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Friday, November 27, 2015

What moisturizer should I use?

Using a cream that is made for your particular skin type is of great importance. If you use an inappropriate product, you can really cause problems. Moisturizers (and toners) stay on your skin day and night, whereas cleansers go on briefly and come right off.

Acidic or non-alkaline moisturizers are what you want to use because they will not disrupt the natural balance of your skin. Bacteria does not thrive in an acid environment, so using a moisturizer that is acidic on the pH scale can go a long way in keeping bacteria at bay. Pure essential oils are acidic by nature, so they make good ingredients in skin care products. Test your moisturizer with nitrazine (pH) papers to be sure it’s OK to use. Be aware that just because the test results show your cream is acidic, there is no guarantee it will be effective in clearing up problem skin. But it’s a good start.

What about the term oil-free? Unfortunately, this is one of those instances where being a chemist would be of great help. Many oil-free products contain no oil, but employ filler and emollient ingredients that can clog your pores just like an oil. It’s similar to fat-free foods that don’t have a high fat content, but are loaded with carbohydrates that are stored in your body as fat. Tricky, isn’t it?

If you have oily skin, you should avoid petroleum products. Petroleum-based ingredients (mineral oil, petroleum jelly, paraffin) can be very clogging. They have a large molecular structure and just sit on the surface inhibiting proper skin function (elimination and absorption) and can leave a greasy film. If you have true-dry skin, you won’t have as many problems using these poor-quality ingredients as a person with problem skin will.

Oils aren’t altogether bad. And although you don’t want to use heavy creams on oily skin, all oils are not to be avoided. Organic, vegetable-based oils have a small molecular structure and are easily absorbed by your outer skin. These oils tend to be lighter in texture, making the moisturizer less oily to the touch. Vegetable oils have nutrients in them, whereas petroleum products are basically nutrient-deficient.

If you consistently experience burning or itching soon after applying your moisturizing cream (or any product), I suggest immediately removing it and tossing it in the garbage. Better yet, return it for a full refund. These types of reactions are your skin telling you it has an intolerance to something contained in the product. Burning and itching are not normal responses and should be regarded as warning signs. Narrowing down ingredients you’re allergic or intolerant to can help you further down the road when shopping for products. Finally, not all moisturizers are good for your skin, no matter how much money you spend on them.

For information on how to test your moisturizers or any skin care products, see:
I've used Yonka products for 30 years!