Moisturizers for Women's Dry Skincare | Creams and Lotions with AHAs and Humectants

There are hundreds of moisturizing products on the shelves. Costs can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. Moisturizers can help to seal in water. This is a good thing for dry skin, as it can help it feel better.

In addition to helping dry skin, moisturizers can also plump up wrinkles, so they appear less noticeable. Some moisturizers also contain ingredients that can exfoliate dry skin, which can help it look less flaky. Using moisturizers can even help you avoid the seasonal dry skin that happens in summer and winter. The lists of ingredients in moisturizers can sound confusing, but there are some basic ingredients to be aware of. Humectants are ingredients that attract water. In humid weather, they will draw moisture from the air to the skin. Emollients help to soften and smooth skin, and seal in the moisture. Examples include mineral oil and petroleum, which help to seal in water, but can clog pores if used in high concentration. Humectants and emollients are often combined in a single product.

Most moisturizers also contain water. There are differences in the ratio, with moisturizers that have more water feeling lighter. Other ingredients moisturizers can contain include:

  • vitamins and antioxidants - like what you get from foods and vitamin pills. Examples would include vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A.
  • dry skin exfoliants - Exfoliants such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or salicylic acids (which is the most commonly used beta hydroxy acid or BHA) cause the topmost layers of dead skin cells to shed, which leaves the skin looking fresher.
  • retinols - The class of drug called retinoids include retinoic acid (which you probably know by the brand names Renova and Retin-A) and retinol (which is basically a vitamin A alcohol). Retinol is less potent than retinoic acid, so it is less irritating, which is good for dry skin. It is also more widely available in over-the-counter products. Retinol acts like a humectant, which means it attracts moisture and plumps up the skin. It is also claimed that retinol can impact collagen and elastin in the skin.
  • sunscreen - Sunscreens are very important in skin care because they provide sun protection which helps keep the skin from aging and developing brown spots or age spots. Some moisturizers also have self-tanning ingredients which can give your skin a slightly darker appearance.
  • fragrance
  • preservatives

Moisturizers come in many forms such as ointments, creams and lotions. Each is slightly different in its composition and how it helps moisturize your skin.

  • Creams are mostly water with oil. Creams, because of the higher water content, must be applied more often than ointments to be most effective. Night creams tend to be heavier, and are best used in the evening. Day creams, which are lighter, can work best under make-up.
  • Ointments are a mix of water in oil, usually either lanolin or petrolatum. These tend to be heavier, and can be best for very dry skin as well as for aging skin.
  • Lotions contain powder crystals dissolved in water, which is the main ingredient. Because of the high water content, lotions feel cool on the skin and don't leave the skin feeling greasy. They are easy to apply compared to ointments and creams. But they don't have the same protective qualities. You may need to apply them more often.

Using moisturizers

Since moisturizers help to seal in water, it's good to apply them after your bath or shower, while your skin is slightly damp. Women often apply moisturizers to their face, before putting on make-up. For your hands, you may want to apply moisturizers every time you wash them, to prevent over-drying.

Unless you are allergic to them, moisturizers can be used indefinitely to treat dry skin. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to look for a moisturizer that has fewer ingredients, and least amount of preservatives.


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