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January 2024
Come Rain or Shine, Moisturizing is just fine.
By - Dr. Sejal Saheta
How to select a moisturizer for every season and every skin type.

We are no strangers to moisturisers. It’s part of our extensive (or limited) skincare routine. Unfortunately, there are a plethora of myths around moisturizers ranging from silly to harmful. Through this post, I hope to clear up some of these myths and also help you select the right moisturizer.

The Basics
Moisturizers, in general, are water or oil-based creams, lotions, gels which when applied to the skin, help retain moisture in the upper layers of the skin. Some of the things that a daily moisturizing routine helps with are:

  • It helps smoothen the skin.
  • It helps prevent dryness and hence reduce wrinkle formation
  • It helps reduce any inflammation and redness that may occur.
  • It helps reduce Itching

Also, there is a best time to apply moisturisers. And that is immediately after you step out of the shower and pat your skin dry. The damp skin helps lock in the moisture, leaving your skin soft, smooth and hydrated. Remember to apply your moisturiser twice a day, after your shower and before bed. But this is not set in stone, more importantly, use a moisturizer when you think your skin is feeling dry.

Lastly, when you moisturize your face, do not miss your neck. Also ideally other exposed parts of your body like your hands and feet need to be moisturized.

The Myths
A lot of my patients have deep-seated beliefs about moisturizers which often are not true. But the two most common ones I come across are.

  • Moisturizers are only for winters and dry weather.
    Nothing could be more farther from the truth. Our skin has a natural tendency to lose moisture through the day and modern life which includes spending time in the dry air of air-conditioning does not exactly help the situation. So be it Summers or Rains, one must not give up on their moisturizing routine.
  • Oil is better than a moisturizer.
    While it is true that oils do have moisturizing properties, but its application on scalp and skin tends to create the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, which can lead to increase in acne or heat boils. Hence for hair, I recommend one should use a conditioner while for skin one should stick to proper high-quality moisturizers.


Variety = Confusion

But not all moisturizers are made equal. There is a great deal of variation in their consistency, content and some of them have additional ingredients which help certain types of skin and conditions. So how does one select a moisturizer?

These are the four questions to ask when selecting a moisturizer:

1. What is my skin type?

  • You have oily skin if:
    Your T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) and the C-zone (outer area of the face) are oily to touch or shiny in the morning.
    In this case, use lotions which have a thinner consistency. These are light and don’t add on to your face’s oily sheen.
  • You have dry skin if:
    Your entire face feels stretched or taut in the morning.
    Use thick creams (oil-based), which have an ointment type consistency, these stay on longer and lock in moisture for longer. For better hydration, look for ingredients such as dimethicone and hyaluronic acid. For locking in moisture, glycerine, lanolin and petrolatum are the key ingredients to look out for.
  • You have combination skin (most people do) if:
    Your T-zone feels oily but the C-zone feels taught or stretched.
    Use mild consistency creams. These are thin, spread evenly and hydrate the skin well.

2. What’s the current season?
During the cold and dry winter months, the skin tends to dry our more easily and hence it is better to use thicker creams. While during the summer and monsoon seasons, it’s better to stick with lighter lotions when the hydrating needs of your skin are relatively low.

3. Where will I apply the moisturizer?
As a general thumb rule,
– For your face and neck use lighter lotions
– For your arms and legs use mild consistency creams
– For your palms and soles of your feet use thick consistency creams.

4. Does my skin have any special needs?

  • For acne-prone skin: A non-comedogenic facial moisturiser is great, as it won’t clog your pores. Stay away from facial moisturisers with ingredients such as lanolin and mineral oil waxes, which can clog pores and cause acne.
  • For sensitive skin: A hypoallergenic and fragrance-free moisturiser is your best friend. When looking for a moisturiser, pick one that has less than 10 ingredients. Fewer ingredients = fewer potential interactions with fragile skin. To make sure you’re not allergic to a cream, apply it and keep it on for 30 to 60 minutes, before washing it off. Make sure to steer clear of any unnecessary or potential irritants such as added colours and perfumes.
  • Cosmetic Needs: Some moisturizers tend to make your skin have an oily sheen or a mild whitish appearance, this may not be acceptable for some people.
  • Ageing or Mature Skin: As we age, the ability of our skin to retain moisture also reduces and the skin is generally much dryer. Also, your skin may need additional support in the form of anti-oxidants, retinoids etc. But these products may tend to dry your skin further. It is best to consult a dermatologist who can recommend a good moisturizer that meets the needs of ageing skin.

While this may all seem a bit overwhelming, it really is not. Feel free to experiment with moisturizers. Most moisturizers are safe and reaction to these is extremely rare and easily treatable. Also, feel free to ask your dermatologist about which one suits you best on your next visit.
Lastly, remember this basic process of moisturizing goes a long way to maintain good healthy skin and consistency is key.

Built on more than a decade of experience of Dr. Sejal Saheta, we are an honest and affordable, skin and hair care clinic. Our goal is to make each patient comfortable and happy with their appearance with the least amount of intervention.
Here qualified and trained doctors, equipped with the latest technology, conduct and supervise all procedures in strict adherence to protocols developed by Dr. Saheta.
We are happy to be a part of your journey to reach your skin and hair goals. If you think we have been able to help you, please do review us:
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This article is one in a series of articles on skin and hair conditions and treatments by Dr. Sejal Saheta – MD, DNB – Dermatology and Venereology. The objective of this series is to educate the reader and help them take precautions against various skin conditions they come across on an everyday basis. These articles are not meant to be used by patients for self-diagnosis or for avoiding proper medical treatment. The images used in the above blogs are just for the visual representation of the treatment results may vary from patient to patient.

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