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Water based moisturizer or oil- based moisturizer? Telling the difference

You go to a beauty store and see a huge display of different moisturizers, what comes to your mind and what helps you make your decision?

Today, we will be looking at the difference between a water- based moisturizer and an oil-based moisturizer and which is best for your skin type.

Water-based moisturizer : As you can rightly guess, the major Ingredient here is water. They are usually lighter and they get easily absorbed into the skin faster. You can tell if a moisturizer is water based or oil based by looking at the ingredients list. If the first ingredient is water, the moisturizer is most likely water-based. If the first ingredient is an oil, it is most likely an oil-based moisturizer. Water based moisturizers usually contain one or several humectants which aids against evaporation.

 Humectants are water- attracting Ingredients, they draw water to the top layer of the skin either from the environment, or from the deeper layer of the skin. Examples include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sorbitol etc. It is also important to note that some water Рbased lotions can contain little quantity of oil. This is also to help against evaporation.

Water-based moisturizers may refer to lotions, gels, or creams. The major difference is in the quantity of water. Water gels have more water than both lotions and creams. Lotions fall in the middle. They have more water than cream, but less than gels. Creams have little quantity of water making it have a thicker texture than the other two. If you are looking for a light weight moisturizer, a water based lotion or gel is advised.

Oil-based moisturizer: Oil based moisturizers are an alternative to their water-based counterparts. They come in form of cream, face and body oil, ointment. As mentioned above, the major difference is in the quantity of oil present in each. If a moisturizer contains more oil than water, it is an Oil-based based moisturizer. It is important to make sure whatever oil based moisturizer you decide to get will not clog your pores. This is why many manufacturers label their products ‘ non-comedogenic’, which simply means it will not clog your pores.

Ointments have more oil concentration than creams which makes them thicker and greasier. A face or body oil can contain just one type of oil or combination of different oils.

Which should I use?

Knowing which moisturizer to use comes after knowing your skin type or the condition you want to treat. One of the most important factors to consider is to know if you have a dry or dehydrated skin.

These terms are often used interchangeably, but it’s important to know they are two different conditions.

A dry skin signifies a skin type whereby the sebum production is less than normal. Sebum is the oily susbtance produced by the sebaceous glands to help protect and moisturize the skin. Dry skin can also occur if the skin’s lipid barrier is depleted. Generally, a dry skin will look cracky, dull, rough and feel itchy. A dry skin will lead to early signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles.

Typically, people with this type of skin should use the oil-based moisturizer.

On the other hand, a dehydrated skin is a skin condition whereby the skin lacks water. Generally, a dehydrated skin will look dull, can feel itchy and also appear uneven. People with this skin condition should go with the water based moisturizer to supply the water needed by the skin.

Now, that you know your skin and the condition you want to treat, deciding on what moisturizer to use becomes so easy.

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