Moisturizer? How to make the right choice?

Moisturizers are probably the best-known skin care products yet they are also the most misused and misused. This is not new, but for the cosmetics industry, it is first and foremost a matter of marketing more than real care. So much so that a large majority of the products sold have completely unrealistic and false promises. Being misinformed, we easily fall into the panel. To see more clearly and facilitate your choice, here is a summary, very summary, what a good moisturizer should contain!

First, to relieve dry skin it is necessary to increase the water level of the stratum corneum (the outermost cell layer of the skin). This can be accomplished by preventing the evaporation of its water content using ingredients occlusive et humectants. The occlusive ingredients to favor are natural oils such as jojoba oil, squalene or beeswax. This last will act as a coat on the skin to delay the water loss of the latter. Humectantsfor their part, have the ability "to attract" the water present in the atmosphere to the skin. It is important to know that if the moisture content in the air is not enough, then they can absorb water from the epidermis and dermis which will dry out the skin. It is for this reason that occlusives and humectants work best combined. Among the most common humectants found glycerin, urea, hyaluronic acid and alphas hydroxy acids.

Then come the ingredients that have the task of softening and smoothing the skin. Those are the emollients. These work by filling the spaces on the skin giving it a smoother surface in addition to a better reflection of light. In short, we want emollients! Several humectants also act as emollients as the glycerine, squalene, jojoba oil and mineral oils.

These three categories of ingredients (occlusives, humectants and emollients) are generally the basis of any good moisturizer. What comes to hang us and guide us to make a choice are more active components of the formula and the form that takes the product (lotion, gel, cream, etc.).

Let's continue withactive ingredients ! Everyone needs toantioxidants. Not just "the older ones"! Indeed, they help prevent and reduce the damage caused by free radicals in the environment (weakening of the structure of the skin and the proper functioning of its cells). Free radicals are one of the causes of aging skin so your best start young to protect yourself! It is also shown that there is no miracle antioxidant, but several good ones and that it is better to use products that contain a variety rather than a single ! Look for ingredients like green tea, vitamin E (tocopherol), vitamin C, pomegranate extract, hyaluronic acid (Sodium Hyaluronate), coenzyme Q10, etc.

In addition, with all the irritants present in our environment (sun, pollution, wind, etc.) it is important for all skin types, even those that are not especially sensitive, to use products that contain of the anti-irritants / soothing ingredients. Aloe Vera, Chamomile Extract, Allantoin, Licorice Root Extract and Cranberry Seed Extract are some examples.

Then, how to determine the shape of the product you need? For those with dry skin, moisturizers that contain vegetable oils or butters (shea butter, cocoa butter, avocado butter, etc.) are preferred. They give the products a rich and creamy look! People who have normal to oily skin should opt for lighter lotions, and water-based products, such as gels. The more the skin tends to be greasy, the more the product must be light. For very oily skin, serums and tonics are good options, since they will not need, or very little, need occlusives and humectants.

To finish, here are some points to watch when buying the product. No matter what form the moisturizer takes, it is important that it comes in an opaque container to prevent the sun from destroying the ingredients in it. It is also preferable to ban jar creams because the large exposure to air and microbes will also mitigate the properties of the product. And it's not because a cream is expensive that it is better or even good for the skin;).

If your moisturizer does not contain SPF, the day you put sunscreen!

... every day ... forever.


Brown MB, Jones SA. Hyaluronic acid: A unique topical vehicle for the localized delivery of drugs to the skin. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2005; 19: 308.

Baumann, Leslie. Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (73). McGraw-Hill Education. Kindle Edition.

Hannuksela M. Glycols. In: Loden M, Maibach H. eds. Dry Skin and Moisturizers. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2000: 413-415.

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