In the pursuit of healthy, beautiful skin, finding the best moisturizer for your unique needs is important. There is no “one size fits all” and a well-formulated product will not only moisturize your skin, but it should also nourish and protect it from environmental damage.
The skincare market is crowded with products that claim to provide moisture in various forms - serums, gels, lotions, creams and balms - some with lofty claims and exotic-sounding ingredients. But what makes a moisturizer effective? And what makes it right for your needs?
Following are some super-star ingredients to look for when shopping for the best moisturizers for your skin.
Humectants are ingredients that draw and bind moisture to the skin. They are crucial for attracting and retaining moisture and keeping your skin well-hydrated. Look for things like glycerin, honey and hyaluronic acid (HA) in the ingredient list. These ingredients all have water-attracting properties that help to ensure your skin stays hydrated throughout the day. They also contribute to giving the skin a plump, smooth appearance.
This category of ingredients is good for every skin type, especially those with oily skin, as humectants tend to be lightweight and won’t feel heavy or greasy on the skin. Yes, oily skin still needs moisture. Our Yarrow Oil Free Moisturizing Gel is excellent for oily and sensitive skin types that need a gentle boost of moisture. If you have more sensitive skin, the Apple Stem Cell Radiance Serum is calming and helps rebuild a damaged moisture barrier. For dry and aging skin, the glycerin-rich Youth in Bloom Phytoactive Firming Serum is deeply hydrating.
Note: If you’re in a dry climate, humectants can actually make dry, dehydrated skin worse. This is because when humectants are present in these types of environments they have the ability to pull the moisture they are not getting from the environment from your skin. In this situation look for a product that pairs humectants with occlusives (discussed below). This combination of ingredients will work together to form a protective barrier that keeps the skin from losing moisture.
Emollients play a pivotal role in smoothing and softening your skin’s surface. Natural ingredients like jojoba oil, shea butter and cocoa butter are examples of excellent emollients. They create a protective barrier on the skin, sealing in moisture and preventing water loss. The result is a softer, stronger, more supple complexion. And while emollients are excellent ingredients for dry skin, those with oily or combination skin may find them too heavy. In the aos lineup the cocoa butter-rich Herbal Day and Night Creams are heavy-hitters for the driest of skin.
Occlusives are ingredients that are capable of forming a protective barrier on top of the skin helping to prevent water loss, keep skin hydrated and improve your skin’s barrier function. This class of ingredients, such as beeswax (we love beeswax!) and petrolatum (a synthetic ingredient we don’t use at aos Skincare), tend to be heavier than emollient ingredients. And, while emollients can penetrate the skin, occlusives sit on top of the skin.
Antioxidants are a category of ingredients that help protect your skin against environmental damage. Whether natural or synthetic, antioxidants are essential for combating free radicals, which can accelerate aging and cause damage to your skin cells. Vitamins C and E, green tea extract, resveratrol and goji berry are just a few powerful antioxidants commonly found in effective, well-formulated products. They neutralize free radicals and contribute to a healthy complexion. You can read all about the benefits of using Vitamin C to fight free radical damage here.
Every skin type can benefit from the inclusion of antioxidants in their moisturizers. In fact, the category of antioxidants is so large and their benefits so varied that, for optimal skin health, it is best to try and incorporate a mix of different antioxidants into your skincare routine. Those looking for a light, antioxidant-rich moisturizer should give the Goji Mate Ultralight Moisturizer a try. The lightweight, moisturizing formula is soothing to the skin and doubles as an excellent primer for makeup application.
Although ceramides could be included in the emollient category, their benefits are so numerous that they deserve to be noted separately. Ceramides are naturally occurring lipids that make up a significant portion of your skin’s outer layers. Decreased levels of ceramides can cause the skin barrier to weaken, making your skin more vulnerable to environmental damage.
This category of ingredients provides a plethora of benefits to the skin; they improve barrier function and hydration while improving suppleness when used in skincare formulations. Including plant-derived or synthetic ceramides in a moisturizer (you know we only use plants!) helps reinforce the skin barrier, preventing moisture loss and enhancing resilience.
All skin types will benefit from the inclusion of ceramides in a moisturizer. At aos, we have included ceramide-rich oils in all of our moisturizers.
For a deep dive into ceramides read Ceramides in Skin Care: Everything You Need to Know.
Reasons why you need to be using more than one moisturizer
- Your daytime moisturizer should always include a sunscreen. Your nighttime moisturizer does not need to include SPF protection.
- You may need to switch moisturizers seasonally.
- If you have combination skin, you may find that you need more moisture on your cheeks, neck and chest and less through the t-zone.
This is only a small list of some of the amazing ingredients that are included in well-formulated moisturizers. At aos, we thoughtfully build each formula to moisturize and protect your unique skin.
Unsure of which aos Skincare moisturizer to choose?
We’re here for you! We’re experts at helping you find the right product to bring your skin into a healthy and radiant balance. Please reach out. Free skin consults are what we do!
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