Moisturizers: Do I Really Need One?

In This Article:

Moisturizers are perhaps the most misunderstood skin-care products, because not everyone needs to use one (it's true!) Instead, what every skin type needs are the state-of-the art ingredients required to have healthier, younger, and smoother skin. Those ingredients don't have to come from a traditional moisturizer.
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Recommended Moisturizers

What Does My Skin Need? Just the Facts!

Fact: Not everyone needs a traditional moisturizer (don't be too shocked, we'll explain why in a second).

Fact: To be truly effective, "moisturizers" are not about giving skin moisture, but helping skin retain normal, healthy, youthful moisture levels.

Fact: Too much moisture (water) can actually cause problems for your skin.

Fact: Everyone's skin type needs ingredients that enhance the function and structure of healthy skin so it acts younger and prevents dryness.

Fact: Regardless of the product name (anti-wrinkle, moisturizer, toner, etc.) or its texture (gel, serum, lotion, liquid etc.), it needs to contain ingredients that repair and rejuvenate your skin.

Whether your skin is dry, oily, combination, blemish-prone, has rosacea, wrinkles, or just about any other concern, it still needs the ingredients sun damage has taken away to one degree or another because they can't come back on their own.

These types of ingredients are:

  • Antioxidants
  • Cell-communicating ingredients
  • Skin-repairing ingredients (also known as skin-identical ingredients)

What's truly surprising is that none of the above has anything to do with giving skin moisture (water) or using a traditional moisturizer. Unless the product you are using contains these ingredients naturally found in skin, you are only putting a Band-Aid® over your skin. You're not helping it really transform and act younger, yet for most people that's the goal!

For more details about these essential ingredients for skin, visit our Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary.

Your Skin Needs A Good Diet!

Why those ingredients? Because they are a vital part of helping you have the skin you want. Just like what you eat keeps your body young and healthy, what you apply to your skin affects how young and healthy it feels and looks.

Skin is the largest organ of your body. Therefore, in the same way a healthy diet keeps your heart and other parts of your body healthy, your skin needs certain substances to keep it healthy. When skin gets these ingredients in well-formulated products, it is better able to make normal cells, generate new collagen, and fight environmental damage.

Whether those special ingredients come in the form of a toner or serum (best for those with normal to oily, combination or blemish-prone skin), lotion or cream (best for those with normal to dry skin) or has some intriguing name or claim, what counts is for the product to contain the ingredients your skin needs that can actually make a difference.

Does Dry Skin Cause Wrinkles? NO!

Dry skin does NOT cause wrinkles. So why does the myth about dry skin causing wrinkles persist?

Simply put, when you have dry skin wrinkles look more pronounced, but when you apply almost any kind of moisturizer they look less noticeable. To really change wrinkles you need to replenish your skin with what it has lost because of sun damage.

How do we know dry skin doesn't cause wrinkles? Because extensive research has made it clear that sun damage, muscle movement, loss of estrogen, cellular aging, inflammation, free-radical damage, gravity, and fat movement are what cause wrinkles (and sagging) because they rob skin of what it needs to look young. Unless a moisturizer contains state-of-the-art ingredients, hoping to change any of that is only wishful thinking.

(Sources: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, www.mayoclinic.com; Journal of Tissue Viability, May 2006, pages 20–23; Fertility and Sterility, August 2005, page 295; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, June 2005, pages 215–223; Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, April 2005, pages 1156–1162; Rejuvenation Research, Fall 2004, pages 175–185; Journal of Dermatology, August 2004, pages 603–609; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, May 2004, pages 327–337; Dermatologic Therapy, January 2004, pages 16–25; Cosmetics & Toiletries, November 2003, page 63; Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America, November 2003, pages 439–443; Archives of Dermatological Research, August 2000, pages 412–417; and Journal of Investigative Dermatology, January 1999, pages 72–77.)

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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