Choosing a moisturizer seems like an easy enough task, until you get confronted by the myriad options available. Not only do you have to consider the correct formulation for your skin type (ointments for dry skin, creams for normal skin, and lotions for oily skin) and the time that you’re going to wear it (lighter formulas during the day, thicker ones at night), you also have to check the ingredients to receive the best care possible for your skin.
So what components are must-haves in a moisturizer? Check out the list below.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring carbohydrate in the body. It is also a humectant, which means that it draws water molecules toward the surface it’s applied to, like your skin for instance. This is how humectants act to moisturize your skin. But apart from replenishing lost moisture, hyaluronic acid also contains enzymes that help exfoliate the skin, gently removing dead skin cells that clog the pores. Hyaluronic acid is also a huge contributor to the skin’s plumpness and smoothness. This is why babies have such soft and bouncy skin — they have higher amounts of hyaluronic acid in their bodies compared to adults. Using a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid like COSRX’s intensive cream will soften, smoothen, and strengthen your skin with regular use, while continuously protecting it from external stressors.
Sun Protection Factor
It has been said too many times to count: everyone should wear sunscreen everyday (even if the sky is overcast), especially if you want to achieve a near-flawless complexion. Sun damage is one of the primary causes of wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tone, and, worst of all, skin cancer.
You can apply a sunscreen formulated especially for the face, but if you’re not keen on its texture which tends to be on the heavy, oily side, you should get a daytime moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it 25 to 30 minutes before exposing yourself to the sun, and reapply after swimming or any sweat-inducing workout. If you’re going to wear makeup over the moisturizer, make sure it’s completely dry before you start applying primer or foundation.
Simply put, antioxidants are substances that protect the body from free radicals, harmful molecules that contribute to health conditions like vascular diseases and cancer, among others. Antioxidants are also important when it comes to skin care, since free radicals can actually damage healthy skin cells and cause premature aging. Some of the best antioxidants you should look for in moisturizers include vitamins A, C, and E, as well as green tea, chamomile, lycopene, grape seed and resveratrol, and pomegranate.
Peptides are chains of amino acids that help trigger the production of collagen and elastin, essentially slowing down the physical aging process of the skin by keeping it smooth, supple, and tight. This is why peptides are also popular ingredients in anti-wrinkle creams. Choose a night moisturizer with peptides so that they have a longer time to work their magic; the body is also in “renewal mode” during the night, which means that the peptides can work better, along with other ingredients, to heal and renew the skin. Two of the most common peptides used in skincare are palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 and palmitoyl tripeptide-5, so you should keep your eye out for these ingredients.
Retinoids are essentially higher compounds of vitamin A, which stimulates cell turnover and therefore increases collagen production. Retinoids also helps smoothen wrinkles and even out skin tone. Like peptides, retinoids are ideal ingredients for nighttime moisturizers. Look for retinol and retinaldehyde, the most common over-the-counter retinoids, since prescription-strength retinoids like retinoic acid should only be used with a doctor’s approval.
Moisturizing is one of the most important step, if not THE most important, of your beauty routine, so it’s definitely worth it to get the best products to hydrate your skin.