Reviewed by Linda Nelson

The popularity of skincare products has increased dramatically since the early 1900s, when manufactured soaps and moisturizers first became available. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Chemical and biological pollution can damage the surface layers of our skin.
  • Some scented soaps reduce skin moisture.
  • Leisurely bathing has been replaced by rushed scrubbing, removing healthy skin qualities from our faces.
  • Today's average American diet is not as rich in hydrating qualities as it once was.

Hydration is essential to a moisturized face. Proper hydration requires the right diet, water intake, and a daily skincare program. Hydration can be limited by the decline of bodily functions as we age. Manufactured moisturizers can hold moisture in; however, they do not add moisture to the skin.

Preparation for Outside Elements

Moisturizers help prepare the skin for makeup application. They also protect the skin from pollution, debris, and the weather. For example, we lose moisture in heat. On hot days, we require more moisturizing applications than cool days. Sun exposure also reduces hydration levels.


Different skin types need different moisturizers. Moisturizers for healthy skin are different than moisturizers for a person with a skin disorder. Moisturizers that are high in water content typically offer less protection than those with a higher oil base. The most popular oil-based moisturizers may contain glycerin, mineral oil, petrolatum and dimethicone.

Moisture Safeguards

  • Fragrance-free and chemical-free cleansers help prevent dryness. Gently smooth cleansers on the face (instead of scrubbing) to help prevent loss of moisture.
  • Treat your face with moisturizers high in oil content to seal in existing moisture.
  • Splash tepid water instead of hot water to help prevent moisture drain.
  • Pat skin dry to leave natural oils on the skin, to be sealed in by the right moisturizer.
  • Drink plenty of water each day and maintain a proper diet, rich in hydrating properties.
  • Inquire about non-drying cosmetic products.

Consult a Qualified Doctor

The information in this article cannot replace the advice of a qualified doctor. Primary care physicians can help provide information about diet and water intake to maintain proper hydration levels. A qualified dermatologist can help select the right moisturizer for your skin.

About the Reviewer of This Article

Linda Nelson is the director of education for ZO SKIN HEALTH, by Zein Obagi, MD. She is based in Irvine, Calif.