Moisturiser – the best ingredients and how to choose one

Looking for the perfect moisturiser? With so many on the market, it can be tricky to know which is best or – perhaps more importantly – which ingredients it should contain.

While skin makes its own moisture in the form of sebum, it struggles to combat the effects of wind, sun, central heating and air-conditioning, all of which are dehydrating. Luckily, this is where moisturiser comes in! Moisturiser tops up the skin’s moisture content by forming a film over the surface and combats water loss.

But how do you know which one to choose? And what ingredients should a good moisturiser possess? Here we explain how to find the perfect moisturiser for your skin.

How to choose a moisturiser

When choosing a moisturiser, be guided by how the product feels on your skin. A good product should be easily absorbed and not leave your skin feeling greasy. Look for one containing plenty of genuinely skin-friendly ingredients such as essential fatty acids, vitamins and botanical extracts.

Plant oils provide a more skin-compatible base than mineral oils (avoid liquid paraffin or mineral oil on the label). Natural plant-based ingredients such as avocado oil and shea butter have added benefits, such as vitamins, and are well-known for their protective and nourishing properties.

It’s up to you whether you go for a cream, lotion or oil – whatever feels best. As a general rule, slightly thicker, richer mosturisers are good for drier skins, while those with oily skin are better off with a more fluid product that gives a more matt effect on the skin. If you have very sensitive skin, avoid fragranced moisturisers, even natural essential oils.

Best moisturiser ingredients

Skincare ingredients from the natural world are often more compatible with skin than their lab-made synthentic counterparts. They also contain useful skin-boosting ingredients such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Rosehip oil

Rosehip oil is extracted from the rosehips you often see in hedgerows. This oil is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Clinical studies show that it can soften scar tissue, reduce ‘age’ spots and improve the appearance of fine surface facial lines. It’s an excellent facial massage oil, on its own or in blends.

Avocado oil

Avocado oil is a good source of vitamins A (in the form of beta-carotene), B-complex, D and E and can be one of the best  plant oils for soothing dry skin. It’s also a good source of linoleic acid, which helps to strengthen the membranes surrounding skin.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a particularly important ingredients in creams for the mature skin because of its ability to help combat the free-radical cell damage that contributes to skin ageing. Look for moisturisers containing the natural, rather than the synthetic form of vitamin E, as it’s about a third more potent.

Argan oil

Argan oil comes from a tree that grows along the coastal regions of Morocco. Rich in vitamin E, it’s highly prized by the Berber people, who use it to help protect their skin from the dry desert winds and strong sun. Scientists are still looking into the unique plant sterols contained in argan oil, and research shows it to be both anti-inflammatory and restorative.

Borage oil

Borage oil contains high levels of gamma-linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that’s linked to skin-cell strengthening and retained moisture levels.

Cacay oil

Cacay oil is a relatively recent discovery and it seems to have some excellent properties. It comes from the nut of a tree that grows wild along the base of the Andes Mountains in South America, and has long been used by local people there.

A beautiful garden oil, Cacay oil is particularly rich in the natural form of vitamin E and retinol – an ingredient that may help to reduce wrinkles and scarring, delay the signs of ageing an generally plump up the skin.

It’s expensive but you only need to use a few drops, massaged into your skin the last thing each night. Look for sustainable brands that support local communities in their harvesting.  

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