Do you need moisturizers?

But didn’t you say that moisturizing was one of the essential steps in a skincare routine? For those of you who read this article, you might be wondering what I’m going on about. The answer might be evident especially with the cold weather coming. Indeed, I believe you do need to moisturize your skin, however, a moisturizer (the product) isn’t always necessary.

A few years ago, I decided to ditch my moisturizer and replace it with a serum + oil combo. Doing so means that I’m essentially creating my own moisturizer without the need for emulsifiers. I like being able to adjust the amount of each product daily depending on my skin condition (whether I’m more dehydrated or dry that day). For some reason, I’ve never thought of dedicating an article to this topic although I’ve mentioned it in passing in my skincare routine posts.

Healthy skin is supposed to be balanced, with a strong barrier that prevents too much transepidermal water loss (TEWL); this is the hydration part. Depending on your skin type (but also the weather and your hormonal state), your skin produces more or less sebum thus influencing your need for emollient/occlusives; that’s the dryness factor. So the two step approach (serum + oil) takes care of both the hydration and dryness concerns. I choose ingredients that support the skin barrier such as niacinamide, probiotics and natural moisturizing factors (eg. ceramides, cholesterol, fatty acids).

You can either layer the serum and oil or mix them together before applying them. As I said, the advantage of this method is the ability to customize the amount you use for your current needs. It’s not just a question of using more or less moisturizer but actually adjusting the humectant to oil ratio in a more tailored approach.

Reading facialist Andy Millward’s article confirmed my belief. Essentially, he says that moisturizers only relieve the symptoms of dryness without treating the cause. Andy also explains for example that emulsifiers can disrupt the skin barrier by reacting with the oils in our skin. (Andy’s whole blog is a must read if you’re interested in skincare. I’ve learned so much about skin physiology thanks to him.)

Now, I haven’t completely forgone moisturizers. They still have a place in my routine as an add-on when my skin feels tight (for example after using retinol). For this purpose, I prefer them to have a medium texture between a light lotion and a cream. Basically, I want the comfort of a rich cream without the greasiness. I find that the following products fit the bill: weleda’s skin food light, A.Florence skincare skin rehab rich (full review coming for both of these). I’m also testing the Josh Rosebrook vital balm cream which has a gorgeous texture but I need to use it more before sharing my thoughts with you.

Are you ready to try to wean yourself off moisturizers?

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