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?