Sunday, January 1, 2012


Over the years I have heard several people say that they don't moisturize their face after cleansing because they don't want to clog their pores. This seems to be a general misconception about moisturizers. If you choose a moisturizer that is designed for your skin type, it will not clog your pores. In fact, with the proper moisturizer, your skin will look positively radiant.

Since, I know people can be skeptical, let's start with what does cause blemishes. Clogged pores. But, you already knew that! What causes clogged pores? First, excess oil; excess is the key word, your skin produces oil to keep it supple and healthy. Second, dirt and makeup; which is why cleansing is so important (read more here or here). Last, dead skin cells; your skin is constantly shedding dead skin cells, but if your skin is too dry the cells won't shed properly and can clog your pore. These three factors can cause blackheads or whiteheads.

What does moisturizing do for your skin? Moisture is important for the following reasons:
Photo by † David Gunter
  1. Prevent dry skin: Dry skin can actually lead to clogged pores and increased breakouts. However, if you choose a proper moisturizer, your skin will be healthier and it will shed those dead skin cells better. 
  2. Replenish: Your skin needs a barrier from the environment (including bacteria), and the oils (or sebum) produced by your skin provides that. However, several things can rob your skin of that barrier; washing, cold winter weather, heaters, dry climate, or even just not producing enough oils can cause problems. By using a moisturizer that is designed for your skin type, your will get the proper balance of oils without causing clogged pores. 
  3. Prevent wrinkles: When your skin is dry or tight, it will look more wrinkled! Think of a grape compared to a raisin. Moisturizers have varying amounts of water in them, which is absorbed by the skin and held in by the oils. This promotes a more healthful, glowing appearance.
 So, even though it may seem backwards, if you want to prevent clogged pores and rough, dry skin, you need to use a moisturizer that contains some percentage of oils. If you have oily skin, you want to find a light moisturizer with more water and less oil. If you have dry skin, a heavier cream with less water and more oil would be good. Normal skin needs a pretty normal moisturizer :). Pay attention to your skin, if you feel oily the next morning or later in the day, you either used too much or chose the wrong moisturizer. If you feel dry and tight, you didn't use enough or chose the wrong moisturizer.

Your skin's needs may vary throughout the year and with your lifestyle, so make sure to pay attention to what your skin needs. Remember to love your neck and decollete (chest). Use gentle pressure and upward strokes to avoid giving gravity any help.