3 types of Moisturizer- do you know the difference?

3 types of Moisturizer- do you know the difference?

Posted by Jennifer Fresa on

A good moisturizer is one of just three products you need for a tried and true skincare routine.  I'm always preaching to start with your basic lineup:  Cleanser, SPF and Moisturizer.  This simple approach to skincare takes some of the guesswork out of knowing what to look for in the beauty aisle. Let your Esthetician help you pick out the rest (things life masks, serums and toners) But sometimes, knowing what kind of moisturizer you need for your skin can be the trickiest part of the search.....

Today's I'll break down the complicated buzzwords that are used to describe types of face creams so you know exactly what ingredients you need for different climates!

When the temperatures drop, cold air doesn’t hold moisture as well as warm air does, and our skin and body aren’t able to pull moisture out of the air like they usually do to keep us healthy and comfortable.  

Without protection, symptoms show up as irritated, inflamed, red, chapped, or flaky skin leading to dull, dehydrated skin and sometimes fine lines and wrinkles. Much like adding clothing for layers of warmth, moisturizers act as a barrier to the cold air and help to keep your skin from drying out. 

What to do?  Bring on the moisturizer!  I also recommend using a humidifier in your bedroom at nighttime. 

Our skin creates its own barrier to protect itself called the acid mantle. This thin layer of acidic film helps to protect our skin from bacteria, viruses, and other environmental damage. When we reach colder temperatures, our skin’s ability to protect itself decreases and so we can help aid our skin in protection by adding a layer of moisture over it to keep it from drying out.

There are 3 Types of Moisturizer:

Occlusives, Emollients and Humectants 

Let me give you a break down of each one:

Occlusives create a physical barrier on the skin.  Think of them like a coat of primer on the wall or a top coat of nail polish.  They seal in moisture.  They are often found in waxes, balms, silicones and zinc oxide.  Best for Extremely dry skin or if you live a very hot, dry (no humidity) climate.

Examples of Occlusive moisturizers are:  Botina Restorative Face Cream, LILFOX Marshmallow Poof or LILFOX Cupu Cool.

Emollients mimic the skin’s acid mantle to help keep the skin from drying out. Emollients are made of long-chain fatty acids and help to prevent dry rough skin. These are goldie locks of moisturizers: not too heavy and not too light. They help to moisturize the skin and can improve skin function and help to aid in repairing environmental damage of the skin.  Some emollients can have occlusive properties.  Emollients include fatty acids like jojoba oil, fatty alcohols, squalene, vitamin E, lanolin, ceramides, and pseudoceramides (products that mimic your skin barrier).  Best for Normal to Dry skin types.

Examples of Emollient moisturizers are: The Sixth House Nourish Oil + Glow Oil and Botnia Wisdom Oil.  

Humectants bond with water molecules and hold them in the skin’s surface. This is your hyaluronic acid or glycerin and you’ll want to look for these types of ingredients if you’re feeling tight and dehydrated. Using humectants keeps your skin plump because they can pull moisture from the air, especially in humid environments. Humectants can also have emollient properties. When used in combination with an occlusive cream this can help protect your barrier function and increase hydration in the skin.  They are best for normal, dry and/or oily skin.

Examples of Humectants are: Botnia Hydrating Serum and The Sixth House Soothe Oil and Botnia Soothing Repair Mask.

I hope this breakdown helps take the confusion out of shopping for moisturizers! If you’d like to check which type of moisturizer will work best for your skin, I'm happy to make recommendations just for you. Email me at jennie@jenniefresa.com

XO, Jennie

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  • I ordered the three products you recommended. There isn’t a moisturizer among them? Was that an oversight? Do I need to order one? If so, which would you suggest to be used with my new products?
    Thank you kindly. Peggy

    Peggy McLaughlin on
  • Verrry helpful info. on moisturizers!

    Am in St. John now but may return to CT Jan. 7-10. Would like to pick up “the correct” moisturizer from you then.

    Happy holidays!

    Renee Winchester on

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