If you have a daily skin care routine but still suffer from breakouts or excessive dryness, you may simply need a refresher on how to apply moisturizer.
Overall, moisturizing is amazing — and even necessary — for your skin. It makes you look and feel healthier and more youthful. It plumps and tones your skin and reduces wrinkles and flakiness.
But if you’re experiencing a full-blown breakout, you won’t want to do anything that feels like adding a coat of oils and butters.
Fortunately, you can learn how to apply moisturizer properly and get back to reaping the benefits of having supple, nourished skin.
Common Pitfalls When Applying Moisturizer
Everybody’s skin is unique, which can make it difficult to find a mild, nourishing moisturizer. There are a variety of skin types you could have. You may have normal skin, acne-prone skin, oily skin, dry skin, combination skin or just plain fickle skin. However, there’s a solution for you, and it just might come down to how you’re applying moisturizer.
Here’s where folks go wrong.
Not Using a Cleanser Before Applying Moisturizer
Moisturizer is made to hydrate healthy, clean skin. Have you ever put on sunscreen after you’ve already gotten sandy at the beach? It’s an unpleasant feeling.
When you apply moisturizer to your skin before using a cleanser, you’re trapping all the dirt and oil from the day in your pores. Those particles make it difficult for moisturizer to spread evenly, which can lead to breakouts. Worse yet, that layer of dirt can also prevent moisture from being fully absorbed by your skin.
Removing Natural Oils With Alcohol-Based Cleansers
This one will ring true for people with oily skin. When you use harsh, drying solutions like alcohol, you remove too much oil from your skin.
This deficiency sets your skin’s natural sebum into overdrive. Your skin will start producing excess oil to compensate, and you’ll end up with even greasier, shinier skin.
Refusing to Moisturize During a Breakout
Contrary to popular belief, breakouts are often due to dry skin, not excessive moisture. Again, if your skin is dry (whether it’s due to the use of an alcohol-based cleanser, or you have naturally dry skin), your skin starts going wild producing oil. Keep your skin properly moisturized as a way to regulate sebum production.
Using Products With Parabens, Alcohol, Sulfates, Synthetic Fragrances, and Other Risky ingredients
Avoiding risky ingredients takes some research. For example, did you know that synthetic fragrances often contain hundreds of harsh chemicals? Moreover, the FDA does not require manufacturers to list those chemicals on product labels.
The fact is that all skin types need moisture to heal and stay healthy. Achieving glowing skin is a matter of learning how to apply moisturizer effectively.
How to Apply Moisturizer: Choosing the Right Product
Not all moisturizers are created equal. Much like the different types of skin on your body, there are different skin care products that are appropriate for each skin type.
Your face has the most sensitive skin out of anywhere on your body. It’s also the most frequently exposed to the elements. On top of those factors, you may be applying comedogenic makeup or inadvertently clogging the pores around your mouth when you eat.
The last thing you want is to apply a facial moisturizer that further clogs your pores or ultimately dries out your skin.
Look for a face cream that is oil-free, non-comedogenic and alcohol-free. While not all oils are comedogenic, such as argan oil and jojoba oil (which contains moisture-locking hyaluronic acid), an oil like coconut oil is too thick to put on your face for extended periods of time.
If you’re planning on being outside for an extended period of time, you might benefit from a moisturizing lotion or cream with SPF. Face moisturizer products with SPF will add sun protection, preventing your face from getting burnt or dried out. There are also eye creams that claim to provide anti-aging effects
It may surprise you to learn that many face moisturizers have alcohol in them. After all, alcohol is known to evaporate quickly — and take your skin’s natural oils and nutrients with it.
Unfortunately, alcohol is often added to face moisturizers because it feels light and refreshing. But it’s not doing your skin any favors in the long run.
Moisturizers for Hands and Feet
Your hands and feet take the most abuse by far. They may have thick, callused skin, causing peeling and dryness.
Your hands and feet require a thick moisturizer to penetrate these rough patches of skin. On these parts of your body, coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter are just what your skin needs.
Full Body Moisturizers
For the rest of your body, a moderate moisturizer will do. We still recommend avoiding alcohol, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. Instead, search for products with organic ingredients.
And if fragrance-free lotions aren’t your thing, feel free to sweeten the deal by adding a drop of a gentle organic essential oil, like lavender or rose petal. In fact, many essential oils are beneficial for acne prevention.
How to Apply Moisturizer the Right Way
Regardless of your skin type, applying moisturizer may seem like an obvious and simple process. You just squirt the lotion in your hand and rub it on your face and body, right?
Well, yes, but there’s more to it than that. For clean, clear skin, follow the instructions below.
1. Wash Your Face, Hands and Body
Before you apply your moisturizer, clean your skin — every time. After all, your skin may feel pretty moisturized after stepping out of the shower. However, when you apply it to unwashed skin, you’re locking in all the debris and oil from the day.
Instead, start off by washing your face and hands with warm water and a gentle cleanser. Hot water will dry out your skin and cold water will close your pores, making it difficult for your moisturizer to be fully absorbed. You’ve got to get the temperature just right.
We can’t stress enough that you thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Have you ever tried painting with white paint by reusing a paintbrush you previously dipped in black paint? It’s kind of like that. So, make sure your hands are clean.
After that step, use a dollop of moisturizer (usually a quarter-sized amount) and gently apply it to your face.
2. Pat Your Face and Body Dry
Again, be sure to use a clean, dry towel and gently pat your face. It’s OK to leave a little bit of moisture on your skin, as that clean water helps keep your skin sponge-like.
3. Dab On Your Skin
Using your finger, gently dab your moisturizer on your skin. You want a thin coat spread evenly across your skin.
4. Massage Your Skin
Give yourself a relaxing massage as you work the moisturizer in with your fingertips.
5. Apply Toppings
If you wear makeup, be sure to put it on after you moisturize. Your moisturizer should always be the first layer between your skin and anything else. It will help protect your skin against any drying or comedogenic substances you wear, keeping you fresh-faced and ready to take on the world.
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