The skin is largely comprised of water, and as such, hydration plays a vital role in its health and beauty. Frequent moisturization is necessary to maintain smooth, soft, and radiant skin.
Moisturizers are products that when applied to the skin, protect water content by either forming a barrier to prevent evaporative water loss and/or drawing moisture from the surrounding areas to the area in which the moisturizer is applied. Moisturizers can be in the form of ointments, creams, and lotions.
Frequency of moisturization depends on the environment. During fall and the harsh winter months, relative humidity is often lowest, and frequent moisturization is necessary to vulnerable areas of skin such as the face, arms, and legs. A heavier cream based moisturizer is recommended for these drier seasons. During the spring and summer months, moisturization can be less frequent, and a lotion based moisturizer may often be sufficient for summer months. Your skin type will also influence the amount of moisturization needed. Oiler areas of the body such as the T-zone of the face may not require any additional moisturization.
Moisturizers for the face should be a higher quality product. I often recommend a non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free cream based moisturizer for nighttime use and a lighter counterpart for daytime use. Long term and frequent usage of moisturizers can be helpful in both reducing medical skin problems such as eczema, as well as decreasing fine wrinkles and lines that develop with age. Studies have found that even open skin wounds heal faster when maintained in a moist environment.
The market is filled with “super” moisturizers that also contain other ingredients such as retinols and antioxidants for additional anti-aging benefits. If not too irritating to your skin, this may be a good “all-in-one” solution. However, for people with sensitive skin or those who are already on a topical retinoid, a pure and simple moisturizer is sufficient to maintain a beautiful complexion.