Explaining Different Kinds of Moisturizers

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Jun 13, 2004
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Explaining Different Kinds of Moisturizers

<!-- End: contenthead -->by Dr. Barbara Reed

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Can you explain the different kinds of moisturizers?

There are many types of moisturizers. The choice you make is a personal one, depending on how dry your skin is and what you like to use on your face and body.

It is very important to understand how to prevent dry skin. Hot water and soap dissolve the skin’s natural moisture, so if your skin is dry, keep your daily bath or shower short and water temperature moderate. While bathing, gently rub your body with a washcloth to exfoliate the skin, but don’t scrub too hard. Gently pat your skin dry. If you rub too hard at either point, you may remove too much skin and contribute to further dehydration. While the skin is still damp, apply a moisturizer. Moisturizers may not last all day, so reapplication may be necessary.

In general, the greasier the moisturizer, the better it works on dry skin. Ointments and creams are good for isolated areas such as hands, feet and face. Examples of these types of moisturizers include Cetaphil cream, Vaseline petroleum jelly, Eucerin cream, Aquaphor and other hydrated-base products.

Lotions are generally good for all over the body. They are often preferred over ointments and creams because they are lighter and they apply and absorb more easily. But they are less effective as moisturizers than ointments or creams. Popular brands include Vaseline Intensive Care, Nutraderm, Lubriderm, Moisturel and Curel.

Oils are effective and easily absorbed when applied to slightly damp skin after you pat dry. Don’t use oils in bathwater since they make the tub slippery and may coat the body, preventing water from entering the skin during the shower or bath. Oils can often be less moisturizing than ointments, creams or lotions.