You’ve scraped or squeezed out just about as much as you can from the bottom of your tube of body moisturizer. You know it’s time to add it to your shopping list, but you’ve been wondering if the moisturizer you’re currently using is really the best on the market. The one you have seems to be working fine enough, but with all the new products on the market, you can’t help but wonder if it’s time to try something new.
Whether you’ve been sticking to an old favorite for years, or switch moisturizers one right after the other, understanding what goes into a good body moisturizer is important. Here’s the scoop on what goes into a good moisturizer, and what to avoid for the smoothest, healthiest, most radiant skin possible.
Determine What You Want and Need from Your Moisturizer
I want to start here because it really doesn’t matter what ingredients you choose if your moisturizer isn’t well suited for your skin type, or what you need from it. For example, if you have extremely sensitive skin, you’re going to want to use extra care in choosing a body moisturizer with ingredients that are gentle and non-irritating. If your skin is extremely dry or itchy, you’ll want soothing ingredients like shea butter that quench the skin without leaving sticky irritants on the surface.
Another thing you might want to consider when choosing a moisturizer is why you’re using it. I know, it’s almost a silly question. The reason is you want soft, silky skin. What you do need to consider is if you’re looking for a quality daily moisturizer, or if there’s a need for something that provides more than the standard moisturizer you use every day. If you live in a climate where winters are especially cold, dry, and brutal, you might want to look into a moisturizer that’s more nourishing and emollient than the one you use other times of the year. If you’re having an eczema flare up or are suffering from skin changes due to a health issue or medication, you might also require something that’s a little more targeted for your needs.
What Goes into a Good Body Moisturizer?
In my version of a perfect world, the ideal body moisturizer is one that is rich and luxuriant, feels pampering as it glides across my skin, and then absorbs easily, leaving behind skin that feels silky and smooth. A good quality moisturizer should do this for your entire body, including the areas where skin is thicker, like elbows, knees and the heels of your feet, as well as the more delicate areas where skin is naturally thinner, and therefore more sensitive. This is a tall order, but there are some moisturizing ingredients that can handle the challenge beautifully.
Essential Fatty Acids: You might be familiar with these from a dietary standpoint. Essential fatty acids are what we commonly refer to as “healthy fats”, you know those good fats that your body needs for optimal performance. Fatty acids aren’t important just for what’s going on inside your body, they’re essential for healthy skin as well. You skin cells require the fuel provided by these fatty acids to undergo their most basic functions. These fatty acids also provide a barrier that locks in moisture as they’re helping to repair and rebuild your skin. You’re going to find essential fatty acids in natural skincare ingredients like shea butter, olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil, just to name a few.
Humectants: If your skin was able to draw enough moisture in on its own, and prevent moisture from leaving, you probably wouldn’t need a body moisturizer at all. However, our skin is very vulnerable to the elements, even if by “elements” we’re talking about the air inside or homes, or the friction of clothes against skin. Humectants play a vital role in a good quality body moisturizer because the help your skin attract moisture from the surrounding environment. A good example of a natural humectant is aloe. Aloe helps soothe and heal the skin, and part of the reason it’s so effective is because of its ability to draw ample moisture to the skin’s surface. Along with aloe, Pro-vitamin B5 (Panthenol) is also an effective humectant, as is glycerin.
Antioxidants: Every day, your skin is exposed to an incredible amount of toxins and irritants from the environment. They’re in your home, office, car, and even the great outdoors. While we can limit our exposure, it’s next to impossible to completely eliminate any exposure at all. Over time, exposure to toxins and irritants creates an abundance of free radicals, which leads to oxidative stress and damage. An ounce of prevention here is worth its weight in gold, but a body moisturizer that contains antioxidant ingredients can help minimize, and in some cases reverse, the damage caused by free radicals. Look for antioxidants like rose hip and green tea extracts, both of which are found in our Cocoa-Shea Blissful Body Butter.
Is a Natural Body Moisturizer Better for Your Skin?
Finally, my last bit of advice when looking for a good body moisturizer is to look for a product that focuses on nourishing your skin, while being gentle on the earth. There’s no reason to turn to harsh, synthetic ingredients when mother nature has provided so many that nourish and moisturize your skin beautifully. Look for natural skin care that features luxurious plant oils, vitamins, and plant-based extracts that heal your skin and make you feel good about the choices you make.