Applying moisturizer to your skin is only half the battle. New York City dermatologist Howard Sobel explains how to reap all the healthy skin benefits of your face lotion.
Apply it at the right time. "The key to moisturizing is when you apply it," says Sobel. The best time to do it is right after you shower or wash your face, when your skin is still damp so you can seal in the moisture that's already there. FYI: You only have about a three-minute window before your skin is completely dry. It's also a good idea to moisturize twice daily, once in the morning and again before bed.
Choose the best formula. "Each skin type responds best to different moisturizer formulas," says Sobel. "If you have dry skin, try an oil-based cream with major hydrators like silicone, ceramides, or glycerin. They prevent moisture from escaping your skin. For oily skin, choose a water-based moisturizer. It won't clog your skin and cause breakouts. Combination and normal skin types should experiment with lightweight lotions that contain humectants like sodium PCA and hyaluronic acid, which attract water from the air to your skin."
Don't stop at your face. "It's important to apply moisturizer on your neck, chest, and hands since those areas are just as exposed as your face and therefore prone to sun damage," says Sobel. Another important area to keep hydrated: your eyes. "It'll keep the skin plump and help prevent fine lines."