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Can Over-Using Moisturizers Cause Dry Skin?

How much moisturizer is too much? It's all about that balance. Learn how much moisturizer to use and when to get better skin.

The Right Way to Use Moisturizer for Healthier Skin

While some of us have complex, multi-step skincare regimens, others have whittled the complicated process down to two basic and essential steps: cleansing and moisturizing. But can we moisturize too much? It seems that no amount of moisture could be too much for our skin when we are hoping to prevent or delay the development of fine lines, and trying to keep our skin soft, supple, and smooth. But according to many dermatologists, some of us are over-using our moisturizers, and in the process, we might actually be causing our skin to dry out and age faster—the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish.

Is the Best Night Cream No Night Cream?

If you ever struggled with acne as a teen or young adult, you may remember being told not to over-wash your face. Over-washing meant stripping your face of oils, and in a defensive response, the skin would go into overdrive to produce more oils, sometimes worsening acne.

While that’s been proven to be true, doesn’t it stand to reason that the opposite may also be true? Does using too much moisturizer cause our skin to stop producing its own essential moisture-retaining oils?

Some top dermatologists tell us the answer is yes. According to a prominent dermatologist in Beverly Hills, if you continually apply a great deal of moisture to the skin’s surface it interferes in the skin’s own ability to produce the necessary oils to promote the skin barrier which retains hydration. He compares this effect to that of continually spraying the foliage of a tree or shrub. Since the tree’s vitality depends on drawing moisture and nutrients from the earth, it will wither and die without that hydration, no matter how often you spray it.

Moisturizing Night Creams: Too Much of A Good Thing?

Applying too much moisturizer can clog pores and reduce the ability of your skin to produce the sebum it needs to keep skin hydrated and supple. If it takes a long time for your moisturizer or night cream to be absorbed it’s a sign that you may be applying too much. Normal skin types don’t require large amounts of moisturizing.

If you are running out of your night cream or moisturizer too often, it’s another indication that you are using too much. The best night creams are formulated to be absorbed quickly and only require a thin layer applied in order to be effective.

Over-using your night cream or moisturizer will cause your skin to appear dry and dull, as the skin gets used to its moisture being applied topically at night and lessens its own production of oils. Essentially, your skin gets the message that its surface is moist and doesn’t require the production of critical lipids and proteins to retain hydration. This may cause your skin to dry, making you believe you need to apply even more topical moisture, resulting in blocked pores and drier skin. It becomes a vicious cycle.

how to use The Best Night Creams in the Most Effective Way

According to dermatologists, the best practice is to apply a small amount of one of the best night cream options available today, with deep moisturizing properties and anti-aging ingredients, immediately after a shower or bath. That is when our dry, tired skin is freshly rehydrated and replenished. Applying a nickel-sized amount of moisturizer at that time will serve to lock in the skin’s own moisture rather than slathering on large amounts of thick cream onto dry skin, where it will sit and clog pores, interfering in the skin’s own production of sebum.

Another good tip toward using your best night creams and moisturizers effectively is to exfoliate your skin once per week. A layer of dead skin cells will prevent the moisture from being absorbed into the cells and will cause it to sit on the surface of the skin where it interferes in normal lipid production. It’s helpful to remove the dead skin cells and then apply a small amount of your best night cream or moisturizer so your skin can absorb and retain the wonderful, nourishing ingredients that you are paying good money for in order to enjoy the benefits.

Resources— Garnier, The BlondeShell, Refinery29

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