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Moisturizers 101

Get ready for November by decoding the skincare softeners you need—from your old favorites to new treatments.

November 1st, 2012

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Picture this—you walk into your local drug store or department store to check out the latest moisturizer products. You make it to the appropriate section and are completely overwhelmed by the selection! In such a saturated market, it’s extremely important to know what moisturizer is right for you—from your skin type to the seasons and weather outside—have no fear…dermatologist Dr. Jeanine Downie will help us cut through the clutter!

  • Neck and Chest; Humectants:  I always find it easiest to divide up the areas of the body to determine which moisturizer is best for that particular area. For example, for the neck and chest I always recommend a moisturizer with humectants. This means that they attract and hold water to the skin, which is entered by drawing moisture up from the dermis to the epidermis or from the environment into the epidermis. Some of my favorites are Vivite Aftercare, or Aveeno  Eczema Relief.
  • Feet, Elbows, Knees; Occlusives:  The feet, elbows and knees are the harder spots on our body that can get scaly and tough—I know we’ve all had those crusty elbows, ladies! To really target these tougher parts of the skin, I recommend using an occlusive. These sit on the skin, creating a barrier to transepidermal water loss (TEWL). And I bet you can’t guess what the best known and most widely used occlusive is…petroleum jelly aka Vaseline! In fact, petroleum jelly has shown to reduce TEWL by more than 90 percent, so slather it on! I also love the Neutrogena Norwegian formula and always carry small sizes of Aquaphor in my purse.

Examples: Vaseline, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Body Moisturizer, Aquaphor Healing Ointment, Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating treatment

  • Face; Humectants or Hyaluronic Acids: Everyone’s heard millions of times how important it is to keep the skin on your face moisturized—especially as we are coming into the winter months. While humectants are a go-to staple for the face, hyaluronic acid has become extremely popular over the last several years. Hyaluronic acid is a natural complex sugar found throughout all living animals that retains water—absorbing more than 1,000 times its weight—and adds volume to the skin’s surface.  HA also transports essential nutrients to cells within the skin. My patients love the Olay Regenerist Anti Aging Eye Roller for dark under-eye circles and VIVITÉ Defining Lip Plumper, which helps improve the appearance of lip volume, fullness and fine lines and wrinkles. Now, when creams and topical are no longer doing the trick, there are some fantastic injectables out there that include hyaluronic acid like JUVÉDERM, which fills in the “parentheses” around the nose and mouth and lasts up to a year with one treatment!

Examples: Olay Regenerist Anti Aging Eye Roller, VIVITÉ Defining Lip Plumper, JUVÉDERM box

  • Hands; Emollients: Last but definitely not least, let’s not forget about our hands. We have all had the feeling of continually putting more and more lotion on our hands, but they are still dry!  What’s that about?!  When looking for a hand moisturizer, I definitely recommend an emollient. This refers to the feel of the product, since these ingredients spread easily on the skin, and they are oils and/or lipids that enhance the skin’s texture and flexibility. That said, I always recommend a hand moisturizer like Cetaphil, which is one of my most highly recommended products overall. It’s fragrance-free and great for people with eczema and psoriasis as well.  I also recommend a product like EpiCeram.

Examples: Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, EpiCeram

 

 

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