Moisturising is a basic skincare step but you can maximise the benefits it confers by checking out the full ingredients list.
A great moisturiser contains
Water-binders/emollients to prevent dehydration and comfort dry patches.
Rich emollients like white paraffin and triglycerides serve as protectants where skin’s natural moisture barrier is depleted. Oily skin can benefit from more lightweight binders like panthenol and algae extract.
More of the good stuff that exists between cells naturally and forms a barrier that keeps skin plump and hydrated.
Examples include plant-based or synthetic ceramides, cholesterol and hyaluronic acid.
Then there’s antioxidants to reduce environmental damage and encourage natural repair.
A moisturiser with a variety of these is superior to one reliant on a single ‘star’ ingredient.
Vitamin A,E and C form an excellent skincare cocktail. Green tea-extract, niacinamide or resveratrol make it more potent.
Anti-inflammatories to reduce irritation and support healing are a must for some.
There are some antioxidants in this category (Vitamin E is widely used for its soothing properties).
Other examples include allantoin, colloidal oatmeal and beta-glucan.
Estée Lauder offers several anti-ageing ranges and there is some overlap of independently-proven ingredients.
This makes selecting a moisturiser challenging but also means that none of them are bad choices, exactly, just varying degrees of good.
They differ in cost. Revitalizing Supreme is one of the mid-priced lines and this new addition is a pleasure to use.
The Anti-Ageing Wake Up Balm has the texture of a rich serum and feels very comforting on dry skin.
It contains a nice mix of non-fragrant plant oils and other moisturisers that bolster skin’s natural moisture barrier while supporting natural collagen production.
One of these extracts - moringa oleifera leaf - was recently found to increase a defensive skin-cell protein called Nrf2 by 76% in 24 hours.
Estée Lauder funded the research but even if this makes you sceptical, this extract’s is independently established as a potent antioxidant.
A pump bottle is preferable to the jar packaging EL usually favours because it air and light-proofs skincare, keeping it stable and effective for longer.
The balm is scented but lightly so. Perfume is not without its charm but skin is calmer and healthier when you follow a regime that is minimally-fragranced or fragrance-free.
Dr Perricone’s new Pre:Empt Series collection is also concerned with increasing skin’s Nrf2 content by bombarding it with antioxidants.
The eye cream is especially nice, fragrance-free and loaded with plant oils, hyaluronic acid and fruit extracts.
It also contains caffeine to help de-puff tired eyes, as well as light-reflecting pigments that brighten the area temporarily.
There is nothing on the ingredients likely to bother sensitive eyes nor is the formula greasy enough to interfere with your makeup.
UV-protecting your skin can be a pain, especially when you’re naturally oily and SPF creams gives it a horribly slick look.
Yet it is a vital to be vigilant about protecting oily patches from sun damage.
UV rays exacerbate excess oil production, hamper healing and speed up the increase in pore size that can happen with age.
A matte SPF formula that can shield skin with some elegance is a real find.
Mineral Matte UV Defense has a thin lotion-like texture that makes a great base for makeup.
Sheer colour pigments neutralise the white-ish cast created by titanium and zinc oxides, the most gentle of UV filters.
Perhaps most usefully, aerated silica absorbs excess oil and contributes to a flattering radiant-matte finish.
I would like this product more if it were had a broad range of antioxidants (instead of just two), but it is the brand’s suggestion that you apply it over an intensive anti-ageing serum like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, €150, the benefits of which are most noticeable if you use UV protection daily.
Preservatives are so often highlighted as one of the things we should be glad food doesn’t contain that you might think the same omission is desirable in skincare.
Eau Thermale Avène cites this trend towards simplifying and “getting back to basics” with nutrition as inspiration for three new Tolerance Extreme moisturisers with flip-cap packaging.
The brand says the patented tube design alone keeps each formula sterile.
Preservatives prevent the oxidation and bacterial or microbial contamination of skincare.
This is a broad class of ingredients and some members are potentially sensitising (notably methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone, about which the Irish Skin Foundation published an update last year) but more are fine for everyday use, even on sensitive skin.
Some have water-binding and antioxidant properties (e.g.phytosphingosine, sodium citrate).
I understand the company responding to customer concerns by developing these preservative-free formulas but fear it will contribute to unnecessary wariness of useful substances.
Regardless, Tolérance Extrême Creme is a nice basic moisturiser for normal to dry and sensitive skin.
The formula is rich in shea butter, safflower oil and Avène’s own spring water.