Keeping your skin hydrated, soft and elastic gets to be harder and harder work the older you get. The effects of the environment, a low amount of fluids daily and your own habits quickly begin to wear down your youth, cracking skin and reducing elasticity starting from your 20s. After that, it becomes a battle we must fight harder and harder to keep the skin healthy and well hydrated, and drinking 4-8 liters of water a day somehow is no longer enough; not to mention that often becomes too much for the regular body to take in. With an average of 2-4 liters of waters, we need some outside help as well. A healthy diet certainly helps immensely, but it is the day creams and skin moisturizers that we use every morning and every night that will be the protection required to keep everything youthful about us. Today, we want to discuss all the tips on how to choose the best day creams and skin moisturizers to help you achieve the ultimate perfection.
Ingredients you find in the better skin moisturizers include petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin and dimethicone to seal in the moisture, while the glycerin, propylene glycol, proteins, urea, and vitamins are used to attract the moisture to the dry skin in the first place. And now we have another problem. There are hundreds if not thousands of types of moisturizers out there, nearly every cosmetics company coming up with their own. That means for every country alone we have a few hundred possibilities to choose from, handmade natural or thoroughly manufactured with additional necessary components.
Prices range from $1.50 for a jar of petroleum jelly that your grandmother ensured you always have at home to a few hundred dollars’ worth of designer cosmetics you find at specialty stores. So how do you go about choosing the best day cream or skin moisturizer for you? Here are a few tips to keep in mind and a few guidelines from dermatologists to follow!
1. Ensure your day moisturizer includes sunscreen to some degree. This reduced the need to apply a second layer on top and prevents you from walking out under the sun without the protection to your skin. For the pregnant ladies out there, this is doubly important to prevent the harmful UV rays from harming the newly developing fetus within you. When buying a moisturizer with sunscreen, go for a protection factor of at least 30 to ensure you won’t be running into problems throughout the day. No one wants to have withered skin.
2. Apply moisturizer on a daily basis. While it cannot get rid of wrinkles, it can certainly reduce the appearance of them by plumping up the cells. Apply it to damp skin as it works like a sponge, a dry one not taking anything in but a slightly wet version most certainly absorbing whatever you end up giving it. Use it daily, use it twice a day and just keep on using it. Helps immensely!
3. Go for the AHA. Having a component ingredient called alpha hydroxyl acid, or AHA, in the moisturizer can be a great choice as it is well known to help heal dried skin according to top clinical professors in dermatology. The exfoliation of the dead skin is important to expose the fresh layers beneath.
4. Glycerin over lanolin. Dermatologists have been focusing on reducing allergic reactions, which is why glycerin is recommended in a moisturizer over lanolin, petrolatum being a rather lovely addition as well. It would do to use small batches initially and immediately throw out the moisturizer should you notice any adverse reactions.
5. It is always best to look up the company manufacturing the moisturizer. We can say go for the big companies, but they are not always the most reputable. It would be more prudent to merely check out what the company represents in of itself and the customer guarantees they provide. Chances are that all reputable companies will have a website dedicated to their processes and product information, along with a strong media presence.
6. Make sure it is skin type appropriate. What is good for the body is not always good for the face and vice versa. You will find creams and moisturizers for the whole body, for just the hands and the legs, for the face and otherwise. It is the latter one that you should be careful of most since the skin is most exposed there and often quite thin, especially around the eyes.
Furthermore, the type of skin you have should dictate the type of moisturizer you wear. For example, oily skin is paired with a lighter product that is considered to be oil-free in order to better meet your needs. Generally it is a lotion instead of a cream.
Dry skin calls for heavier day creams, with more thickness and a whole lot of oil that can then penetrate the skin easily and seal in the moisture. To somehow balance combination skin, it would be best to go with something light on the face and heavier creams on the more likely to dry out places such as the legs, elbows and hands.
In general though, it is best to stick to lotions with no acids, preferably bland versions of the moisturizers as found in the Cetaphil, Cerave, Aveeno, Neutrogena and Lubriderm collections. As for those considered to have normal skin, adding a thin layer of ointment on at night helps protect the skin from the forces of nature they would be exposed to the coming day.
7. Pick up a hypo-allergenic moisturizer. Usually allocated for those with sensitive skin, if you want to prevent allergic reactions as a whole, it would do to try out the hypo-allergenic moisturizers, for they are less likely to contain anything potentially harmful to you. The ingredients are not as harsh, the chemicals less likely to appear and the effects much the same.
8. Change moisturizers with the seasons. It may seem funny, but it makes a whole lot of sense. If you are going to be using moisturizers all year round, which you certainly should be doing, then it would be annoying to have heavy creams in the summer where you will literally feel it melting off you. Instead, save the heavier day creams for the winter where you have the problem of the cold, the dry weather and the risk of cracking skin, while the summer should include sunscreen infused lightweight moisturizers that barely feel like they are there.
9. Use retinol before heading to bed. Moisturizers with retinol are full of Vitamin A for the skin and increase the speed by which cells regenerate, giving you a fresher morning look. They might cause allergic reactions though so start small and then move your way into making it a nightly habit, allowing the combination of sleep and retinol to work their magic.
10. Apply different moisturizers based on the weather. On humid days, go for a gel moisturizer instead of a cream, no matter how lightweight, for it prevents you from appearing oily if you start sweating. In super dry places, a cold humidifier in your room is great as you sleep at night, while a gentle soap without exfoliates preserves the moisture that you can then add onto with a good amount of cream. In chillier areas of the world, an ointment is probably your best bet since a moisturizer alone gets readily absorbed but does not provide the additional protection of the ointments. Use this if you are not acne prone and get rid of exfoliates in your shower as well.
11. Be cautious while testing new moisturizers. We mentioned it a few times already but should highlight it as well. Try with a small amount at first, on a patch on your forearm where it would be easier to hide a rash and where it is less likely to cause you much trouble should you show an adverse reaction to whatever ingredient exists in there. Even the hypo-allergenic might have ingredients you are not so friendly with and that might break you out in a rash. Always read all the ingredients before you buy any product and get to know what it is exactly that is a risk. Test the product for two weeks before you can conclude that it is safe to use all over the body.
12. Pick a moisturizer based on your budget. For every type of skin, there are day creams and moisturizers that can cost you an arm and a leg, or there are similar options that are budget-friendly. You do not need to be getting the high priced ones in general, as the cost stems from better packaging, higher marketing budgets, additional research and development work, and the use of more expensive products. While the former two are not important to you at all, the latter two can affect the reaction from your skin, due to the fact that the products presented have had more research go into their manufacturing. If you want great products for an affordable price, you might want to go with natural creations but not always the organic ones. The natural allows for some chemical ingredients that would come in handy when ensuring your skin is cared for the best.
Photo courtesy of Viva Luxury
Don’t miss: All About Toners and Why You Need Them