How to Choose the Best Moisturiser for Dry Skin
There are few things more troublesome than dry, dehydrated skin. Depending on the severity, the condition can range from an uncomfortable and unsightly nuisance to being downright painful.
Whether the dry, itchy irritation is the result of genetics or a lack of moisture in the skin due to environmental and lifestyle factors– a good moisturiser can go a long way towards finding relief.
That said, not all moisturisers are created equal. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. Here are some factors to keep in mind when selecting a product to help manage and relieve dry skin.
Why is moisturiser important?
Though the symptoms are similar, dry skin and dehydrated skin are actually two different things.
Strictly speaking, dry skin is a skin type wherein the skin itself does not produce enough of the natural oils it needs to retain water and protect against irritation. Dehydrated skin is a condition that can affect anyone, and is caused when there is not enough moisture in the skin’s top layer, the stratum corneum. It’s actually possible to have dry skin that is also dehydrated.
In either circumstance, a good moisturiser is key. This is because a moisturiser works to both replenish the water content of the skin by trapping moisture in the top layer as well as drawing moisture in from the atmosphere.
Which moisturiser is best for dry skin?
Ingredients are key. To reap the maximum potential benefits from a moisturiser, it’s important to find a product that contains humectants and emollients.
- Humectants pull in moisture from the environment to increase the skin’s water content, these include; glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, propylene glycerol, urea and lactic acid.
- Emollients help lubricate the surface of the skin, and include lanolin, jojoba oil, isopropyl, palmitate, squalene and glycerol stearate.
Many moisturisers only focus on one of these key ingredient types, so it’s worth taking the time to check the ingredients list to make sure. By choosing a product with both, you’re tackling the problem from several directions rather than just focusing on one component.
How do I incorporate moisturiser in my daily routine?
Once you’ve found the right moisturiser, apply morning and night. Take care to bathe or shower in luke warm, rather than hot water. According to the American Dermatological Institute, if you’re struggling with dry skin, deodorant soaps should be avoided as these can further strip the natural oils from the skin. Moisturise straight after your bath or shower, when your skin is still a bit damp to help to seal in the moisture and prevent further water loss.
When it comes to looking after the skin of one area of the body vs another, it may be helpful to think about it in terms of skin thickness or the number of what’s called “skin appendages”. Skin appendages refer to oil glands, sweat glands and hair follicles. Generally speaking, areas with a greater number of skin appendages, like the face, heal faster, but are more reactive.
Surprisingly, there isn’t that much difference in the formulations of lotions or creams created for the face as compared to the body, however the skin of the face tends to be a bit more sensitive. As a general rule, the daily moisturiser you use on your face can absolutely be used on the body, but not necessarily the other way around.
By selecting the right product and taking care to incorporate moisturising into your daily routine, dry, itchy and irritated skin will likely become a thing of the past.