When it comes to taking the proper steps to keep my face looking as young as possible, I am borderline obsessed. I religiously follow my anti-aging skincare routine. One of the most important steps in my routine is moisturizing. After all, it’s a pretty well known fact that the more moisture your skin has, the less wrinkles you’ll see. However, lately I’ve been wondering if there’s anything to that old adage, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”. So I decided to do a little investigating and it turns out, overzealously applying your moisturizer in an effort to keep your skin supple just might be doing more harm than good.
As I was doing my research, I realized just how many mistakes people make when moisturizing their delicate facial skin. That’s why this week’s edition of my Blondeshell Beauty Tips blog series focuses on some of the common skincare mistakes you may be making, and what to do to correct your routine.
If you want to keep your skin as healthy, happy, and young-looking as possible then keep reading to learn what common moisturizing mistakes you may be making, and for some helpful tips on what type, how often, and how much moisturizer you should be using.
1. Only Applying Moisturizer to Dry Skin
Some people often make the mistake of only apply moisturizer when dry skin occurs (usually during the winter months). You should apply moisturizer daily after washing, and before your face has time to dry completely. After cleansing, pat your face dry with a soft towel and apply your facial lotion to your damp skin. Applying to damp skin is best because it’s rehydrated and in the perfect state for sealing in that moisture.
Furthermore, people typically choose to slather on heavy creams when their skin is dry, but that extra moisturizer isn’t just unnecessary; it’s downright damaging. The leftover cream doesn’t absorb into the deep cellular tissue. Instead, it sits on top and clogs your pores, essentially suffocating your skin. The result? Overly dry skin. In this case, too much moisture is, indeed, a bad thing.
2. Not Understanding Common Ingredients
There are three main types of ingredients used in moisturizers: occlusives, humectants, and emollients. Occlusives and emollients work to soften the skin. Occlusives (think petroleum jelly) work as a layer on top of your skin and keep moisture from escaping, while emollients are fatty acids (oils and lipids… think stearic acid) that work to help repair skin. The creamier the moisturizer, the more emollients in them.
Humectants (panthenol, glycerin, etc.) actually pull moisture from your skin’s deeper layers to the top, outer layers. The more humid the climate (hello summertime in Georgia!), the more moisture your skin will have because humectants also pull moisture out of the air.
Most formulas have a mixture of some form of all three ingredients, but people with oily skin should know that occlusives are heavy and can be greasy, and can easily trap sebum that can cause nasty breakouts. Check out this helpful list of occlusive ingredients in moisturizers from Harvard Medical School, then look at the list of ingredients on your moisturizer to determine if you may be applying too many occlusives for your skin type.
3. Not Moisturizing Oily Skin
Moisturizing oily skin may seem counterintuitive, but I assure you, it’s not. It’s one of the most common misconceptions about oily skin. In fact, it very well could be the culprit behind your oily issues. That’s because your skin naturally produces oil, called sebum, and by skipping moisturizer, you’re disrupting your skin’s natural process. Your skin will then begin overproducing sebum.
If you have acne-prone skin, be sure to exfoliate to rid your skin of dead cells that buildup and clog pores leaving you with breakouts and dull skin. Regular exfoliation ensures that those dead skin cells don’t stay around long enough to cause breakouts.
If you have oily or sensitive skin, try to purchase products that say they are “non-comedogenic”, which means they won’t clog pores. For some acne-prone individuals with oily skin, jojoba oil may be the answer. I know what you’re thinking… “I have OILY skin! Why would I apply any extra oil?!”
Hear me out… Jojoba oil is a natural, non-comedogenic liquid that is used for moisturizing all skin types as well as cleansing acne-prone skin. It effectively unclogs pores and is great for removing makeup and dirt (and it’s great for hair, too). Despite it’s name, it isn’t actually an oil, but instead a liquid wax and it is the closest naturally occurring substance to our skin’s sebum there is, making it an effective way to balance skin’s oil production.
4. Using Too Much Moisturizer
Much like avoiding moisturizer can disrupt our skin’s healthy sebum production, frequent overuse of moisturizer can do the same. Using too much face cream can cause your skin to become dependent on it for moisture, creating tired and lazy skin that has a dull appearance. As I mentioned earlier, applying moisturizer with a heavy hand will ultimately lead to clogged pores, breakouts, and dull skin. The excess moisturizer doesn’t get absorbed. Instead, it actually suffocates your skin.
Because facial moisturizers are highly concentrated, you probably don’t need as much as you think. WebMD suggests no more than a nickel-sized amount for your entire face. And no matter your skin type, use a moisturizer no more than twice daily.
As I was doing my research, one thing I noticed was that there wasn’t much evidence that overwhelmingly suggested applying too much moisturizer has any long-term effects. However, there were many issues that arrive in the short-term, and if not corrected, these issues can certainly have damaging long-term effects on your skin, which is why following a strict skincare regimen is so important, which brings me to our final mistake.
5. Not Following A Proper Daily Skincare Routine
People often skip important steps in their skincare routine, or worse, they don’t have a routine at all. If you’re one of those people that only relies on facial cleansing cloths to remove your makeup before bed, you could be doing some serious harm to your skin (Read: Are Facial Cleansing Wipes Bad For You?).
Your daily beauty routine should follow the “cleanse, tone, treat, moisturize” pattern, no matter your skin type. You should wash your face both morning and night with a mild cleanser. Gently pat your face dry with a soft towel and follow with an alcohol-free toner that won’t strip your skin of it’s natural moisturizers. Consider a toner with glycolic acid that will break down oil, and concentrate on using it in your T-zone (the photo to the right highlights the T-zone area). Some of my favorite toners for oily skin are Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, Reviva Labs Glycolic Acid Facial Toner, and Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner.
If you have any blemishes, this is when you would apply your topical treatment. The final step is applying a moisturizer. No matter your skin type, be sure to apply a moisturizer with an SPF each morning, as protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is the most effective way to prevent aging. However, don’t use a moisturizer with SPF at night, as it’s unnecessary and may clog your pores.
In conclusion, it isn’t necessarily just the amount of moisturizer you’re using that could be causing problems, but what type and how you’re applying it that may be causing the most problems. So, while it may take some trial and error to find the best moisturizer for your skin type, once you find your fit, your face will appreciate it.
Tell me… What are your skin issues? Have you made any of these common facial skin care mistakes? What are your favorite skincare, anti-aging products? Tell me in the comment section below!