SAN FRANCISCO -- Moisturizer is one of the most effective
and versatile cosmetics on the market. Depending on its ingredients, it
can soften and soothe the skin on your face, body and hands, while also
protecting it from the sun and camouflaging its imperfections. Now more
than ever, there are moisturizers available to meet almost all of your
Speaking today at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American
Academy of Dermatology, dermatologist Zoe D. Draelos, M.D., clinical associate
professor in the department of dermatology at Wake Forest University School
of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., discussed how the ingredients in today's
"There are four categories of moisturizers: facial moisturizers,
lip balms, body lotions and hand creams," stated Dr. Draelos. "Their
primary function is to keep skin moist, minimize wrinkles from dryness,
smoothe and soften skin, and to deliver other ingredients, like sunscreen,
that benefit the skin."
Facial moisturizers are designed for use in the morning, following cleansing.
In the current marketplace, all facial moisturizers are formulated to
not clog pores, cause acne or an allergic reaction. The differences are
in how they are created to work with different skin types and whether
they have additional beneficial ingredients.
Moisturizers for dry skin are comprised of ingredients like mineral oil,
petrolatum, glycerin and cyclomethicone, all of which are thick and physically
prevent water loss from the skin. Moisturizers for normal skin are usually
lighter and contain such silicone-derived ingredients as dimethicone,
cyclomethicone and lightweight oils such as cetyl alcohol. Moisturizers
for oily skin usually are very light and primarily use dimethicone as
their active ingredient. "It's important to understand your skin
type when selecting a moisturizer so that you get the full benefit of
the product," Dr. Draelos noted.
Facial moisturizers also may contain sunscreens and foundation, making
them great multi-tasking products for women with hectic schedules. "You
can cover flaws, protect yourself from the sun and keep your skin soft
and younger-looking with one step," Dr. Draelos said.
When looking for a facial moisturizer that contains sunscreen, it is
important to select one that offers protection from ultraviolet (UV) A
rays which can cause long-term damage to the skin's underlayers, resulting
in wrinkling and other aging effects. New products will soon offer ingredients
that block UVA rays chemically and provide longer-lasting protection.
Lip Balms and Lipsticks
Lips tend to dry out faster than the rest of your skin because they contain
very few oil glands. Therefore, products to keep them moist must be thick
and prevent water loss as well as add moisture. Traditionally, lip balms
have been made from petrolatum and wax. Today, products like dimethicone,
a skin protectant, and sunscreen have been added to many of the lip balms
on the market.
"Lip balms also are formulated to provide a smooth feel to the lips,"
Dr. Draelos said. "While some people believe that you can become
'addicted' to lip balm, there is not anything in the actual product that
is addictive. People may feel that they're 'addicted' because they enjoy
the feeling of smooth, moisturized lips."
Lipstick is basically lip balm with added color. Manufacturers use less
stiff waxes, like carnauba or candela, to make them glide smoothly over
the lips. Lipsticks also contain ingredients that offer the consumer color,
coverage, sun protection and moisture at the same time.
Body lotions are usually made from a mix of water, mineral oil, dimethicone
and glycerin. Newer ingredients may include hyaluronic acid and ceramide
3, which soothe irritated skin. Manufacturers are now providing novel
approaches to deliver these ingredients to the skin, such as time- released
"Petrolatum is still the gold standard to which all other moisturizer
ingredients are compared," Dr. Draelos said. "What's important
is that the lotion is one that you like so that you will keep applying
it, because no moisturizer is effective if it's not used."
Some manufacturers also add dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a sunless tanner,
to body lotions. When DHA is applied to the skin, it creates a reaction
that turns the skin brown. Three to five percent DHA is needed to tan
the skin and protein often is added to make the color deeper.
"It's important to remember that a sunless tan provides no sun protection
factor (SPF) whatsoever, so it's important to use a broad spectrum (protects
against UVA and UVB) sunscreen of at least sun SPF 15 when you are planning
to be outside," Dr. Draelos said.
The skin on the hands often is exposed to harsh products, like soap and
cleaning supplies, that strip away the natural oils, making the skin much
drier than the rest of the body.
Creams that are formulated for hands typically use a combination of ingredients
such as petrolatum, glycerin, dimethicone and/or mineral oil. They go
on thickly to help create an artificial barrier against water loss and
to protect the skin from further damage.
"People who suffer from dry, cracked or chapped hands may find that
applying a heavy moisturizer and then wearing cotton gloves at night can
be very helpful," Dr. Draelos said. "You also should put moisturizer
on your hands after every time you wash them to help minimize water loss."
Dr. Draelos noted that the cosmetics industry continually develops new
moisturizer formulations, adding new ingredients that benefit the skin
and can save the consumer time. "Because there are such a wide variety
of moisturizer options available, a dermatologist can help you determine
which ingredients will work best for your particular needs," stated
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology
(Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most
representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of
more than 15,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing
the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin,
hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education,
and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care
for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails.
Source: American Academy