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Moisturizers are a critical part of a skin care regimen and daily use is particularly important for people with atopic dermatitis or other forms of eczema.

Moisturizers nourish dry skin, prevent fine lines and wrinkles, and protect sensitive skin.


Moisturizers work by hydrating the skin (pulling moisture into the skin) or preventing water loss from the skin.

Moisturizers are generally available in three formulations:

It may be confusing to find the right moisturizer for your skin type. No one moisturizer is suitable for every skin type, and different people have different sensitivities. Faced with so many choices, it’s helpful to know a little about what goes into moisturizers.

Common moisturizer ingredients

The ingredients listed for most moisturizers usually have foreign-sounding names that give no clue about what they do. Here are a few common ingredients:

Other ingredients include vitamins, plant extracts, and sunscreens.

Choosing the right moisturizer for your skin

The right moisturizer for you probably depends on such factors as your age, your skin’s sensitivity to certain ingredients, any skin conditions you have, and your skin type. There are four basic skin types:

Another consideration is aging skin, because your skin tends to become drier as you get older. In addition to sun-avoidance measures, protect your skin from the aging process by choosing oil-based products with a petrolatum base that include lactic acid or alpha-hydroxy acids to hold in moisture.

Moisturizer tips

To get the most out of your moisturizing regimen, observe a few simple tips:

If you haven’t been able to find the right moisturizer or you find that your skin reacts to the products you are using, talk to your doctor who can help recommend the best moisturizer for your skin type.