Does Everyone Need To Use A Moisturizer?

astral original moisturizer

We all know the mantra: cleanse, tone and moisturize. But is the last step really necessary for everyone? Contrary to popular belief, no. Not everyone needs a moisturizer. But what is a moisturizer anyway? A moisturizer is a product especially designed to improve the moisture levels of the skin and repair its natural protective layer thus keeping it hydrated and soft. Now, our skin already produces its own moisturizer, which is called sebum, but sometimes this alone just isn’t enough to keep skin naturally moisturized and a moisturizer is needed. But when? And who needs to use to it?

Who doesn’t need a moisturizer

If you have normal skin, then your skin is already producing the right amount of sebum it needs to keep it moisturized and thus, using a moisturizer isn’t really needed. The only exception is when, under extreme environmental conditions (like when the weather is too cold for instance), the skin’s protective barrier gets damaged and skin becomes unable to retain the moisture it needs. In this case, you need a moisturizer to replenish the moisture that’s been lost and repair the skin’s barrier. Those with oily skin too don’t need to use a moisturizer. That’s because oily skin produces too much sebum on its own and, as annoying as that may be, it ensures that your skin already has all the moisture it needs. Using a moisturizer in this case, may make skin worse and greasier, not better.

Who needs a moisturizer

People with combination skin need a moisturizer only on those areas of their face that are dry. That’s usually the cheeks, so they should apply a moisturizer there and skip the oilier T-zone. It’s those with dry skin who need moisturizers the most and it’s mainly for them that these products are designed. Dry skin simply doesn’t produce enough sebum to keep skin naturally moisturized, is often flaky and feels tight. People with dry skin need to use a moisturizer daily to keep their skin in good condition.

Don’t confuse moisturizers with antiaging products

There seems to be a popular belief that moisturizers are formulated to prevent and fight premature aging. That’s not true. Not always anyways. The ingredients that help fight the signs of aging are retinoids, antioxidants and sunscreen agents and most moisturizers on the market either don’t contain them or contain them in concentrations that are too small to be effective. Thus, most of them are just basic formulas that replenish lost moisture and repair the skin’s protective barrier, which are important functions, but not needed by everyone. If you have oily or normal skin, you’d want to skip a moisturizer and invest in a good antiaging serum instead.

The bottom line

Moisturizers are products designed to improve the skin’s moisture levels, and as such they are needed only when skin doesn’t produce enough sebum (its natural moisturizer) on its own. Some people may never need a moisturizer, others may need it only in winter but not in summer, while others may need to slather it on only on some areas of the face and not on others. As a general rule, you should apply moisturizer only when (and where) your skin feels dry, tight and looks flaky. Otherwise skip a moisturizer and only use an antiaging serum instead. You’ll save money and your skin will thank you.

Do you use a moisturizer?

18 Comment

  1. i have always used a moisturizer, despite having oily skin. I noticed that if I don’t use it, my skin goes into an even oilier state sometimes, or it just doesn’t feel right.

    I think the key to people with oily skin in using a moisturizer is to make sure it’s oil free, so it doesn’t get worst. Most of the blogs/ reviews I read (from Taiwan, Japan and Korea) has always said that having oily skin doesn’t mean your skin is well hydrated. They say our skin produce even more sebum to compensate the lacking of moisture in our skin. Not sure how true this is though, but I believe there is some truth in it. Haha.

    By the way, was wondering like those moisturizers which are to be of the anti aging range like olay/ neutrogena or other brands, does it mean it’s still not sufficient for the anti aging ingredients for it to work, and it would be better off to use a anti aging serum instead?

    Sorry for the long post, but I had to ask :P I hope you don’t mind.
    plue´s last blog post ..The Bodyshop Blue Corn 3-in-1 Deep Cleansing MaskMy Profile

    • Plue, I actually enjoyed your long comment and of course I don’t mind. :)

      I think, at the end of the day, everyone’s skin is different and we need to use the products that best suits our needs. If your oily skin needs a moisturizer, by all means use it. And I definitely agree that if you have oily skin and want to use a moisturizer, you need to choose an oil-free one not to make things worse.

      As for antiaging moisturizers and serums, they are both effective as long as they contain high enough concentrations of antioxidants and retinoids. I just think that serums are better suited to those with oily skin though because they have a lighter texture.

  2. I have comb/oily skin and acne prone skin. Moisturizers (even the ones from the pharmacy formulated for acne skin) give me bad acne! SPF moisturizers are like a film of grease on my face (I really don’t like them). I just don’t get it when people complain that sunscreen makes them breakout and wear moisturizer everyday all over their face. Moisturizer breaks me out and I as long I use a pharmacy brand face sunscreen for oily/comb skin and remove it in the end of day, I don’t have big problems.

    • Cristina, I’m sorry to hear that moisturizers make you break out. At least you know what you have to avoid… I’m also glad you find something that works well for you without side effects. :)

  3. I only use a facial moisturiser where I need it and it’s rare that I put any on my forehead as it stays oily throughout the day and I know this because I’m always blotting it with oil blotters.

    I put whipped or thick body butter on my legs as they get the driest and then use a body lotion on the rest of me. I have to maintain softness at all times! lol
    Annabella Freeman´s last blog post ..Annabella’s review – Okeanos Spa Aruba Part 1My Profile

    • Amanda, by moisturizer I mean a product whose purpose is to add moisture/water to the skin. That’s something that not all skin types need as skin already has its own natural moisturizer. Most women use it anyway just because we are taught we have to cleanse, tone and moisturize but the truth is that not everyone needs the last step. Some moisturizers though do contain antioxidants or SPF and these can be used by all skin types as they help fight wrinkles and premature aging, which is something everyone needs.

  4. Even though I have oily skin I like to use a moisturiser, because my skin gets dehydrated even though it’s oily on top, if that makes sense. It gets tight and dry feeling when its cold, so I like to use a really little bit of organic rosehip oil or something similar – I find that since that’s quite close to the skin’s oils, it regulates my skin really well. I find mattifying moisturisers okay for the first few hours, but then my skin tries to compensate for the oil loss by producing even MORE oil.
    Alex´s last blog post ..We are the University (Auckland)My Profile

    • Alexz, if your skin feels tight and dry, then it definitely needs a moisturizer. I’m glad you found something that works well for you. I have tried mattifying moisturizers on my oily t-zone but they didn’t work that well for me either..

  5. Actually people with oily skin do need moisturizer, because they use quite strong cleansers to remove all the excess oil and their skin gets dried out, so if they don’t use some moisturizer their skin will produce more oil than usual to make up for the lost moisture. So, a very light moisturizer (gel for example) is needed ;) x
    Stavroula @drugstoreandbargainlover´s last blog post ..Giveaway : Swarovski Ring of your choice from Chunky Bling (US and Canada)My Profile

    • Stavroula, I think it depends on the person and the cleanser they use. Some people may not need a moisturizer after cleansing, while others may find their skin dry afterwards in which case they need one. And I agree with you that it has to be a light one such as a gel.

  6. so true! for years I have used nothing but a hydraulic acid toner for my post-cleasing skincare while occasionally using a moisturizer when it’s dry (esp in Europe). In Asia (where I used to live), the high humidity explains why moisturizer is not always necessary, however, many women still buy into the marketing BS concocted by the cosmetics companies.

    • Sugar, I agree. We’re so used to being told that moisturizer is always necessary that very often we don’t question it and keep using it even when it’s not needed. Instead, we should just listen to our skin and use only the products it really needs.

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