Moisturizers increase skin softness and pliancy
and, by doing so, often tend
to soothe skin
redness and irritation. Moisturizers
in three main types:
- Occlusive moisturizers are oils and lubricants,
such as Vaseline or mineral oil. They work
by forming a barrier between your skin and
the outside world, that prevents the loss
of water through evaporation. Calling them
moisturizers is somewhat of a misnomer, though,
as they do not add water; they merely prevent
it from escaping.
- Emollients are water in oil emulsions that
act to smooth roughened skin,
and provide occlusion. The
of oil in emollients varies
ranging generally from 0-25%.
will generally be decided by
usage; emollients with low
are used in cosmetics, while
higher spreading values are
for body lotions and creams.
- Humectants, like glycerin, are more powerful
moisturizers that absorb water out of the
atmosphere and draw it into the skin.
Finding the moisturizer right
for you depends
on the condition you are trying
For red or dry skin, an occlusive
is likely to be sufficient. For
conditions, such as xerosis or
are likely to find more success
using a more
powerful humectant moisturizer.
To be most effective, moisturizers need to
be applied throughout the day, and after
the skin is washed. Also remember to consider
checking what preservatives and fragrances
are present in the moisturizer. Fragrances
are present in many moisturizers and are
irritating to some people (to both their
noses and skin). Many people are also irritated
by certain preservatives, which are present
in almost all moisturizers.