The main function of a moisturiser is to soothe the skin and build a barrier to lock moisture into the skin. Moisturisers are typically made up of naturally occurring sterols and skin lipids, as well as natural oils, lubricants, emollients and humectants. With a mixture of active ingredients, they can also help protect sensitive skin, defend against skin aggressors, improve skin tone and minimise imperfections.
Skin moisturisers often contain a blend of minerals, vitamins and plant extracts, as well as:
Humectants – Ingredients like Glycerine, Honey and Aloe Vera absorb moisture from the air and lock it into the skin.
Emollients – Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter and Beeswax can assist in filling the spaces between skin cells resulting in smoother and softer skin.
Preservatives – Help in preventing bacteria growth in products and prolonging the shelf life of products. There are some nasty preservatives like Parabens that have been proven to be very bad for your health, but there are better alternatives such as Glyceryl Caprylate and Benzyl Alcohol.
Dry skin types require oil-based and creamier moisturisers, with ingredients like Grape Seed Oil and Antioxidants. Very dehydrated skin will need a more targeted treatment, with a formulation rich in Hyaluronic Acid or Aloe Vera, to prevent water evaporating form the skin.
Oily skin needs water-based products (avoid heavy oils) with ingredients such as Tea Tree that can help stop pores clogging up and reduce shine.
Ageing skin needs to be kept well hydrated, and be pumped full of actives that help plump the skin as well as keep it firm Retinol and Collagen based products are perfect for this.
Sensitive skin loves soothing ingredients like Chamomile that are non-irritating and minimise aggravating the skin.
Night creams are usually a heavier consistency, infused with moisture enriching ingredients. Our skin regenerates and revitalises itself naturally while we sleep, so it is important to use nutrient rich creams to give your skin a boost as part of your night time routine.
Eye creams are purposely made for the thin and delicate skin around the eye contour. This area produces less protective oils and so tends to age faster than the other areas of the face. Collagen creams are perfect for smoothing out fine lines, while caffeine-enriched formulas can lighten dark circles and puffiness.
Truths and Untruths about Moisturisers
Moisturisers are a standard staple of skincare, but there are some misconceptions surrounding how to get the most out of your product as well as it’s uses and function.
Untruth 1: All moisturisers are created equal.
There is a vast array of moisturisers to choose from on the market, but they are not all the same and will give widely differing results even if they offer the same thing. Cheaper moisturisers tend to mask the most common problems i.e. dry skin, but they don’t actively combat the issue, and sometimes they can actually make your skin condition worse i.e. dryer, requiring you to use more product to try and tackle the problem which creates a vicious cycle. Investing in a brand that has the same values that you do, and that provide products that have a high percentages of good quality ingredients, with proven results, will be the best value for money in the long run.
Untruth 2: Your skin will become dependant on a moisturiser.
Skin cannot become dependant on a moisturiser. Moisturisers are used to prevent and treat your skin problems. Everyone’s skin ages, but by using preventative skincare you can reduce the ageing effects, namely by locking moisture into your skin. Wind, cold temperatures and UV rays all cause damage to the skin, as does everyday pollution. We also often don’t drink enough water or eat the right foods, so it is important to give your skin an extra boost of hydration to protect it from problems that can occur from this, like eczema.
Untruth 3: Your lips may become addicted to lip balm
Using a lip balm does not make your lips need more moisture. However if you are finding your lips becoming dryer after using a lip balm, the formula simply may not be right for you. Lip balms containing beeswax or cocoa butter are often the most effective as they are non-toxic, non-drying and a natural alternative to keep your lips soft and smooth.
Untruth 4: If a moisturiser contains SPF I don’t need sunscreen.
To ensure your skin is better protected, use a sunscreen that moisturises, not a moisturiser with SPF in it. For days when UV rays are not too strong, a low SPF moisturiser is fine, but for a day on the beach you must ensure you are using a high SPF to avoid harmful skin damage.