Moisturizing is a key step in any skin-care routine but some people still skip it. The reasons may vary: Some may think they don’t need it because they have oily skin; others may feel it’s just another expense that doesn’t really have dramatic effects. But if you’re one of those who skip this skin-care step, you’re missing out on the benefits of moisturizing your face every day.

How Moisturizer Works

Before you can understand how moisturizers can benefit your skin, it helps to understand the mechanism by which they work. Harvard Health Publishing explains that the outer layer of skin contains substances that absorb and hold water, and that dry skin is in fact a result of a lack of water, not a lack of oil. Moisturizers typically contain water to hydrate the skin; occlusives, or oily substances, to help lock in the moisture (otherwise, the water would just evaporate); humectants, which attract water to the outer layer of the skin from both the air and from deeper layers of the skin; and emollients, which help give skin that smooth, supple texture. Moisturizers may also have a host of other ingredients like vitamins and anti-aging components, addressing specific needs.

Benefits of Moisturizing Your Face Every Day

Moisturizing instantly gives you supple skin and a youthful, dewy complexion. It also offers a number of other benefits:

1 It’s an effective way to slow down the signs of skin aging. Keeping your skin moisturized can keep it from developing pre-mature lines and wrinkles, and can help minimize the appearance of wrinkles that are already there. Science seems to back this up: A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that subjects who used moisturizer developed wrinkles much slower than those who had dry skin.

2 It gives you a smooth base for applying makeup. Don’t you just hate it when your base turns into a flaky mess? That’s because of the dry layer sitting on top of your skin. Moisturizing a few minutes pre-makeup application gives you a smoother surface to work with, resulting in a more flawless face.

3 It can help keep acne at bay. Those with dry skin can definitely benefit from daily hydration: While excess oil is normally the culprit behind breakouts, dry skin can signal your skin to produce more oil, thus leading to acne. Moisturizing can keep your skin from overcompensating with sebum. Those with oily skin can likewise reap the benefits of moisturizing your face every day on acne. You can get the anti-aging, plumping effects as long as you choose the right formulation for your skin type. Go for something that’s oil-free and noncomedogenic.

4 It can give your skin extra protection. Some ingredients for specific skin issues—such as retinol for lines and benzoyl peroxide for acne—can be drying. Moisturizers can keep you from developing more skin issues like itchiness and peeling from these products.

Choosing the Right Moisturizer

If you’ve used moisturizer before and didn’t really feel any positive effects, then perhaps it’s time to explore other types and brands. It may take a few tries before you find something that’s perfect for your skin. Worried about the expense? It’s not impossible to find an affordable face moisturizer, especially if you don’t have any special skin concerns. Talk to your dermatologist and do your research to find a reasonably priced one—good skin doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Some other tips for choosing the best daily face moisturizer for you and making the most of it:

Pick one based on your skin type. Those with oily skin should avoid oil-based moisturizers, for example, while those with dry skin can get maximum hydration from thicker cream formulations. Those with sensitive skin may also want to consider an all-natural face moisturizer.

Use wisely. It’s exciting to come home with a brand new product but don’t immediately slather it on to your face. You’ll want to do a patch test on a small area of your neck for a week before committing to apply it to your face. And don’t slather on several new products in one go, and instead space introducing new products to your skin by a couple of weeks. If your skin has an adverse reaction, it will be easier to trace the cause.

Apply on damp skin. The best time to apply moisturizer is after your shower or after washing your face (and toning, if that’s part of your skin-care regimen) as moisturizer is better absorbed by damp skin.

Be gentle with your skin. Sure, you want your moisturizer to penetrate your skin as much as possible, but vigorously rubbing it in can do more harm than good. Keep from irritating your skin by gently massaging products into your face.

Aside from choosing an at-home face moisturizer, you can also take other steps to ensure maximum hydration for your skin: Take warm showers instead of hot ones, as hot water dries out skin, and use mild soaps as those loaded with fragrances and other harsh chemicals can also strip your skin of moisture.

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/moisturizers-do-they-work

https://www.birchbox.com/guide/article/why-moisturizing-matters

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/anti-aging/a35094/face-moisturizer-benefits/