To moisturise or not to moisturise? Well, there is no question that you should be moisturising – after all, we live in South Africa, and, regardless where you live, the climate will wreak havoc on your skin, and you will have to replenish it with lost moisture. As we all know, the skin is by far the largest organ of our body (sorry guys), and the only organ that is constantly exposed to a number of elements that drain the skin of moister.

Close-up of young man applying shaving cream

Close-up of young man applying shaving cream

 

So, what is a moisturiser?

Simply, a moisturiser is a mixture of chemical agents, either naturally occurring or laboratory-created, that have been formulated to assist the external layer of skin in retaining moister, repairing or preventing damage, or providing the skin with additional nutrients and minerals to increase the overall visible health of your skin.

Why moisturise at all?

Moisturising should be part of your daily grooming routine. Why? Because your skin is constantly exposed to a number of elements that increase the rate of ageing. If you don’t moisturise, be prepared for your skin to look a lot older than what it actually is.

When should I start using a moisturiser?

Start as soon as possible, but especially in your teen years, and keep on using moisturisers. The sooner you get started he fast you will be able to keep premature aging at bay. Be aware though that, like the rest of your body, your skin changes as you grow older, so a moisturiser during your teens may not be appropriate for you in your thirties and sixties. If you are a particularly active person, an you enjoy spending times outdoors, then you must replenish the skins moister lost when in the sun, or after rigorous activity.

Are all moisturisers the same?

The short answer, no. Almost all moisturisers start at the same place – with the objective of replenishing the skin with moisture, but from there, moisturisers branch off into various specialities, some focusing more on brightening the skin, others focusing on providing additional minerals to counteract the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, while others include agents to control oil production. These are just some of the options, but there are hundreds more.

Should I moisturise if I have oily, or problem skin?

First and foremost, if you have a persistent problem skin, then its time to stop whatever you are using and make an appointment with a dermatologist. We could delve into all the different skin conditions, but that is a different article altogether. For now, understand that generally you will have either a dry skin, an oily skin or a combination skin. A dry skin just means that your skin does not produce or retain enough moister, an oily skin is a skin type that generates too much, and a combination skin is a type where certain areas on the face have different moister levels. Know you skin type, and decide on a moisturiser that works for your skin.

 

Where should I be moisturising?

Practically, almost everywhere – I would suggest you leave the sensitive areas alone. Your face, neck, ears and hands are generally the areas that are the most exposed to the elements, and will age a lot faster, so as a bare minimum, these are the areas that will require constant moisturising. But that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be moisturising other parts. Throughout the day, the rest of you body will also loose moister, so its best to, two to three times a week, apply a full body moisturiser. Also pay special attention to areas of the body that take a functional-beating daily – such as the knees, elbows and feat.

How should I apply a moisturiser, and how much?

In terms of the amount, you will know how much you should be using after a few tries. The face does not need too much moisturising, but the neck, especially post-shave, needs a little more – and please remember to apply to both the front and back of the neck, as well as the ear areas.

  • As a general rule, apply a moisturiser in an upward direction. Gravity doesn’t need any more help in pulling your skin down.
  • When it comes to applying moisturisers on the face, a guide applies:
  • Apply no more than a flat teaspoon,
  • Apply the moisturiser using a gentle pressure and massage the moisturiser into the skin through small rotations,
  • Do not apply the moisturiser to the area around the eye (anything above the cheekbone) – this is a very sensitive area that needs a special-formulation moisturiser. So stick to following the outline of the eye socket and don’t apply within this area.

What’s the difference between a gel and a cream moisturiser?

They are basically different manners in which the agents are delivered to the skin, and which penetrate the skin. Generally creams leave a residue while gels penetrate the skin faster and do not leave a residue.

What’s the difference between a day and a night cream?

Well, logically, your skin experiences different things during the day than during the night – obviously the most noticeable is UV exposure. A day cream is generally formulated to protect and replenish, which a night cream is formulated to replenish and repair the skin.

Do all moisturisers have an SPF?

No, a moisturiser is not an SPF (Sun protection factor). Some day creams/moisturisers may include an SPF, but it is not a hard and fast rule. The most popular moisturisers are those that are easy to apply, and light and penetrate the skin quickly leaving no residue. An SPF is designed not to penetrate the skin, but to instead provide a barrier to harmful UV rays.

Can I use the same moisturiser on my face as I do on my body?

Well, using a one moisturiser everywhere is better than not using one at all, but you should understand that the skin on your body is a lot thinker and tougher than the skin on your face. If you start using a body moisturiser on your face, it may be a little too oily and lead to pimples or acne.

What should I use around my eyes to prevent early onset wrinkles?

There are creams that have been formulated for the eye area that are extremely light, and do not leave a residue. There is nothing worse that getting a moisturiser in your eye – it burns like hell. Choose the right eye cream for your eye condition – for instance you may suffer from puffiness, dark circles, dryness or wrinkles.

What’s with hand moisturisers?

Bro, just trust me on a hand moisturiser. I have yet to meet a girl that thinks dry, cracked, rough and older-looking hands are remotely attractive. Your hands touch and do a lot every day, so make sure that you are keeping your hands moisturised.

Quickie!

men_moisturisers

Moisturisers men should consider…

  1. Vichy Homme Purifying Hydrating Fluid
  2. Comfort Zone Man Space Extra-Protection Cream
  3. Clarins Men Anti-Fatigue Eye Serum and Revitalizing gel
  4. Nivea Men Active Age Day Moisturiser and Night Regenerator
  5. Truefitt & Hill Advanced Facial Moisturiser
  6. L’Oreal Men Expert Lifting Moisturiser and Hydra Energetic Daily Moisturiser
  7. Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

* this article was originally written, by me, for Maxim South Africa magazine, published in the August 2015 edition.