Cleanse, tone, moisturize — these make up the foundation of a good skincare regimen. Of course, over the years, this three-step process has turned into a thoroughly elaborate routine (ever heard of the Japanese or Korean 12-step skincare regimen?). But clearly, moisturizing is an essential component of keeping skin looking young and healthy.
To ensure that moisturizing delivers the results it promises and doesn’t cause skin issues, dermatologists and facialists say there are vital points to consider. Here are seven essential lessons about using moisturizer that you should know:
1. Daily exfoliation is a must to optimize the benefits of a moisturizer.
Because moisturizer is such an emollient product, it tends to have a “gluing” effect on the skin. Therefore, if you do not exfoliate every day, applying moisturizer will be like gluing dead skin in place. This will prevent your new and best-looking skin from coming to the surface and absorbing your moisturizer and other skin boosters’ miraculous benefits.
Suffice it to say, if you enjoy the soft and smooth feel that moisturizer gives your skin, make sure to exfoliate every day, especially if you live in a hot and humid environment. Consult a skin aesthetician on what particular type of moisturizer is perfect for your specific skin type.
2. Always use a moisturizer that is compatible with your skin type.
If you tend to gravitate toward luxury skincare products, you’re already doing something good for your skin. However, it’s crucial to factor in that the most compatible skincare is one that has ingredients which directly target your specific needs. Thus, when you’re looking for a fully effective moisturizer, have your skin assessed by a beauty expert first and open your mind to product options to match your skin type.
For some people, niche brands are better options because they often have a more extensive line. This means they offer more formulations to target unique skin types accurately. So, if you have never tried less-known niche skincare moisturizers, now is the time to experiment with them.
3. Hyaluronic acid is an excellent moisturizer.
When it comes to potent moisturizers, hyaluronic acid or HA is definitely among the top players. It smoothes out fine lines and wrinkles (as proven by traditional sake makers in Japan who work with fermented rice rich in HA).
What HA does is it draws water to the skin and locks moisture in, similar to what glycerin does. However, most HA serums or moisturizers tend to be not as sticky as other moisturizers, making them rather ideal to use in humid climates. Also, because it’s so potent, if you use HA serum, you usually don’t have to apply moisturizer afterwards because HA is hydrating enough.
4. The wrong moisturizer can send the wrong signals to your skin.
The accurate moisturizer formula can genuinely make a whole world of difference in your skin elasticity, texture, and overall appearance. This is why we can’t stress enough on how crucial it is to have your skin assessed by a skin expert before buying any essence, serum, and moisturizer.
The common problem when using the wrong formula of moisturizer is that it can send the wrong signals for your skin. Your glands can either increase or decrease sebum production due to these wrong signals, completely messing up your skin’s natural balance and potentially creating new skin woes.
5. Your skin’s initial reaction to a moisturizer is typically accurate.
Let’s say you’ve decided to switch to a different moisturizer and you automatically spot breakouts (redness, milia, and pimples); this means the product is too thick for your skin. As such, it’s best to revert to your old one, unless it has ceased to be effective on you.
It may seem like a complete waste to throw out a new moisturizer that is perfect, except not for your skin. What you can do instead is to use it as a targeted treatment for less sensitive skin on your body, such as your elbows, knees, feet, and hands.
Extra tip: If you have really dry hands, slather the thick face moisturizer all over them and wear gloves. Come morning, you will have soft, supple hands.
6. A moisturizing and fragrant shampoo is often the reason behind back-ne (back acne).
There’s some bad news for those who love the way milky, fragrant moisturizing shampoos make their hair soft, manageable, bouncy, and delicious-smelling. Dermatologists have weighed in, and these shampoos are some of the leading reasons for back acne or back irritation.
If you have been suffering from zits on your neck and back, perhaps it’s time to make the switch to those clear shampoos that have a mild scent. But if you don’t want to give up this kind of shampoo, you may want to take a longer time rinsing your body every time you bathe. Some people also advise adding scrubbing the body thoroughly to get rid of the slick ingredients of the moisturizing shampoo from your back.
And if you must have good-smelling hair, mist your hair with your favorite perfume. The best way to do this is by spritzing your perfume in the air and walking through that “air spot.”
7. Don’t just smear moisturizer onto your skin; pat it vigorously.
Japanese and Korean beauty gurus strongly advise patting the skin vigorously after applying moisturizer. According to them, heat created by the patting motion increases the skin’s ability to absorb moisturizer. In fact, even when they use moisturizing face mist, they still love to pat it dry to ensure absorption instead of evaporation.
Different skin experts will have different recommendations regarding moisturizers, but at the end of the day, you’re the one who’ll see what works for you. So aim to find an effective moisturizer at a beauty bar and follow a skin routine that includes using a moisturizer to enhance the look of your skin and keep it well-hydrated.
Nick Vinckier is Head of Growth at Chalhoub Group, the largest luxury retailer in the Middle East. In his current role, he focuses on taking Faces.com from 0 to 1, transforming the beauty retailer into the fastest growing online beauty platform of the GCC.