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Role of Moisturizer in Various Skin Illnesses

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Role of Moisturizer in Various Skin Illnesses

4 min read


Moisturizers constitute a significant part of daily skincare routines. Read further to understand how moisturizing your skin daily is beneficial.

Written by

Dr. Suvash Sahu

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At June 18, 2016
Reviewed AtMarch 12, 2024


Daily moisturizing is paramount for a healthy skin, yet most people consider it an aesthetically-inclined habit. Skin, the body's largest organ, requires regular attention to stay healthy, radiant, young, and blemish-free. Moisturizers have long been an essential part of daily skincare routines. There are numerous reasons to incorporate moisturizers in a daily skincare regime. They increase the water content in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis), which relieves dryness. They are also known to fight against signs of aging and help skin look healthier and glowing.

What Are Common Dry Skin Diseases?

The common dry skin diseases are as follows:

  • Atopic dermatitis (skin disease causing redness and itching).

  • Psoriasis (a chronic skin disease in which there is the multiplication of skin cells).

  • Ichthyosis (skin disease causing dry and itchy skin).

  • Perioral dermatitis (benign skin disease causing pustules and papules).

  • Seborrheic dermatitis skin disorder affecting the scalp).

What Do Moisturizers Contain?

Moisturizers consist of the following ingredients:

  • Emollients: Essential fatty acids such as long-chain saturated fatty acids (linoleic, stearic, oleic, lauric acid, and fatty alcohols) are some examples of emollients. These are found naturally in palm oil, wool fat, and coconut oil and are generally used in cosmetic formulations or topical medications. Emollients affect skin physiology and pathology through many effects on skin barrier function, including membrane fluidity, cell signaling, improving skin repair, and permeability, thus playing an essential role in therapeutic benefits.

  • Humectants: These possess emollient properties. Examples of humectants are glycerin, urea, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, propylene glycol, and honey. They reduce trans-epidermal water loss by increasing water absorption from the dermis into the epidermis, where it quickly evaporates.

  • Occlusives: These substances have a major effect when applied to dampened skin by creating a hydrophobic barrier over the skin. Petrolatum is the most effective occlusive moisturizer. Even a minimum concentration of 5 % can decrease trans-epidermal water loss by 98 %. In addition, many waxy or fatty substances can function as occlusives. E.g., lecithin, cetyl alcohol, mineral oil, lanolin, paraffin, and stearic acid.

What Is the Role of Moisturizer?

Healthy-looking skin is essential as a flawed presentation can result in low self-esteem, affecting the quality of life. Moisturizers are often used to reduce wrinkles and fine lines and smoothen and hydrate the skin, improving one's social life, psychological satisfaction, and quality of life. Moreover, either normal or dry skin may benefit from proper moisturizer utilization. Moisturizer forms an impervious lipid barrier that prevents water evaporation from the skin, increasing the water contents.

Apart from skin moistening, moisturizers also have many benefits. Some of the common uses of moisturizers include:

  • Anti-Inflammation – Moisturizer components, including palmitoyl-ethanolamine, glycyrrhetinic acid, and telmesteine, have abundant anti-inflammation properties. These components work through various mechanisms, such as blocking cyclooxygenase activity, down-regulating cytokines, and proinflammatory prostanoid production, thus soothing inflamed skin.

  • Antipruritic – Moisturizers containing water provide a cooling effect from water evaporation on the skin surface. In addition, some moisturizers may contain menthol as an additive, providing a cooling sensation and relieving itching symptoms.

  • Antimitotic – The mineral oils in moisturizers include low-grade epidermal antimitotic properties, which provide therapeutic benefits for skin conditions with increased epidermal mitotic activity, such as psoriasis.

  • Promotes Wound Healing – Hyaluronic acid in moisturizers is proven to promote wound healing.

What Is the Method of Appling Moisturizer?

The key to optimal benefits is the correct time and methods for moisturizer application. The following things should be kept in mind while applying moisturizers:

  • More commonly occlusive oils like coconut and other mineral oils should be applied to dry skin for beneficial effects.

  • After rubbing the moisturizers, the moisturizer should be applied along the direction of the hairs. Otherwise, it can cause oil folliculitis.

  • Depending on the severity of dryness, the frequency of application of moisturizer can vary from once to thrice daily.

  • Sunscreens should be applied in sun-exposed areas for half an hour before going out of the house for their sun protection action.

  • The choice of emollient depends upon the area of the body and the degree of dryness of the skin. Lotions are used on the scalp and other hairy areas. Creams are used on the face, trunk, and limbs, and ointments for drier, thicker, and more scaly areas.

What Is the Best Time to Moisturize?

The best time to use moisturizer is after a bath or shower, shave, or exfoliation. Moisturizing immediately after a shower is necessary because hot water strips all the moisture and essential oils out of the skin, leaving it dry. While hot water can be relaxing, it is harmful to the skin. Therefore, never skip the moisturizer.

Important Tips:

Now that we know why moisturizing is vital for healthy skin, the following quick tips can help retain the natural glow:

  • Avoid rubbing the skin; instead, gently pat it dry.

  • Use warm water instead of hot water for baths and showers.Hot showers and baths are harmful to the skin.

  • Drink plenty of water. Drink at least eight cups of water daily to keep the skin supple and hydrated.

  • Use gentle soaps and detergents.

  • Avoid using alcohol-based soaps and shampoos as they can strip natural oils from the skin. Instead, switch to a mild, fragrance-free cleanser.

  • Humidifiers can also help.

  • Pay extra attention to the hands. Hands get affected by a dry environment more than any other body part. So apply good hand cream after each hand washing.

  • Apply sunscreen before going outdoors to protect the skin from the sun's harmful UV rays.

  • Apply lip balm regularly to heal dry, cracked lips. Use a lip balm that has an SPF of at least 30.

  • Wear loose clothing made out of natural fiber. Otherwise, clothing can bind, rub and dry out the skin.

Schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional if you suffer from dry skin problems and if these self-care tips do not help. Very dry, irritated skin may require the attention of a healthcare professional. It can be a sign of an underlying health problem. A healthcare professional can examine the skin and prescribe the treatment to relieve the dryness or irritation.

What Is the Treatment of Dry Skin?

The tips to treat dry skin are as follows:

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Avoid the use of hot water.

  • Use moisturizer regularly.

  • Use a humidifier during winter climates.

  • Avoid harsh products.

  • Keep baths short.

  • Use sunscreen.

  • Use skin care products wisely.


Moisturizers can be considered cosmetics and therapeutic products when applied to treat conditions associated with skin dryness. A moisturizer can help retain skin moisture, relieve dryness, and treat various conditions that co-exist with skin dryness. If moisturizer fails to solve the problem, talk to a healthcare professional to examine the skin and get the best treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why Is Moisturizer Vital for All Types of Skin?

Moisturizing regularly can help prevent extreme oiliness or dryness. Both these conditions damage the skin and are the root of frequent skin problems like acne. It also helps to conceal skin blemishes.


How Does Moisturizer Protect Skin?

Moisturizers function as humectants, emollients, and occlusives, each with a unique mode of action, to assist skin barrier repair, maintain skin integrity, and enhance the skin's look. In addition, it prevents signs of premature aging.


Does Seborrheic Dermatitis Benefit From Moisturizer?

The most common therapies for seborrheic dermatitis include medicated shampoos, creams, and lotions. However, before considering prescription medications, a doctor advises trying home remedies, such as over-the-counter dandruff shampoos.


What Advantages Does Moisturizer Offer?

Advantages of moisturizer include -
- Prevents skin dryness.
- Slows down the signs of aging.
- Helps to fight acne.
- Gives protection from harmful sunlight.
- Soothes sensitive skin.


What Three Types of Moisturizers Are There?

The three types of moisturizers are -
- Humectants.
- Occlusives.


What Results From Failing to Moisturize?

Not moisturizing the skin may lead to the following consequences -
- Dull and dry skin.
- Wrinkles and fine lines.
- Skin breakouts.
- Sunburns.
- The skin may get vulnerable.
- Make-up would look flaky with no finishing.
-Tight and itchy skin.


Is Moisturizer Required?

A daily moisturizer is required to preserve the skin's moisture barrier and guard against environmental skin damage. In addition, without a moisturizer, the skin becomes dehydrated and experiences a low level of inflammation, which breaks down the collagen and gives an aged look


What Drawbacks Does Moisturizer Have?

Some moisturizers prevent water from evaporating, clogging pores, and worsening acne. As a result, taking medications like tretinoin (Retin-A) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) may become more complex. In addition, some physicians believe that moisturizers speed up skin aging since dry skin reflects more UV light than moisturized skin does.


What Results From Daily Facial Moisturization?

Daily moisturizer use could age your skin instead of making it younger. This is because the skin will become sensitive, dry, dull, and less able to retain its natural hydration if you apply a lot of moisture.


Without Using a Moisturizer, How Can I Hydrate My Skin?

Oils like argan oil, olive oil, and coconut oil are a few natural oils that work well as an alternative to conventional moisturizers. In addition, many skin care products on the market today contain oil, and oil-based soaps may also be an excellent choice.


Which Moisturizer Is Ideal for Dry Skin?

High-quality moisturizers can aid in calming and repairing dry, irritated, and itchy skin. It shields the skin from environmental harm and aids in maintaining the moisture barrier. A daily lightweight moisturizer packed with moisturizing elements, such as niacinamide or hyaluronic acid, might be helpful if you have dry or dull skin. Choose a thicker formula for your specific skin concerns if you have dehydrated skin, flaking, eczema, or reside in a cold region.


What Distinguishes a Lotion From a Moisturizer?

According to the Oxford online dictionary, a moisturizer is "a lotion or cream intended to prevent dryness in the skin." A lotion is "a thick, smooth liquid preparation designed to be applied to the skin for medicinal or cosmetic purposes." Lotions and moisturizers are not opposites; instead, they are different substances on a continuum of creams that soften the skin. Both lotions and moisturizers are utilized for rejuvenation and healing.


Vaseline: A Moisturizer or Not?

According to studies, petroleum jelly is one of the best moisturizers on the market. It functions by resting on top of your skin, creating a barrier and stopping water from escaping. For dehydrated skin, Vaseline can be used as a daily moisturizer.


Is Applying Moisturizer Before Bed Okay?

The skin produces the most oil daily and less throughout the night. As a result, when you lose that layer of natural oils that protect, your skin loses more water. It is, therefore, crucial to replenish this water loss with a moisturizer overnight.


What Time of Day Should You Use Moisturizer?

Moisturizers must be used regularly whenever the skin looks dry. However, over-moisturizing must be avoided. Especially after cleansing the face in the morning and night, a moisturizer is advised. Additionally, moisturizing immediately after a shower or bath will help lock in moisture.
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Dr. Suvash Sahu
Dr. Suvash Sahu



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