How Your Moisturizing Mistakes Are Messing Up Your Skin


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The one skincare step most of us find easy to follow is moisturizing – it’s pretty simple, right? Well, that’s where you can go SO wrong – a badly chosen formula and careless application can actually cause breakouts and skin sagging. Seriously, there’s a method of getting the most from your moisturizer, and it’s all about getting the time, formula, and technique just right. Don’t worry though, here’s how to apply moisturizer the right way – follow these steps and you’ll see the difference in your skin in no time at all.

Moisturizer Tip #1: Pick The Right Moisturizer For Your Skin Type

All moisturizers are made up of three types of ingredients: occlusives, which protect your skin and retain moisture; emollients which repair damaged skin cells, and humectants, like glycerin, which increase the water content in the skin. Every product will have a different combination of these three formulas so that they can target different layers of your skin. So, the first step to picking the right moisturizer is knowing your skin type, and then finding a formula to complement it – check out our guide to choosing a moisturizer here as well as our top 10 moisturizers here.

Moisturizer Tip #2: Don’t Pull On Your Skin

Be gentle with your face cream, if you rub too hard you’ll create friction between your skin and hands, causing the water content to evaporate before it’s even started replenishing. Pulling the skin in a downward motion can also lead to premature wrinkles and even saggy skin over time. Instead, apply your moisturizer gently in a circular, upward motion, and for your eye area, pat gently with your ring finger. When you’re done, you should have a slight glow, give this final layer time to absorb before applying any other products.

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Moisturizer Tip #3: Apply Routinely

It seems logical to only hydrate when your skin is dry, but if it already reaches this stage, there’s likely to be a layer of dead skin cells on the surface, making it harder for the product to reach your skin. When your skin is dry, it produces more sebum to lubricate itself, which means you’ll likely end up with sebum build up as well. If you’re guilty of under-moisturizing, make sure you exfoliate before moisturizing to remove any dead skin cell build-up. Aim to moisturize twice a day, once in the morning after you’ve cleansed and toned, and then again in the evening 20 minutes before you sleep; so that it doesn’t rub off or get absorbed into your pillow.

Moisturizer Tip #4: Moisturize Oily Skin

Don’t get sucked into the trap of thinking that if your skin is oily or acne-prone, it doesn’t need moisturizer. If you don’t hydrate your skin, you’ll trigger your body to produce even more sebum (the natural oil that’s the main culprit for its greasy layer). The secret is to look for lightweight, gel formulas that are non-comedogenic (they won’t block your pores) with key ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid.

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Moisturizer Tip #5: Don’t Apply Too Much

If you over-moisturize your skin you’ll quickly become dependent on it for moisture, and sebum levels can decrease – without the natural oil to keep your skin soft and supple, it’ll only look dull and tired. Applying more product doesn’t mean your skin will absorb more; if you use too much product you’ll end up with a thick layer of product that could clog your pores and lead to breakouts.

Moisturizer Tip #6: Massage Like A Pro

As part of your nighttime routine, it’s a good idea to incorporate a facial massage. It may sound like a lot of effort but in reality, it takes two minutes and the benefits are unreal. By simply sweeping your hands across your face, you’ll stimulate blood flow providing your facial muscles with more rejuvenating oxygen. By targeting lymphatic drainage points, you’ll cleanse your lymphatic system of fluid and basically make your face less puffy.

The movement can also help even out skin-tone as it encourages your skin to create more collagen. Continual, gentle finger strokes can even smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Just make sure your hands are clean before you start, and always use upwards and outwards motions. Check out this post for more deets on facial massage.

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Moisturizer Tip #7: Use A Night Cream

Another common mistake people make is using the same product to moisturize in the morning and at night. Night creams are typically richer and heavier than other moisturizers and they’re actually designed to penetrate the skin over an extended period of time. They also contain more potent, replenishing ingredients like retinol, which you should typically avoid in the morning as the ingredients are sensitive to sun.

A day cream is typically lighter and contains antioxidants to help shield your skin from environmental damage and skin-aging free radicals. Some formulas also contain SPF. Check out our top 10 night creams that deliver major results here.

Moisturizer Tip #8: Never Forget Your Neck & Décolletage

Picture this: you’ve reached your skincare finish line; you’ve moisturized your face using a cream that complements your skin type, using the right amount of product, and the correct application technique. While this may sound like a great routine, unless you include your neck and décolletage, it’s not perfect… By skipping your neck and chest area, it’s likely to age faster and be more prone to wrinkles and sagging. Especially as the neck area is more delicate and the dermis is thinner, so it’s actually one of the first areas to show signs of aging. Your neck also has fewer sebaceous glands, so it doesn’t produce as much oil – your skin’s natural moisturizer, hence why it’s SO crucial to moisturize your neck and chest. Finally, remember to use an upward motion when you apply your creams, otherwise, you’re just helping gravity do its dirty work.

Check out our top 10 moisturizers for every budget and beauty issue here.