FUN FACT: Did you know that moisturisers have actually been around for approximately 10,000 years?! Native Americans would use certain types of animal fats, while Brazilians and Africans would use ingredients such as palm oil and avocados. Lotions made from olive and sesame oil were even found at Ancient Egyptian burial sites, when ‘Keeping up with Cleopatra’ was popular and nobody had heard of the Kardashians.
With such a long history, it comes as no surprise that there are lots of proven benefits to using a moisturiser, but recently it feels like moisturisers have taken the backseat to the increasingly popular facial serums. There are some fabulous moisturisers on the market and as a dermal nerd, I’m advocating for the return of the moisturiser, as I believe that it should be included to complement and enhance our routines, not get pushed to the side. The beauty of this underrated, nourishing product is that there’s a wide variety of leading ingredients, specially formulated to suit any and all skin types.
What does moisturiser do?
It’s not a legal requirement to apply a moisturiser daily (does anyone know how to pass legislation?!) however most skin types will benefit from using one. A moisturiser will not necessarily CORRECT particular skin concerns; however it will nourish and protect our skin’s barrier (the outermost layer of the epidermis). It can lock in, as well as contribute, to all of the good stuff in our skin such as moisture, fatty acids, and ceramides, and will give your skin the protective kick it needs to look extra plump, glowy and soft!
Best moisturiser for dry skin
Let’s firstly address why the skin is dry - could it be that you’re not exfoliating? Are you using harsh toners and stripping agents that are highly fragranced? Not drinking enough water? If you’ve ruled out obvious causes such as these, you may have dry skin as your skin type. Those with dry skin will naturally have lower sebaceous activity, where very little oil is naturally produced, and if left untouched dry skin unfortunately has the potential to highlight lines and wrinkles as collagen starts to cave in. But never fear! There are moisturisers out there which contain specially formulated ingredients to counteract the signs of dryness, and some of the most effective moisturisers I’ve personally tried and tested all include the following:
A derivative of olive oil and sugar, this is a truly moisture-rich ingredient that is non-comedogenic – meaning it won’t clog your pores! It is a 100% saturated fatty acid that has been formed through a process of hydrogenation using its predecessor, squalEne (with an E). On its own, squalene (with an E) is a naturally occurring, highly unstable compound that can cause breakouts, whereas the more shelf-stable squalane (with an A) is perfect for use in skincare products like moisturisers. Products containing squalane are particularly effective for those who suffer with dry conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatment by Skin Better Science contains high amounts of squalane, along with sodium hyaluronate, macadamia oil, and plenty of quality ceramides, which are all essential ingredients for a healthy cell membrane and for more radiant, supple skin.
Butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter)
Shea butter is an essential fat extracted from the nuts of an African shea tree. This ingredient also contains vitamin E, which is a popular antioxidant known for its skin healing properties. Shea Butter has hit the moisturiser trifecta – it is a humectant, an occlusive AND an emollient. Humectant ingredients attract and retain moisture, occlusive ingredients create a barrier to prevent water loss, and emollients smooth skin by filling in the cracks between cells. You can find this all-encompassing ingredient in our DermaQuest Nourishing Peptide Cream, which is a very decadent and deliciously rich product and is perfect for someone with a dry skin type who wants to focus on anti-ageing. A small word of warning - this ingredient may not be suitable for users who have nut allergies.
Sunflower seed oil
Sunflower seed oil has natural emollient properties and contains 41% vitamin E. It is rich in nutrients and antioxidants and is effective in treating concerns such as redness and irritation. It is made up of the compounds oleic acid, linoleic acid and sesamol which have the ability to replenish, strengthen and soothe skin. The sunflower oil used in cooking is highly processed and high in omega-6 which can cause inflammation in the body, but the sunflower seed oil used in skincare products like moisturiser are carefully and specially formulated with top quality grade oil, so it won’t have that same adverse effect. Aspect Dr Resveratrol moisturiser contains sunflower seed oil as its primary base and it’s one that clients will purchase over and over again. It’s a no brainer considering it also includes RESVERATROL – one of the best antioxidants on the market which is extracted from wine grapes.
Best moisturiser for oily skin
An oily skin will overproduce sebum which is a fatty substance that can leave a greasy finish on the surface of the skin. There are many reasons why this could occur - hormones, genetics and diet are a few key factors. Interestingly, even dehydration (AKA not drinking enough water!) could cause your skin to become overcompensate and produce too much sebum, leading to clogged pores and acne. There are many moisturisers that will help fix this problem and rebalance the skin. Many supermarket-grade moisturisers marketed for an oily skin type include high amounts of alcohols, meaning short term you will see your oils reduce, however too much alcohol causes dehydration so eventually that oil will come back with vengeance, leaving your skin in a sticky mess! Lighter, gel-cream consistency moisturisers that are oil free can be wonderful for an oilier skin. Below are a couple of my top ingredients to look for in a moisturiser for oily skin:
Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in our connective tissue and the dermis of our skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it can draw water and hold a thousand times its weight. It’s commonly used in cosmetic dermal fillers and has fantastic anti-ageing benefits. Look for the ingredients sodium PCA and sodium hyaluronate in your moisturiser, because both of them have a smaller molecular structure which will help to better penetrate the skin. DermaQuest b5 Moisture Matte is packed full of sodium hyaluronate, and for healthy sebum production it is the equivalent of drinking 8 glasses of water. As an added bonus this product also includes lilac stem cells (known for its anti-inflammatory powers) as well as panthenol b5. I would highly recommend this one for an oily skin prone to breakouts – it’s certainly more of a GEL moisturiser with a mattifying effect, yet still extremely hydrating!
Panthenol is a b5 provitamin and works as a humectant as well as an emollient which helps to hydrate and soften our skin. Panthenol has some fantastic anti-inflammatory properties, it also prompts wound healing, and is overall very effective in regenerating the skin. A scientific study conducted in 2014 consisted of 25 women who used panthenol for 4 weeks, and all had a drastic reduction in oil production!
You’ll find panthenol in most of our everyday products such as hair care and makeup, but keep in mind that just because something has panthenol in it doesn’t mean that it’s a great product. We need to look at what else is packed into the moisturiser alongside the panthenol, because if it’s a bunch of toxic chemicals such as SLS, perfume and parabens then the panthenol is going to be overshadowed. Aspect Dr Ultra Light Hydration includes a decent amount of panthenol as well as other quality ingredients such as vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, and I really love the gel-cream formula as it doesn’t feel greasy - just light and fluffy! If you feel like your skin is a combination of dry and oily this moisturiser could also work very well for you.
Best moisturiser for combination skin
If your skin feels neither dry or oily and fairly balanced, it’s still worth moisturising because after all, it is our largest organ and will need some TLC from time to time. Our skin needs effective ingredients to maintain skin health and if I’m honest it’s quite rare as a dermal clinician to come across a perfectly hydrated skin. I would suggest focusing on antioxidant rich moisturisers that will hydrate, protect and preserve our skin, to prevent damage from certain lifestyle and environmental factors such as sun exposure and free radicals. There is a common misconception that our skin becomes dependant on moisturising once we start, but this has proven to be false. Our skin doesn’t necessarily become reliant on moisturiser, but moisturising can provide the nourishment that your skin may be lacking, making it feel healthier and happier in the same way that eating well and working out makes our body feel. I would suggest opting for more of a lotion type of moisturiser with equal amounts of water and oils rather than a heavier cream/mattifying gel.
Jojoba oil is a plant extract that is incredibly stable and closely mimics the oil we produce naturally. It contains vitamins E and D and is polyunsaturated unlike a product such as coconut oil which is highly saturated. Jojoba oil is not greasy and therefore is a suitable one for all skin types. It works well with glycerine (a humectant + emollient = moisturises and softens) which you’ll find as the base in most moisturisers and products. Skin Better Science Hydration Boosting Cream will suit absolutely anyone who feels that their skin is neither dry nor oily. Niacinamide (an essential form of vitamin B3) is the leading ingredient and the lightweight feel of this moisturiser makes me feel very passionate about it.
HAYLEY’S SKIN TIP - Get yourself some Essential Fatty Acids to take daily, as this will effectively hydrate the skin from the inside out. Essential Fatty Acids deficiency is one of the most common causes of skin problems relating to oil regulation and our Beauty Plus Oil by Bestow is specially formulated to deliver the best balance of healthy fats for clear, glowing skin. It is like witchcraft in a bottle, feeding the skin at a cellular level, improving the quality of skin sebum from deep within and dissolving existing skin blockages and we have seen amazing results in our clients who use this oil.
Best moisturiser for sensitive skin
Skin may become sensitised from using unsuitable products, from the use of medications or it can also be genetically sensitised, meaning that you’re born with this skin type. There are many characteristics of sensitive skin including: flushing, itching, red rashes and bumps, visible blood vessels and dry patches of eczema or psoriasis. Sensitive skin is very responsive to fragrance and may not be able to tolerate alpha hydroxyl acids or any products with a low PH as the skin’s PH levels are already unbalanced. As the acid mantle (our skin’s filter) becomes weak and compromised, certain products may burn and sting. Using a balm can significantly help to nurture and protect the delicate barrier of skin. Let’s take a look at some of the key ingredients you can be using to help calm and combat this:
Allantoin is a natural calming ingredient sourced from natural derivatives such as sugar beet, comfrey, camomile and wheat sprouts. It makes an excellent moisturising agent and well as increasing wound healing and cell longevity. Societe Calming Relief Balm contains an ample amount of Allantoin, botanicals such as sea whip extract and Aloe Vera. This product is definitely what you see is what you get, and it doesn’t last very long on our shelves due to its popularity. It has a silky balm feel that absorbs very well and is the perfect option for sensitive skin.
A highly favoured amongst Native Americans for its highly potent anti-irritant and anti-redness qualities, Willowherb also protects our skin from free radical damage (the scavengers that attach to and destroy the goodness in our skin). Cosmedix Intense Rescue Balm and Mask is an occlusive 2 in 1 treatment that can be used as an overnight moisturising mask or as an everyday moisturiser for drier, sensitive skin concerns. It is especially good for those who suffer with cracked/chapped skin, and the potent cherry bark antioxidant gives this moisturiser a delicious smell.
A few final words..
There is a reason why moisturisers have withstood the test of time for the last 10,000 years, and that’s because there really is a moisturiser out there to suit everyone and every skin type. Whether you’re suffering from dry or oily skin, sensitive skin or redness, or just want to maintain your healthy glow, the ingredients included in a quality moisturiser will prolong signs of aging, deeply nourish the skin, balance oil production and provide a protective barrier from environmental factors. Want to know which moisturiser is best suited to your skin? Contact us at the clinic to arrange a consultation, where we can answer this question for you along with any other queries that you may have. Until next time skin lovers, stay healthy and glowing!