Have you ever counted how many steps you go through in your typical morning routine? From shower to hair and makeup, it’s no wonder few ladies can make it out of the bathroom in less than 30 minutes. So it’s only natural we often have the inclination to skip a couple steps where possible. For many of us, that means the body cream drops by the wayside. It’s an easy compromise until one day you look down at your legs only to notice that skin looking rather reptilian.
Skin’s outermost layer, the stratum corneum, is protected by a lipid barrier made up of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids which helps keep water in the skin from leaching out. “The natural lipid layer can be lost during cleansing, so it’s important to use a product that adds them back into skin,” says Ellen Shepard, of Unilever research and development. That’s where moisturizers come in—they treat dry skin, helping improve skintone and texture. Humectants (such as sodium hyaluronate, propylene glycol, sugars, glycerin and urea), attract water from the air around and draw it into skin. Emollients (including oils, silicones, dimethicone, and petrolatum) are occlusive and create a barrier to prevent additional water loss from skin.
So there’s a case to be made for moisturizer but how does that hasten your morning routine? Easy. Check the ingredient lists of the products you’re currently using to see if they offer hydrating properties. From your shaving cream to body wash, sunscreen or scrub, chances are they’re chock full of nourishing additions. Even better if it’s one of the first five ingredients on the label (which means it’s present in large quantities). But do keep in mind that some of the dyes and colorants used in moisturizers can overly irritating to some people, cautions Omaha-based dermatologist, Joel Schlessinger, M.D. If you have ingredient allergies or sensitivity to certain products, seek out fragrance- and dye-free formulas.