Monday, December 1, 2014

Why you want to use a moisturizer

What is a moisturizer? A moisturizer (also called a hydrating cream or lotion) is an emollient oil-in-water mixture, usually a cream (sometimes a gel), that is spread over the skin to help lock in moisture. Moisturizers generally contain a humectant (an ingredient that draws moisture to itself ) to further hydrate the skin. Moisturizers, whether for the face or specifically for the eye area, do not erase or in any measurable way reduce lines and wrinkles. They may lessen the appearance of lines, but that is all they are equipped to do.

Why use a moisturizer? Moisturizers add a layer of protection between your skin and the outside environment. They help to plump up dead skin cells, which gives the appearance of reducing fine, superficial lines (wrinkles). They also make your skin feel smooth and well-hydrated. If you have true-dry skin, skin that doesn’t emit enough oil, you already know a moisturizer’s importance. Without one, your skin would feel like a flaking, cracking desert. People with dry skin need to make up for the lack of oil in their skin, and moisturizers serve that purpose.

Those of you with oily skin may have trouble understanding why you should use a moisturizer—or if you need to use one at all. Using a poor-quality moisturizer on problem or oily skin can indeed cause problems. But this doesn’t mean all moisturizers are bad for oilier skin types. My belief is that practically everyone needs a moisturizer. Even people with acne need to hydrate their skin. In fact, those of you with problem skin usually have very dehydrated and depleted skin as well as blemishes. The constant use of harsh and drying products that attempt to dry out the oil can really do a number on the skin.

There definitely is a controversy surrounding the use of moisturizers on oily skin. If your skin seems excessively oily and you don’t feel you need a moisturizer, ask yourself these questions:
  1. Do I use soap or a harsh cleanser that may be stripping my skin? 
  2. Do I use a toner with alcohol in it? 
  3. Do I use blemish pads that help to “dry up” excess oil? 

If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, your skin might be pumping out more oil than it normally would due to all those drying agents. Test your products with nitrazine (pH) papers to make sure they are acidic. If they aren’t, consider throwing them out and find others that are non-alkaline. After using these gentler products, see if you have less trouble with oiliness. Then find a light-textured moisturizer to use day and night to complete your Basics program.

If your products are acidic (which is what you want) and are not drying out your skin, yet you still produce a lot of oil, you may not need a moisturizer. Your diet could be a factor, you may be predisposed genetically to oily skin, or perhaps your hormones are imbalanced. This would be a good time to seek out a professional facial and hear what a licensed specialist has to say. If you truly feel you don’t need to use a moisturizer, although I hesitate to say this, then don’t use one.
pH strips to test your products
I hesitate because without a moisturizing cream, you leave your skin’s surface vulnerable to the environment. Without the protection of a cream or gel, dirt and debris can find their way deeper into your pores. And without adequate moisture on the surface, your oil glands may feel the need to pump out more oil than necessary to compensate for the dryness. Finally, high-quality products contain ingredients to combat the oiliness and can actually help tackle the problem.

Clients with very oily skin often cringe when I suggest they use a moisturizer. I can usually convince them to at least try one for a few days after explaining my position. Hydrating gels, which are water-based vs. oil-based lotions, are an alternative to creams, giving you protection without adding oil.

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