If you occasionally have dry skin this post in intended to help. Moisturizers essential function is to hydrate the skin and give it that soft and smooth feel. When choosing a moisturizer there are many options out there, so here are some key concepts to remember.
The products that contain the most water, (from most to least) is as follows:
Lotion > Cream > Ointment
In general, there are 3 main ingredients to look for:
1. Humectants - this ingredient is water-loving, it pulls water up from the lower layers of the skin to the top. Also, it can pull water from the air, but if the environment is low humidity, then this wont matter. Some common humectants you might see are glycerin, hylaluronic acid, honey, lactic aicd, sorbitol, and urea.
2.Occlusives - this ingredient does not love water. They are protective, hold water/prevent evaporation in that has been supplied by a moisturizer or a soak in water. Some common occlusives you might see are petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil, paraffin, and the silicones (dimethicone and cyclomethicone).
3. Emollients - this ingredient is a little trickier. Generally speaking, emollients make the skin smooth and soft. They do this by filling in rough spots on the top layer of the skin and emollients don’t affect the water content. Some common emollients you might see are castor oil, cholesterol, propylene glycol, and fatty acids.
So now we know that these three general ingredients have the main function to retain water in the skin and that gives that smooth, soft feel.
Other tips to help with dry skin:
1. Hydrate - Drink water throughout the day will help give you that smooth and soft feel in your skin.
2. The Air Around You - Hot air will be drier than cooler air, so having cooler temperatures will help and humidifiers can also help (be aware of moisture soaked up by the walls). Cold, windy air is drying, so wear protective clothing, like scarfs and gloves.
3. Warm, not hot water - While bathing or showering, hot water can affect the oil in the skin that is keeping the water in.
4. Wear loose clothing - materials that bind and rub your skin can have a drying effect.
This list is not complete list of ingredients and please consult a pharmacist or your dermatologist for further information.