2 types of moisturizers
There are basically two types of moisturizer; facial moisturizer and body moisturizer.
- Facial moisturizer is usually designed to avoid any allergic reactions (red spots, itching, dryness,…), and most importantly, acne (non-comedogenic). The use of certain medications such as anti-acne treatments can produce considerable facial dryness especially during winter. This is why the careful choice of the right moisturizer is important: you have to pick one that suits your skin type and the treatment you’ve been prescribed.
- Eye Contour moisturizer is a particular type of face moisturizer. The skin of the eye contour area is the finest and most delicate of your face, making that much more vulnerable. That is why it is prone to dehydration and loss of both elasticity and firmness, which is further exacerbated by constant muscular movement (squinting, blinking, etc.) As a result, it is the area where the first visible signs of premature aging (fine lines, crows’ feet, etc.), stress and fatigue (puffiness, bags under the eyes) appear.
- Body moisturizer is a must, regardless of males or females, and different skin types. Cold and winter cause skin becomes dry and flake, and dry skin becomes itchy and discomfort. Body moisturizer is usually light textured, easy to spread, and must be used frequently on all body surface from neck to toes.
- Hands moisturizer is a particular type of body moisturizer. Hands are constantly exposed to water, chemical detergents and weather changes, thus becoming chapped and or cracked quickly. Hands moisturizer must have a protecting and healing function as well as a hydration and nourishing one.
4 classes of textures
There are four basic classes of moisturizer; ointments, oils, creams (emulsions) and lotions. They are listed in decreasing order of moisturizing power.
Ointment moisturizer has the greatest ability to trap moisture in the skin, but it has the greasy consistency and feel of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. People often shy away from using it because of the greasy feel, but this can be minimized by applying a small amount and rubbing it into the skin well.
Oil moisturizer is less greasy but still effective. Examples of oils that can be applied directly to the skin include baby oil, mineral oil, vegetable oil, and bath oil. Bath oils used in the bath water make the tub too slippery and should not be used. It is preferable to apply bath oils after getting out of the tub or shower, just as you would other moisturizer, directly to damp skin. Then, a light towelling off is recommended, to partially dry the skin.
Cream moisturizer is a semi-solid emulsion which is a mixture of oil and water. This category is divided into two types:
Oil-in-water (O/W) creams which are composed of small droplets of oil dispersed in a continuous phase; they are more comfortable and cosmetically accepted as they are less greasy and easily washed off by water.
Water-in-oil (W/O) creams which are composed of small droplets of water dispersed in a continuous oily phase. Water-in-oil creams moisturize better as they provide an oily barrier which reduces water loss of the skin.
Cream moisturizer is usually white. It is absorbed by the skin when rubbed, without leaving any greasy feel. As a result it tends to be more popular than ointments.
Lotion moisturizer is a suspension of oily chemicals in alcohol and water. Lotion moisturizer is generally the least greasy and the most pleasant to use, therefore quite popular. However, because of its alcohol content, it can be somewhat drying when used repeatedly compared to ointments and creams.
Sensitive skin, beware!
Some moisturizers contain chemicals that can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people (e.g., fragrances, preservatives, urea, lanolin,..).
So, what is the right moisturizer type for your skin?
Within a given moisturizer class, the choice of which one to use is a matter of personal preference and skin type. The bottom line is: the greaser the skin, the lighter a moisturizer’s texture should be. Do not hesitate to adjust moisturizers’ class with the change of seasons. What is perfect for your skin during summer will not moisturize enough in winter.
And remember, to be fully effective, it is necessary to use a moisturizer at least twice daily; the most important time during the day is right after a short lukewarm bath or shower.