The Skin is the largest organ of the body because it covers all the parts of the body and its thickness varies according to its location and function in the different parts of the body. For instance, the skin that surrounds the feet is thicker that the one on the face. Also, the skin around the eyes is thinner than the one covering the other parts of the face.
Even though it heals and renews itself constantly, there is need for the skin to be properly hydrated so that it is smooth and soft.
Moisturizing the skin is a vital step in skin care as it helps to hydrate, soften and improves skin barrier. Moisturizers not only increase the skin’s water content, but they also protect the skin and encourage an orderly desquamation (shedding) process that makes the skin appear more smooth. They contain the emollients that that serve these purposes. The ways the different moisturizing ingredients work can be majorly grouped into two (2)
Occlusives:These work by forming a thin barrier or film on the surface of the skin (Epidermis) to prevent any loss of moisture especially when skin is exposed; they include paraffin, lanolin, petroleum and mineral oil
These ingredients also function as emollient because they also help repair the damage done by peeling skin cells or rough ones, making the skin soft and smooth.
Humectants:These attract water from the air to moisturize the skin cells, thereby making the skin firm, with the appearance of less wrinkles, they also they help to soften and hydrate scaly or thick skin; they include alpha and beta hydroxyl acids, salicylic acid, glycerine and propylene glycol.
We have other ingredients that can be contained in a moisturizer as they effective help to reducing the signs of aging:
Sunscreen:Moisturizers should have sunscreen to protect from the harmful effects of the UV rays like wrinkles, sunburn etc.
Retinol:This is one of the best anti aging ingredient which prevents wrinkles, improves pigmentation and textures, treats acne and heals scars.
Classes of Moisturizers:
Ointments:are semi-solid greases that help to hydrate the skin by preventing water loss. Petroleum jelly has no additional ingredients, whereas other ointments contain a small proportion of water or other ingredients to make the ointment more spreadable. Ointments are very good at helping the skin retain moisture but they are often disliked because of their greasiness. It is best for people with dry skin.
Creams:are thick mixtures of greases in water or another liquid. They contain a lower proportion of grease than ointments, making them less greasy.
Lotions:are mixtures of oil and water, with water being the main ingredient. Most lotions do not function well as moisturizers for people with dry skin conditions because the water in the lotion evaporates quickly. It is suitable for those with oily skin.
Moisturizing: For all Skin Types.
Dry skin: For treating skin dryness, the most appropriate moisturizers are heavier, oil-based moisturizers that contain ingredients such as antioxidants or grape seed oil. For very dry, cracked skin, petrolatum-based products are preferable, as they are more lasting than creams and are more effective in preventing water evaporation.
Oily skin: In oily skin, moisturizers are still very useful in daily beauty regime but most useful after activities causing skin dryness, such as other skin care products and washing. For oily skin, water-based moisturizers that are specifically non-comedogenic are preferable (that is, they do not clog pores)
Aging skin:Appropriate moisturizers to keep aging skin soft and well hydrated are oil-based ones that contain petrolatum as the base, along with antioxidants or alpha hydroxyl acids against wrinkles.
Sensitive skin:On sensitive skin (which otherwise is susceptible to skin irritations, redness, itching or rashes), it is preferable with moisturizers that contain soothing ingredients such as chamomile or aloe and that minimize potential allergens such as fragrances or dyes, as well as irritants such as acids.
The most important treatment for dry skin is to put water back in it. The best way to get water into your skin is to briefly soak in a bath or shower and to moisturize immediately afterwards or like 3minutes after bath – to trap water in the skin. Pat dry to keep skin damp; don’t vigorously towel dry or you’ll remove the water from your skin before it can be sealed in. When moisturizing, leave a tacky film of moisturizer on your skin; it will be absorbed in a few minutes.
Both oil and water-based products can be effective, but the one you choose depends on personal preference and skin type. “Oil-based moisturizers tend to be greasier but have the capacity to stay on the skin better,” explains Dr. Levine. “Water-based moisturizers feel better on the skin but don’t stay on as well.”
Some dermatologists recommend that you perform your bathing and moisturizing regime at night just before going to bed. You are unlikely to further dry out or irritate your skin while sleeping, so the water can be more thoroughly absorbed into your skin.
It is recommended that if you have dry skin, soak hands and feet in a warm bath wash, moisturize afterwards, and put on pure cotton gloves and socks before going to sleep – the skin comes out tender and soft in the morning.
Moisturizer should be applied to the hands every time they are washed or in contact with water.