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Speaking of ingredients, one of the most important hydrators is—you guessed it—water. "In order for a moisturizer to be effective, water should be the first ingredient listed on the package," says NYC dermatologist, Dr. Cameron Rokhsar. "Also oils (olive, jojoba, coconut), aloe and shea butter are all great moisturizing elements as well." Other product pluses to look for are those labeled non-comedogenic and fragrance-free, as those will be safe for even the most sensitive skin.
Organic Is In
Ulrike Jacob, CEO of Lavera North America, recommends choosing organic options. "Since 60 percent of what you put on your skin is absorbed into the bloodstream, it's important the products you apply are all natural."
What's the difference you wonder? "Plant-based, natural and certified organic skin care products absorb quickly into the skin, and these ingredients mirror the human fatty amino acids (proteins), feeding the skin and ultimately making it healthier," explains Ken Simpson, Founder, CEO, President of Skin 2 Skin Care.
Now that the cooler weather's chill is in the air, the use of heaters can cause dry skin to become a bit more sensitive and more dry, says Zillmann. "This requires you to go up a notch on your moisturizer. Adding an exfoliating serum or scrub to the regimen can boost the penetration of moisturizing ingredients by removing the waterproof barrier (dry skin)."
However, don't just let the weather report dictate your regimen, adds Zillmann. Listen to your skin's needs, which can fluctuate with your hormonal changes, and adjust your moisturizer accordingly.
Day and Night
If you really want to do the moisturizing routine right, it's important that you use a day moisturizer and a night moisturizer, says Simpson. "The day time moisturizer is usually lighter, while a night time moisturizer is more intense, allowing the skin to repair itself while you sleep," he says.
Cream vs. Lotion
In general, the heavier and denser a moisturizer is the more moisturizing elements it contains, says New York City dermatologist Dr. Cameron Rokhsar. "Therefore, if you have oily skin its better to use lighter weight lotion options. If your skin is very dry, creams and ointments are better for your skin."
The Age Factor
Moisturizers these days are primarily focused on anti aging, says Rhea Grous, beauty guru and owner of La Suite Skin Care in Greenwhich, CT. If you are older or concerned about your changing skin, the keyword is retinols. "They are anti aging, accelerate exfoliation, improve appearance of fine lines, and help reduce sun damage," she says. "These are generally in a night moisturizer that works when you are sleeping."