Top 5 Moisturizer Ingredients for Great Skin
Whether it’s winter, summer, spring or fall, our skin gets dry from time to time. When that happens, we reach for lotion. We all check the ingredients in our food, but what about our moisturizers?
What you put inside your body is just as important as what you put outside on the surface of your skin, but it can be difficult to figure out what’s good and what’s bad when you don’t know where to begin.
In this article, we’ll go over the ingredients you want to avoid when you pick out new products for your skincare regime, and which ones you want to keep an eye out for.
What are Moisturizers For, Really?
When you’re looking for a moisturizer, what you’re most often looking for is a cure for dry, itchy, flakey skin. You might also be concerned about softening the appearance of wrinkles, or perhaps you have eczema and need a moisturizer designed for this skin condition.
Any well formulated moisturizer will plump up your skin, but there are different products designed for different needs. Your skin is unique, so it’s important you know what it needs.
The Best Ingredients
For those looking to soothe dry skin and retain moisture in harsh environments or cold weather, you’ll want a thick cream that provides dense moisturization. Occlusive creams contain dimethicone, panthenol, petrolatum, paraffin, and lanolin. These ingredients seal in moisture, providing a barrier around your skin to protect it from the environment. This makes it the best choice for the winter, dusty, or highly polluted areas.
Thin, light moisturizers are best for those in humid or hot environments. If you have oily skin, layering a thick moisturizer on is ineffective. Your skin won’t absorb it properly. You can apply thinner moisturizers to wear during the day and thicker creams during the night. This way they’re given plenty of time to absorb into your skin, and won’t rub off, like they might during a busy day out.
When applying any moisturizer on your skin, it’s best to do so when you’re fresh out of the shower—especially if they contain ingredients like glycerine or hyaluronic acid. These ingredients help your skin absorb moisture and plump up your skin and smooth wrinkles in the process. Since hyaluronic acid allows your skin to absorb more moisture, following up with another moisturizer will allow it to sink deeper into your skin.
Products with natural ingredients are best for those with sensitive skin. For example, formulas with propolis extract or beeswax are gentle on the skin, while providing the same moisturization that creams packed with chemicals do. If you’ve ever suffered from allergic reactions from moisturizers or skincare products before, chances are the abundance of chemicals or fragrances is what irritated your skin. In these cases, the less chemicals, the better.
If your skin is dry or sensitive, you’ll want to be extra vigilant when avoiding harmful ingredients. Everyone’s skin is different, so what might suit your skin type might not suit others. The needs of your skin change with the season, so it’s worth keeping that in mind when you go shopping for new products.
The Worst Ingredients
The most likely reason a moisturizer irritates your skin or even causes an allergic reaction is because of synthetic colors and fragrances, which sensitize your skin.
Synthetic colors and fragrances sensitize skin and should be avoided. Although that sweet-smelling lotion feels luxurious, the chemicals sit on your skin all day, and can cause irritation over time. Some fragrances to watch out for are lavender oil, eugenol, rose flower extract, linalool, parfum, and any food agent, such as peppermint (mentha piperita) or cinnamon, to name a few.
When your shampoo lathers in your hair, or your face wash foams up on your skin, the cause is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). Surfactants are in 90% of personal care products because of their foaming properties. They’re known to be skin, lung and eye irritants. Foaming face washes are often marketed toward those with acne or oily skin, and can leave skin feeling tight, sensitive, or dry. This reaction is caused by surfactants. Make no mistake: that stinging sensation isn’t cleansing, it’s a deep irritation caused by chemicals as they strip the natural oil from the surface of your skin!
Propylene glycol is an organic alcohol commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent. It aids in the absorption of water in the air. It’s a sensitizing agent, so if your skin is already suffering from dryness or sensitivity, then you’ll want to avoid any products with alcohol in it. It will only worsen the pre-existing problems with your skin. If you see alcohol at the top of the ingredients list of any product, it’s best to look for an alternative. In low doses, it’s nothing to worry about.
Benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate are all chemicals that can be found in sunscreen products. These chemicals absorb into your skin to protect against ultraviolet rays. Because of that, sunscreens can irritate those that have sensitive skin. Luckily, not all sunscreens contain these ingredients. Finding a sunscreen formula that doesn’t irritate your skin is critical. Sun damage can cause premature aging and increase the risk of skin cancer.
What products you choose depend on your skin type’s needs. If you live in a hot environment where the sun is always out, then you’ll need a product that moisturizes without melting off in the heat. If you’re acne prone but have dry skin, you’ll need gentle moisturizers with natural ingredients. Understanding your skin is the key to keeping it happy!
We hope this article helped you understand what goes into the products you put on your skin, and that you can find skincare products with exactly what you need.
- Alyssa Naccarato