Your Quick and Dirty Guide to Choosing the Best Moisturizer for Your Skin
No matter your skin type or age, one thing is certain: you need a moisturizer. But choosing the right moisturizer for your skin is easier said than done. Your skin might be sensitive, oily, dry, or a combination of all of these. There are specific ingredients and types of moisturizers to look out for depending on your skin type.
But the options don’t end there: since the skin on your face has different needs from the skin on your hands, you need to consider different moisturizers for each. Oh, and let’s not forget the all-important skin down there. Don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you to help you choose the best moisturizer for your skin.
What’s my skin type?
Even if you think you know what your skin type is, you should check in with yourself every few years since your skin’s needs can change as you age. Discovering your skin type is actually pretty easy; many beauty blogs recommend this method: wash your face thoroughly, then wait a few hours for your skin to return to its natural state. How does your skin feel?
If your skin feels smooth with no oil or flakes, congratulations! You have normal skin – but you’re not off the hook and you still need a moisturizer. If your skin is shiny and oily, you’ve got oily skin. If it’s feeling tight, dry, and flaky, you have dry skin. And if you have a combination of slickness in some areas with dry patches in others, you have combination skin.
No matter your skin type (even you oily skin types out there), there is a moisturizer out there for you.
Here’s how to choose the best moisturizer for your…
There is a seemingly endless array of face creams out there, but there are a few general rules to live by. First, consider using a light cream moisturizer during the day. A good daytime moisturizer should contain SPF. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to prevent early skin aging and skin cancer.
Next, look for skin serums and creams that contain hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant that keeps skin looking young and supple. Since it’s so effective, you’ll find it in both high-end and drugstore brand products. Vitamin E is another powerhouse ingredient that has antioxidant properties and plays a role in the metabolism of cells.
Constant hand-washing, sanitizing, and exposure to the elements can take a huge toll on your hands, which is why it’s so important to give them some extra attention. Dry skin on your hands is incredibly common, especially during the harsh winter months. To combat this, a rich hand cream for both day and night will do the trick.
Look for hand creams with ceramides, which are lipids that help form the skin’s barrier and aids in retaining moisture. Glycerin is another heavy hitter for hand creams: one study showed that it dramatically improved moisture for those who used a cream with 20% glycerin for 10 days.
Also, if you’ve been neglecting to use SPF on your hands, now is the time to break that cycle. Your hands are frequently exposed, so be sure to protect them – you can simply layer your regular sunscreen underneath your hand cream before you head out for the day.
When it comes to finding the best moisturizer for your body, there are a few ways you can narrow down the dizzying amount of choices you have. First and foremost, choose one that is free of artificial fragrances and dyes, since they can easily irritate sensitive skin.
A body moisturizer with antioxidants like green tea or pomegranate can be exceptionally soothing for dry skin. Be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure they’re near the top of the list and therefore more likely to be effective. And once again, hyaluronic acid is an ideal ingredient for maintaining the skin’s natural moisture.
There are a few natural ingredients in body moisturizers that have generated some buzz recently. Coconut oil, for example, is a heavy-duty (and delicious-smelling) natural moisturizer that appears to have a million different benefits, including providing relief for dry skin. It’s generally safe to slather on your body, but you may want to think twice about putting it on your face, as it can clog pores.
Hemp oil is another natural ingredient with a veritable plethora of benefits, including moisturizing without clogging pores, balancing out oily skin, and even soothing inflammation. If you’ve never used it, be sure to test it out on a small patch of skin first to make sure it doesn’t cause irritiation.
You didn’t think we’d forget your most important parts, did you? Vaginal dryness – including vulvar itching and dryness – is a reality for menopausal women everywhere, but it’s also easy to relieve – with the right vaginal moisturizer, of course. But first, it’s important to remove any irritants from your skincare regimen. That means washing your vulva (all of the skin on the outer part of your vagina) with clean water only since soap can trigger irritation. Avoid all lotions, detergents, and bubble baths with fragrances and dyes.
Ok, now that we have a clean slate, let’s talk about vaginal moisturizers. Look for a water-based vaginal moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid. Not to sound like a broken record, but there’s a reason why hyaluronic acid appears in so many high-quality moisturizers: it’s one of the most powerful ways to restore your skin’s moisture barrier, which is so important for your sensitive bits. Vitamin E is another skin-loving ingredient that can soothe vaginal dryness and vulvar itching thanks to its antioxidant properties.
It’s also worth noting that vaginal moisturizers and vaginal lubricants are not the same thing: lubricants are intended for use at the time of sexual activity only, but vaginal moisturizers are intended for relieving dryness and vulva itching and should be used regularly.
Find the best moisturizer for your skin
As we age, our skin’s needs can change a lot. Use this guide to help analyze your skin type and choose the best moisturizer for your skin. Have more questions about skincare? Check out our post, 7 Myths About Menopause and Skin.