Moisturiser- How to select your moisturiser?

Aug 16, 12 Moisturiser- How to select your moisturiser?

Drink lots of water… Is that ‘the’ way to keep your skin well hydrated?

Think of a cup… You can keep filling up the cup but if the cup has holes, water escapes from it and you will end up with an empty cup.

Keeping your skin moisturised and well hydrated is a dynamic process. Apart from drinking water, we have to ensure that water loss from our skin is controlled. Its the balance between water intake and how our skin retain its hydration that makes a difference. That’s when moisturisers make a difference in skin hydration.

There are tonnes of moisturisers in the market. Lots of people are puzzled over the difference especially when the price tag also differs significantly.

What are the types of moisturisers?

Wikipedia defines moisturisers as complex mixtures of chemical agents specially designed to make the external layers of the skin softer and more pliable. They increase the skin’s hydration by reducing evaporation. Basically we can divide moisturisers into occlusive moisturiser, humectant and ceramide containing moisturiser.

Occlusive moisturiser works like a water proof blanket over the skin, preventing water evaporization. The best way to apply this type of moisturiser is to apply them on wet skin, locking the water to the surface. Examples include aqueous cream, emulsifying ointment, liquid paraffin, paraffin or coconut/olive oils.

Humectants works like a pump, drawing water from the environment as well as deeper layer of the skin to the skin surface. The main problem with this group of moisturiser is that it may sometimes cause a bit of itch when you first apply it to your skin. Examples include urea, glycerin and propylene glycol.

Ceramide containing moisturiser repairs the surface lipid barrier and thus reducing water loss from the surface. There are currently many available formulations in the market that contains ceramide.

What are the difference between lotion, cream and ointment?

Lotions are lighter than cream and creams are lighter than ointment. Besides the texture, the main important difference is how long it stays on your skin to hydrate the skin surface. Lotion tends to have the shortest life span of 2-3 hours compared to 4-5 hours for cream and up to 6-8 hours for ointment. This dictates how often you should apply the moisturiser. If you have a very dry skin and needs moisturiser to hydrate your skin, you are likely to need to re-apply according to its life span or even shorter. In this context, ointment seems to outshine the rest. However, if you are living in a humid area, ointment tends to become greasy and intolerable when one sweats.

How do I apply the moisturiser?

Besides applying the moisturiser frequently according to the different formulation (lotion, cream or ointment), it is also important to know the exact way to apply the moisturiser. Moisturisers are often dispensed in large quantity and sometimes in tubs. This is sometimes the reason how moisturiser can be a germs growing medium. It is important to make sure that your moisturisers are not contaminated by the repeated ‘scooping’ by your fingers. Some moisturisers come with a clean spoon to scoop it out. If you are not supplied with this, it is advisable to invest on a small clean scoop or spatula for this purpose or buy moisturisers that comes in tubes.

Apply the moisturiser on a wet surface and rub it into your skin following the direction of your fine hair. This is to prevent it from irritating your hair follicles causing other unwanted problems. Wait for it to dry before applying other creams or powder to your skin.

Whats the difference between fragrance free and unscented moisturiser?

This is very important to people who has sensitive skin. Some has allergy to some of the fragrance mixed used in moisturiser.

Fragrance free should not contain any fragrance in the product. However, some products may still contain these ingredients if they are used for other purposes i.e. as preservatives. These products may sometimes still carry the label ‘fragrance free’. Hence, if you are allergic to fragrance, it is good to perform a patch test for the fragrance series to know exactly the ingredient that you are allergic to so that you can look for them on the product labels.

Unscented just meant that the moisturiser does not carry any smell. It may still carry some ingredients that carries a neutral smell or those that neutralises the smell. If you have a history of allergy to fragrance, it is better to avoid this group of moisturisers as well.


Keeping your skin moisturised is a way to keep your skin healthy and to look younger. Most skin conditions requires a moisturised skin to enable it to heal faster. Hence, optimised the way you use your moisturiser.


Selamat Hari Raya!





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