When we talk about the health of the skin, it’s essential to consider moisturizers.  Skin moisturizers are either water based or oil based and you will be able to tell the difference by reading the ingredients label on the product. Ingredient labels are written in order of the highest amount to the smallest amount. The first ingredient will make up a higher percentage of the product than the last ingredient listed. Knowing that, in the vast majority of cases, you’ll be able to tell a moisturizer’s base by looking at the first ingredient on the lists. If the first ingredient is water, then it’s water based, and if it’s an oil then the moisturizer is oil based.

Before we break down the different types of moisturizers, let’s take a look at some of the other ingredients you’ll typically find in a skin moisturizer (regardless of the base). Vitamin E, this vitamin absorbs into the skin easily and aids in skin moister retention. Vitamin C, neutralizes free radicals and helps the skin’s natural regeneration process. Emollients are ingredients that will soften the skin—examples of emollients include thongs like plant oils, animal oils, mineral oils, and cocoa butter. Many skin moisturizers also contain humectants, which aids in keeping the skin moist by attracting water molecules from the air.

Determining the right moisturizer

Choosing the right moisturizer for you will depend on the condition of your skin. One important thing to know is whether your skin is dry or dehydrated. While the two terms sound similar, they are very different.

Dry skin usually is a sign that your skin produces a smaller amount of sebum, the natural oils produced by the gland in our skin. Dry skin is often characterized by rough, cracked skin that may be flakey and itchy. The purpose of the sebum helps lubricate the skin and also creates a waterproof barrier. Another cause of dry skin is if our skin’s lipid barrier runs out or is, in some way, compromised. This can occur for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the most common is over washing. When we wash our bodies with soaps that break down oils, we run the risk of developing dry skin. If you have dry skin, then an oil based moisturizer will work better for you as it will replenish the oils your skin needs to stay healthy.

Dehydrated skin is the result of water depleted skin. Our skin comes equipped with a natural moisturizing factor that works to help the skin maintain an adequate level of hydration. When this becomes depleted, the skin will start producing more oils in an attempt to compensate for the lack of water. The skin’s natural moisturizing factor can become depleted because of a variety of reasons such as poor diet, makeup, sun exposure, and incorrect product use, just to list a few. Dehydrated skin can simultaneously feel oily and dry, which can lead to problems such as acne, skin irritation, and dry patches. If you have dehydrated skin, a water based moisturizer would be the best choice for you.

Selecting the best moisturizer for you depends largely on your skin type and the condition of your skin. Remember that can change with your age, the weather, and other factors so don’t be alarmed if you have to switch out your moisturizers from time to time.

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