The concept of moisturising is introduced to us at an early stage and one that most people are very familiar with. That, however, does not make getting it right an easy task.
The reason we moisturise the skin is to keep it nourished and to prevent it from drying out. But it doesn’t only hydrate the skin, it also acts as a barrier against environmental factors – both internal and external. The skin needs to be protected against the cold, heat, sun and wind as well as indoor heating and cooling systems. This barrier keeps the moisture in and the harsh elements that would dry the skin out.
That seems to make sense, but with so many products available, each promising something different, it is hard to know which one’s right for you.
Fact is that each person’s skin is unique as there are a number of factors, such as genetics, hormones, ethnicity and even the environment contributing to your particular skin type. Typically though, the skin is classified into dry, normal, oily or sensitive or a combination thereof.
In essence, sensitive skins are prone to irritation, dry skin feels tight and is often flaky or itchy. Oily skin can be identified with larger pores and a sheen that develops during the day, whereas a normal skin has an even skin tone with no flaking or sheen. Many people, however, have a combination skin with an oily T-zone, which runs across the forehead, nose and chin, but with drier skin along the cheeks.
This then leads to the question – do all skin types – even the oily type – need to moisturise?
Those with oily skin may think that using a moisturiser will worsen their condition and tend to want to cleanse only, but this actually strips the skin from moisture, which in turn stimulates the skin to overproduce oil to compensate. This indicates that not only dry and normal skin types require moisture, but that all skin types do.
Correctly identifying your skin type is essential in order to maintain the skin appropriately. If possible, input from an aesthetic doctor or dermatologist is first prize, as they will not only be able to assist in correctly identifying your skin type, but will also be able to recommend the correct products.
The different types of moisturisers consist of different ingredients. Humectants (such as lactic acid and glycerin) attract water and assist the skin in retaining moisture. Emollients (such as ceramides and fatty acids) are often soothing to the skin. Occlusives (such as lanolin or petrolatum) are also known as barrier creams and leave a film on the surface of the skin, which seals in moisture.
With moisturisers containing one or a combination of these ingredients, they have different textures. A thicker, more nourishing cream would be suitable for dry skin, whereas a more liquid consistency would suit oily skin types better. Different moisturisers could be used at different times of the year. The skin may feel dryer in the colder months, at which time a richer moisturiser would be recommended.
Facial serums and oils can further compliment the skin care regime. Serums are traditionally water-soluble products containing very concentrated ingredients that reach the deeper levels of the skin. Issues such as pigmentation, dehydration or fine lines are specifically addressed. It acts as a specialized treatment and is applied before moisturising. Oils come from therapeutic plants and acts as a natural barrier to protect and nourish the skin. This is applied after the moisturiser as it is a defense against the elements.
Not all aesthetic doctors and dermatologists would recommend oils, and it is important to check if it is in fact correct for your skin type.
Once you’ve identified your skin type, choose a moisturiser with active ingredients that are formulated to reach the deeper levels of the dermis, as it is at this level where collagen is restored, elastin is affected and new skin cells are produced. An aesthetic doctor or a dermatologist will be able to recommend the correct product as they have access to a range of medical products that are far more effective than over the counter products.
The right moisturiser won’t only hydrate the skin and protect it from external factors, it will also slow down the signs of ageing and prevent skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
To help identify your skin type and the moisturiser suitable to yours, visit Skin Renewal at www.skinrenewal.co.za
Never used moisturiser as a teen and now I love it. Have seen significant changes to my skin when I use it. Great article. I am learning so much
I never moisturized in my teenage years which lead to my skin overproducing oil and for quite a while i used harsh products trying to get rid of the oil. Luckily now i’m all for moisture.
I use the Johnson’s even tone SPF15 moisturiser.. it works wonders for my skin. It leaves it dry and protected from the sun
Nivea moisturizer works best for me.
It’s so important to use a product that’s made for your skin type. Also don’t forget to use a good sunscreen
Love the eye opening insight. I have combination skin and in winter my skin becomes so dry and tough so moisturizer is a MUST for me, morning and night, especially before using any makeup
A beautifully written article. It is so importnat that we realise that each us are different and even though we may share the same skin type, products will not neccesarily react to our skin the same way
I’ve got an oily skin that is prone to breakouts and skipping moisturiser is not a good idea at all, I feel my skin definitely produces more oil when I do.
I spent my teenage years getting away with not using moisturiser. Eventually my skin hit back with a vengeance and overproduced so much oil i could fry an egg on my forehead.
Moisturizing is a daily part of my life .