Moisturizing the skin: how to use a moisturizer correctly?

Moisturizing the skin: how to use a moisturizer correctly?

If you are using a skin or hair product for its moisturizing properties, it probably contains a humectant. Moisturizers are ingredients that attract water to the outer layer of the skin, which helps relieve dryness and improve skin tone. You’ll find them in cleansers, creams, serums, and conditioners. If you’re looking to improve your natural skincare ritual, learn more about moisturizers and which ones are best for your skin and hair needs.

What is a humidifier?

A humectant is a hydrating agent that retains moisture in your skin and hair. Moisturizers pull water from the second layer of skin, called the dermis, and transfer it to the upper layer, called the epidermis. This keeps the outer layer well hydrated, improves skin tone and smoothes fine lines.

You will see moisturizer as an agent in:

face masks
eye creams
lip balm
anti wrinkle serum
foot balm

Types and method of work

Moisturizers attract and draw water into the skin or hair to maintain healthy hydration. Some skin moisturizers act as exfoliators that first remove dead cells and debris from the skin, giving you smoother skin and allowing cell turnover. There are several types of moisturizers, and studies show that they all work slightly differently. So it is important to know the differences before using any product on your body. The most commonly used moisturizers are:

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): Alpha hydroxy acids are a group of acids derived from plants and animals. They are used in skin care products for their anti-aging properties, which help smooth the skin, exfoliate dead cells and debris and improve cell turnover and texture. You’ll find AHAs in facial cleansers, toners, creams, lotions, scrubs, and serums.

Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is part of a group of compounds called salicylates. Its structure allows it to be oil soluble, which means it can penetrate the lipid layers of the skin to help open pores and remove dead cells. Besides being used in skin creams, ointments, and serums, salicylic acid is also used in shampoos to exfoliate the scalp and improve dandruff.

Urea: Urea is a natural waste product produced by the skin when the body breaks down proteins. It is part of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor as it maintains the moisture balance in the outer layers. Synthetic urea is used as a moisturizer in topical creams and cosmetics. The most famous urea cream is Urea 40, which is used for very dry and cracked skin.

Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is a lubricant that the body produces naturally. It is found in the highest concentration in the skin and helps retain collagen, increase moisture, and provide elasticity and suppleness. It is used as a moisturizer in body care products and is available in supplement and eye drop form.
Glycerol: Glycerol is a natural compound that comes from animal fats or vegetable oils, such as palm, coconut, or soybean oil. It is often used in skin products, such as soaps, creams, and serums. You will also find glycerol in commercial and baked goods.

Caprylyl glycol: Caprylyl glycol is an alcohol derived from caprylic acid, which comes from coconut oil, palm oil, and cow’s milk. Although glycols are naturally present, they are often produced synthetically for use in body and hair care formulations. It is often used as a skin moisturizer in moisturizers, face masks, and other cosmetics.

Aloe vera: Aloe vera gel is a gel-like substance found in the inner part of the plant. It has soothing, nourishing and moisturizing effects for the skin and hair. Aloe vera is often used as an ingredient in products intended to improve dry scalp, burns, rashes, cuts, dryness, and skin irritation.

Honey: Honey is a natural moisturizer that has nourishing, soothing and antioxidant properties. Helps fight wrinkles, dandruff, psoriasis, diaper rash and infections. You’ll find honey in cleansing milks, masks, creams, lotions, shampoos, medicated ointments, and after-sun lotions.

Benefits of moisturizers for the beauty of the skin

1. Boosts hydration

Humectants attract water and help prevent moisture loss, and thus serve as excellent moisturizers. Hair and skin moisturizers are known for their hydrating effect and ability to make skin smoother and softer. A study published in the journal Skin Research and Technology found that a moisture-rich formula of 15% AHA and 15% urea effectively relieves dry feet (abnormal dryness) without impairing the skin’s barrier function.

2. Acts as a skin barrier

Moisturizers help fill cracks and dry, rough skin with water, which acts as a barrier and will not allow harmful substances to penetrate the skin. A 2017 study of 20 healthy women concluded that a formula containing 1% hyaluronic acid and 5% glycerin significantly improved skin hydration and skin barrier function for up to 24 hours after use.

3. Removes dead skin cells

Many moisturizing ingredients act as exfoliators that reduce dead skin cells, debris, and pollutants. These moisturizers help open pores and remove buildup that can make your skin look dull. It can also be used on very dry, cracked areas, including the heels of your feet. Research has shown that some moisturizers, such as AHAs, help increase cell turnover, while improving skin’s firmness and elasticity.

4. Promotes wound healing

Some moisturizers contribute to wound healing through their soothing properties. Honey, for example, has been shown to moisturize the skin, reduce inflammation, and fight oxidative stress, which is why it is often used in wound and burn dressings.

5. Reduce fine lines

Because of their “plumping” effect, moisturizers reduce facial lines and wrinkles. Regular use of a gentle product containing a moisturizer hydrates the skin and helps reduce signs of aging.

Risks and Side Effects of Moisturizers

It is not uncommon to use synthetic moisturizers in skin and hair products because they are cheaper to produce and can extend the shelf life of formulas. Synthetic humectants help hydrate the skin, but they do not provide it with nutrients and can absorb too much water from the second layer of skin that causes dryness. The ideal option is to choose a product made with natural ingredients by a reputable company.

The beauty of moisturizers is that they attract water from the environment, but if you’re in a very dry area, they will use the moisture in your skin and bring it to the surface. Using a product that contains a sealant (such as shea butter) can help retain skin moisture to prevent drying out. In general, moisturizers are well tolerated, but if you experience any adverse effects from a product that contains a moisturizer, discontinue use immediately.

Dosage and instructions for use of the moisturizer

Often, humectants are not the active ingredient in a product. Moisturizer is used to give better consistency and help moisturize the skin and hair, but it probably isn’t at the top of the list of ingredients. Some moisturizers, such as capryl glycol, are used “behind the scenes” in formulas to act as stabilizers and preservatives. In general, products that contain moisturizers are used once or twice daily. These ingredients should not be abused, especially in dry weather, as they can cause dehydration if the air is low in humidity. Applying a product containing a moisturizer while your skin is clean and still slightly damp can enhance its effects.

What are you looking for in a product

When looking for a moisturizing product, the first thing to consider is your specific skin or hair. Want to boost hydration, rid the skin of dead cells, fight fine lines, or get rid of dandruff?

There are many types of moisturizers, so you’ll need to choose the ingredient that best suits your needs:

Best for dry skin: aloe vera, urea, honey and glycerin.

Best for clogged pores: Salicylic Acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Best for Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Caprylyl Glycol & Hyaluronic Acid

Ideal for dandruff and dry hair: salicylic acid, honey, capryl glycol, aloe vera.

As always, choose a product made by a reputable company that contains gentle, natural ingredients. Avoid products that contain preservatives or fragrances, as they can cause adverse reactions or increase skin problems. Moisturizers and occlusives are sometimes combined in skin care formulations. While humectants attract water and pull it out of the second layer of skin, occlusive materials form a lipid or lipid barrier on the outer surface of the skin to prevent moisture loss. The most common occlusives are shea butter, mineral oil and lanolin.


A humectant is a hydrating agent that binds moisture in your skin and hair using the water in the skin or in the environment. There are several types of moisturizers for hair and skin. So it is important to choose a product that contains the ingredients that meet your needs. Some of the most commonly used moisturizers include aloe vera, honey, alpha hydroxy acids, glycerin, and urea. Formulas containing moisturizers are usually applied once or twice daily, or as directed by the product. It is best to use moisturizers when your skin is slightly damp and there

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In any case, the information provided cannot replace the advice of a health professional.

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