Understanding the Ingredients in Your Moisturiser
At this time of year it is vital for us over 50s to pay attention to our skin. This includes using a daily moisturiser to keep the condition of our skin at its best. Step into your local high street store, and you’re likely to be faced with a bewildering array of moisturising products. Even more confusingly, each make impressive claims about how they can improve the appearance of your skin, and it’s difficult to know which one to select.
The Fundamental Purpose of a Moisturiser
Few products are as heavily advertised as moisturisers. Many of them have names that suggest results that are nothing short of miraculous. As a result, it’s easy to lose sight of the fundamental purpose of a good moisturiser, which is to return moisture to the skin.
A decent moisturiser should be able to reduce tightness and dryness, soothe redness and encourage more orderly shedding of the skin, providing a more even appearance.
What is in moisturiser?
Here’s a quick guide to some of the more common ingredients inside moisturising creams.
- These ingredients act to ‘fill in the crevices’, making the surface of the skin appear smoother. Whilst they do not get rid of wrinkles, they can help to soften their appearance.
- Humectants draw water into the skin, serving to rehydrate it and give the appearance of softness and plumpness.
- Occlusives also help to maintain hydration in the skin, by slowing down evaporation. Occlusives often give moisturiser a greasy feel, though some silicone based occlusives feel less greasy.
- Some moisturisers also use ingredients containing antioxidants to help prevent damage to the skin by free radicals, which can be found in air pollution.
When Should You Apply Moisturiser?
Dermatologists tend to recommend applying a thin coating of moisturiser after your skin has been exposed to water, such as after a bath, shower or swimming. This can help to trap moisture in the skin and keep it hydrated. After washing the skin, pat dry with a towel to maintain a level of dampness, then apply your moisturiser.
It’s recommended to use moisturiser on your skin twice a day; though in the winter months, when central heating and cold temperatures can dry out the skin, you may want to apply more frequently.
There are many moisturisers available in the shops, and the good news is that most will offer some level of benefit for your skin. Conway Huang, an associate professor at Dermatologic Surgery and Cutaneous Laser Surgery at the University of Alabama, recommends being guided by your individual preferences, using ‘personal factors such as smell, consistency, effectiveness and price’ to make your decision.
Test moisturisers wherever possible, and assess how effective they are on your skin. For example, those with particularly dry skin may benefit more from a moisturiser with more humectants in the ingredients. Those who want to reduce the appearance of wrinkles may find moisturisers with emollients more beneficial.
If in doubt, ask for recommendations from friends and family, or even in your local high street shop. Bear in mind that, whilst some moisturisers are effective at boosting plumpness and smoothing the surface of your skin, no moisturiser can actively reverse the effects of aging, despite their claims to the contrary!
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