Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Sritama Dutta (Medical Science) on 07th Dec 2020
Do You Need a Different Moisturizer for Your Face and Body? Find Out!
Moisturization is indispensable for healthy skin. Applying a proper moisturizer will make your skin soft and supple and help strengthen the skin's protective barrier. Dermatologists suggest that moisturization of the skin must be done daily. Let’s find out why moisturization is so important for the skin.
Why Should You Use Moisturizer?
Skin being the largest organ of our body, needs proper care. Regular moisturization is vital for maintaining proper health of both facial and body skin. The skin experiences many adversities in our daily life, which leads to loss of hydration and makes the skin rough, dull, and lifeless. What more? Lack of moisture in the skin also makes the skin age faster and wrinkles and fine lines appear, sometimes prematurely.
Though soothing to the body and soul, a hot shower can strip the skin of its natural moisture. Thus, moisturization is necessary after taking a shower. Exfoliation, shaving, and waxing can also result in the loss of hydration. A good moisturizer helps restore the lost moisture in the skin and help repair the minor damage caused to the skin. Even extreme temperatures can cause loss of moisture in the skin resulting in a dry, flaky skin texture. Daily moisturization ensures that the skin will remain soft and smooth even in extreme cold or hot weather.
Does Your Skin Type Matter in Choosing The Right Moisturizer?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that moisturization is a daily requirement after showering. Applying a good moisturizer on your still-damp skin will help seal the moisture in for a long time. Your skin type greatly determines what kind of moisturizer is ideal for you.
Generally, our skin type can be broadly divided into four different types. Though everyone's skin texture is different, you can easily choose the skin type from these four categories. Let’s see what kind of moisturizer you should use according to your skin type.
- For oily skin, a lighter, water-based moisturizer will be beneficial.
- If you have dry skin choosing a heavier, oil-based moisturizer will be a good idea.
- For normal or combination type of skin, you can use a lightweight, water-based moisturizer too.
- If you think you have sensitive skin, a soothing aloe-based moisturizer will be the ideal one for you.
How Should You Choose The Right Moisturizer For Your Face?
The type of moisturizer you should use not only depends upon your type of skin. Various other factors need to be considered before you choose your moisturizer. Let’s see what are the things that play a role in determining the best moisturizer for you.
Should you choose a fragrance-free moisturizer?
The synthetic ingredients used in cosmetics to add fragrance to them can cause sensitization of the skin. Thus, it is always good to use a fragrance-free or unscented product on your skin. However, the combination of various chemicals can have a powerful odor, which can be undesirable. So, to mask the strong smell, essential oils can be added to cosmetics.
Active or Inactive Ingredients?
Active ingredients are the ones when included in the moisturizers make it do the job it is intended to do, that is, to hydrate the skin and seal the moisture in. Inactive ingredients are only added to make the product more acceptable to the skin.
When used in pure form, active ingredients can have a more potent and faster effect on your skin. Thus, using active organic ingredients directly on your skin with moisturizing effects will hydrate your skin faster and retain the moisture for a longer time.
Non-comedogenic: why is it necessary?
Heavy, oil-based moisturizers are often found to clog the enlarged pores of the skin, which cause congestion of the pores with cellular debris, dirt, microbes, and sebum produced by the skin. This property is known as comedogenic. Thus, to keep your pores free from congestion, dermatologists recommend using moisturizers labeled non-comedogenic, especially when you have acne-prone skin.
Parabens: What do they do?
Parabens are used as preservatives in pharmaceutical as well as cosmetic products. They prevent the invasion of microbes such as bacteria, fungus, especially when kept in a moist and damp environment.
Though parabens are necessary, some reports have been filed where individuals using paraben-infused products have developed cancer. The EWG or the Environmental Working Group has listed methylparaben as a low to moderate health hazard. It can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. But nothing can be said for sure as strong scientific evidence is still lacking.
Parabens are considered safe when used at a low concentration. According to the Cosmetic Ingredients Review, parabens are “safe to use” when incorporated in the cosmetic products at a concentration of 0.01 to 0.3 percent.
Phthalates: Should it be avoided?
Phthalates are included in cosmetic products to increase their longevity. But are they safe to use on your skin? There were some concerns raised about the potential health risk of phthalates on human beings' reproductive health.
Studies done on rodents showed that phthalates could cause impaired fertility and even cancer in them, but this effect was unique for rodents and was not seen in humans. According to the studies done by the U.S. National Toxicology Program revealed that the risk is minimal when phthalates are used in low concentration.
SPF: Do you need it?
Protecting your skin with sunscreen is as important as moisturizing your skin. So, if your moisturizer is combined with SPF, it becomes all the more beneficial. While looking for the best moisturizer for your skin, look for the ones with broad-spectrum SPF. This two-in-one blend of sunscreen and moisturizer will hydrate your skin and protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays.
What Are The Best Moisturizers For Your Skin?
Not all moisturizers work in the same way. Their function depends upon the ingredients used in making the product. Broadly, moisturizers are made up of three elements: humectants, emollients, and occlusives.
Humectants are water-loving ingredients that help in attracting environmental moisture to your skin. The most commonly used humectant is Glycerin. It draws moisture from the surroundings and binds with the water molecules to hydrate the dermal cells. The other ingredients that work similarly are Hyaluronic acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acids, and Salicylic acid.
Though emollients cannot attract the environmental moisture on their own, they can spread on a surface and prevent the existing moisture from escaping. They also soothe and soften the skin. Emollients can be oil-based or water-based. The oil-based ones can make the skin feel greasy and are heavier. They are best when used on dry, flaky skin. The water-based ones are lighter and suitable for oily, normal, or combination skin. The most commonly used emollients are lipids and silicone. Among organic ingredients, Squalane is one of the best emollients to be used on the skin.
Occlusives, too, do not attract moisture. They create a physical barrier to the skin's surface and prevent the existing internal moisture from escaping. The most widely used occlusives are zinc and waxes. But they feel quite heavy on the skin and give an undesirable sticky feeling when used as a standalone product.
Why Shouldn’t You Use The Same Moisturizer for Your Face and Body?
Though they appear so, your face and body skin are not the same. The primary difference between the facial and body skin is that the body skin is much thicker than the facial skin. Also, the facial skin contains a higher number of sebaceous glands than the body skin. The face skin is more sensitive than your body skin and can get sensitized by harsh chemicals. Thus, the moisturizers we use for our body and face are not interchangeable. As their needs are different, the body and face skin require different compositions of moisturizers. Let’s see how body and face moisturizers are different.
How is Body and Face Moisturizer Different?
Though there is usually no harm in interchanging the moisturizer, it is certainly not recommended by dermatologists. The moisturizers intended for facial use usually address common problems such as pores, dark spots, oiliness, wrinkles, and fine lines. But the body lotions are more concerned about issues like firming the flaccid tissues, cellulite, and spider veins.
The formulation of moisturizers for the body and face are also different. The ones meant for body use are usually heavier and contain a higher concentration of emollients. Whereas the moisturizers meant for skin are usually a fine blend of emollients and occlusives with a higher percentage of humectants.
The body moisturizers often contain fragrance, which can irritate the softer, thinner, and sensitive facial skin when used on the face. They also contain a higher amount of inactive ingredients, congesting the pores if used on the face. Face creams are usually more expensive as they are composed of more active ingredients that can tend to delicate facial skin.
The Bottom Line
Using body lotion instead of face cream or vice versa is not against the law. But when you take a studied approach, you will find that it is better when you separate the two. Surely, you would not want clogged pores using heavier lotions meant for your body on your facial skin. Nor would you like a less-nourishing cream for the thicker skin of your body.
But before you choose a moisturizer for yourself, it is important to look at the ingredients too. We hope this article has helped you to understand which could be the right moisturizer for your skin and why we shouldn't use the same moisturizing products on the body and face.