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What Makes a Good Moisturizer
Anti-Aging – The Role of a Good Moisturizer
We've all been told time and time again just how important it is to use a good moisturizer in our daily skin care routine. What exactly does that mean and what makes a moisturizer great? This article will attempt to give you a little bit of insight into exactly what you should look for in a hydrating product and at the end, I'll share a few of my personal favorites.
The basic role of a moisturizing product is to give extra hydration to the upper layers known as the epidermis. There are a wide range of moisturizing products that have multi-functional ingredients that can protect, nourish and exfoliate the skin as they work on hydrating and restoring a level of elasticity. However, due to the size of the chemical compounds that are found within many of these super skincare ingredients, the product cannot penetrate any deeper into the skin that the upper epidermis layer.
Lighter serums and oils are able to penetrate deeper and deliver their ingredients into lower levels, but unfortunately the majority of moisturizers are solely treating the layer of skin we are able to see on the surface.
The Role of Emollients
Moisturizers are an emollient based products. An emollient is simply a substance that smooths and soothes the skin. They have three basic properties you should be aware of:
- Lubrication - Adds slip and glide to the product to enable it to allow for smooth and easy application.
- Humectant - Increases the skin's capacity to hold water.
- Occlusion - Provides a layer of oil on the surface of the skin which in turn slows water loss and increases the moisture content.
Moisturizers also contain a vast array of water-binding ingredients, soothing agents, natural moisturizing factors, anti-irritants and antioxidants in a vast range of permutations. Recent skin care formulations have seen the introduction of plant extracts, organic ingredients, and chemical compositions such as pseudo collagen and elastin in the ever enduring attempt to slow the aging process and keep lines and wrinkles at bay. I know that might be a bit more science than you were hoping for but it does lead to some useful information, I promise!
Ingredients to Look for
Hyaluronic Acid - A professional's favorite, this ingredient has the power to hold 100 times its own weight in water and gives super moisturizing properties for the driest of skins.
SPF - A sun protection factor is essential for a daytime moisturizer and generally goes as high as a level 15 in common products - a high factor sun cream should be worn underneath a moisturizer in areas where the sun is strong and extended UV exposure is likely.
NMF's - Natural Moisturizing Factors or water binding agents work great for combating dryness and are suitable for the majority of skin types.
Antioxidant Ingredients- Antioxidants have the ability to prevent or reduce some of the oxidative damage that depletes and destroys the skin's function and structure. Common antioxidants found in skincare include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta glucan, co-enzyme Q10 and green tea.
My Top Picks
Choosing the Best Moisturizer
It is important when selecting a moisturizer that you choose the one that is right for your skin type: Over moisturizing can have a negative effect and cause your pores to block, producing blackheads and whiteheads. The same applies to moisturizing oily areas, as too much of a good thing can cause the skin to appear greasy and shiny. Always use the lightest moisturizer you can to feel soft without being oily or layered. A couple of my personal favorites include Bare Escentuals Rare Minerals Moisturizer and Philosophy Hope in a Jar.
It goes without saying that selecting and buying the correct moisturizer can involve a little bit of trial and error. Sometimes it is beneficial to go into department stores and beauty salons so you can try a sample on your own skin. Not every retailer allows this but some do and it is a good way to test the waters and see what works well for you before you spend a lot of money.
Look for labels that specify which skin types they are geared toward and don’t be swayed by the price tag – sometimes some of the cheapest products turn out to be the very best. With a lot of high end and expensive skincare products, you are actually paying for the advertising campaign and the celebrity endorsements rather than the ingredients in the product.
Read reviews, ask your friends questions, and never be afraid to return a product if it gives you a bad reaction or does not do what it says on the bottle. False claims are abundant in the skincare market and you are well within your rights to ask for your money back if it doesn’t live up to its claims.
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