioxidants: Some moisturizers come with an additional ingredient of one or more antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that fight off the free oxygen radicals to give you an anti-aging effect and younger-looking skin. Look for ingredients, such as vitamin E, chamomile, green tea, or Glycyrrhiza glabra.
Moisturizers with herbal formulation also offer a promising option for acne-prone skin. A study showed that the synergistic effect of turmeric, wheat germ oil, and aloe vera was more beneficial in providing skin hydration than wheat germ oil or aloe vera alone. Another study revealed that an anti-acne moisturizer made with herbal ingredients (Andrographis paniculata, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Azadirachta indica, and green tea) possessed the potential for inhibiting acne with no skin irritation. You may consult the dermatologist before initiation of a new skin regimen.
What things to avoid while looking for a face moisturizer?
Apart from knowing which kind of moisturizer may work best for your skin type, you should also have an idea of which ones to avoid. They are:
- Oily or acne-prone skin: Look for a non-comedogenic facial moisturizer that won't clog pores.
- Sensitive skin: Use a hypoallergenic, dye-free, perfume-free, and fragrance-free moisturizer. Unscented moisturizers may also have masked fragrances.
- Dry or sensitive skin: Be careful with formulations that contain too many acids, such as alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, retinoic acid, and salicylic acid. Sometimes, the high concentration may irritate sensitive skin and cause dry skin to become drier.
If your skin does not benefit from any of the moisturizers that you have used or you have any additional skin concerns, then schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. They will analyze your skin in depth and suggest a customized skincare regimen for you.
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Sethi A, Kaur T, Malhotra SK, Gambhir ML. Moisturizers: The Slippery Road. Indian J Dermatol. 2016;61(3):279-287. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4885180/