No one wants flaky, dry, and moldy skin this winter. Here are 6 effective moisturizing ingredients to help your skin "beat" this uncomfortable tightness. Look for products that contain moisturizing ingredients below.
This ingredient acts like a vacuum that draws water from the air into your skin – so moisturizers with glycerin work best when you apply them right after you shower, while your skin is still damp. Compared to other moisturizing ingredients, glycerin is inexpensive (meaning the product can actually contain a lot of it) and smooth (so you can put on makeup right away).
If you want instant radiant skin or need a relief from dryness and stinging, then ceramide is the obvious choice. They are natural fats in the skin, and their only job is to coat the water molecules so they don't evaporate. "They strengthen the skin's natural moisture barrier," says dermatologist Francesca Fusco. “And they are absorbed very quickly.”
Sure, it sounds scary. But calm down: Synthetic urea is really great for exfoliating and hydrating skin at the same time. It's an effective exfoliant that works best for rough spots on your body, like your heels. “A lot of other moisturizing ingredients can only stay in the upper part of your skin,” says Fusco. “Urea helps dissolve dead skin cells, allowing other moisturizing ingredients to better penetrate your skin.”
Wrinkles, dull skin – try hyaluronic acid. This molecule expands after it absorbs water, and plumps wrinkles on the spot. But that doesn't mean all products with hyaluronic acid give you instant gratification – because the ingredient is quite expensive, it can be in low concentrations. Look for products with hyaluronic acid listed near the top of the ingredient list.
Remove dead cells and moisturize the skin. Here are the solution to a very common complaint: "A lot of patients complain of dry feet in the winter," says Fusco. “Use a product with lactic acid when your body is still damp from a shower, then apply a base moisturizer. That will fix it.” (Obviously, this ingredient also works on the arm.)
It's really thick, and that is a good thing: Petrolatum creates a coating that traps water vapor in the skin and reduces natural water loss. "It's very effective at filling in cracks to treat chapped skin," says Fusco. It can feel greasy – best left on overnight – but it works wonders (in a scientific way) on rough patches of skin on the body.