This title may sound incredibly controversial and go against everything you thought you ever knew, but moisturiser should not be an essential part of your skincare routine. Take a moment to let that skin in, or not should we say. We have all been raised with the message that you must moisturise day and night. In the winter, use a thick moisturiser and go a bit lighter in the summer. Every skincare brand promotes this, and we’ve all just accepted it as the norm; however, this is not the case.
Your initial thought to this statement may be, ‘my skin will be dry and dull if I don’t moisturise’. Your skin should be renewing and shedding the skin’s surface layers all the time. When you apply moisturiser, you slow down the process, often leading to dull skin, uneven texture, and breakouts. Your skin is a homeostatic organ which means it is clever at producing enough hydration from the inside. If you give it external hydration when it’s not needed, your skin stops producing its own moisture, and you end up in a cycle of dull, dry and irritated skin that you need to keep applying moisturiser to. It’s like over-watering a plant; you then remove the perfect conditions for it to thrive. If your skin is over-saturated, it cannot do what it was designed to do.
You see men who basically do nothing to their skin and somehow have fewer skincare issues such as sensitivity, blotchiness and breakouts. It’s often because hardly any of them use moisturiser. We all know a man who uses just shampoo on his face and somehow has perfect skin (not to generalise). Doing nothing to your face sadly isn’t the solution, though. Even though their skin may be clear, they aren’t protected from the sun’s harmful rays or have any anti-ageing protection. We just have a tendency to over-wash and exfoliate our skin which means we are constantly stripping our skin of its natural oils. Again though, who can blame you for feeling like you have to wash your face multiple times a day with a 10-step routine? It’s what brands have made you think you have to do.
Oily skin needs twice a day cleansing, but once is enough for normal or dry skin types. You may also need to switch your cleanser to a more gentle one if it is making your skin very dry. People with eczema and psoriasis need extra hydration as their skin doesn’t function as it should. For nearly everyone else, conventional daily moisturising creams give you an instant glow, but regular use will give you more problems in the long run. If your skin feels irritated or you are using active ingredients, you do need a moisturiser in your routine, but it may not be necessary to use it every single day. Anti-ageing and calming serums and sunscreen often moisturise your skin sufficiently.
We recently did a post about this on Instagram. We thought the post would get a lot of backlash. Surprisingly, we had an outpour of people keen to try this or share success stories of how this method had transformed their skin after seeing a dermatologist and being told similar information. When you really think about it, moisturiser usually isn’t what helps the skin. Your sunscreens and serums are the products that do the hard work that keep you looking young. Your moisturiser can often just clog the skin unnecessarily, especially when it’s used twice a day.
The best thing you can do is try and listen to your skin. If it doesn’t feel dry or flakey, then you probably don’t need a moisturiser applied every day. However, it will take some time to break the cycle your skin is currently in, and it will need time to adapt. Initially, your skin will feel dry when you suddenly don’t moisturise multiple times a day, but it will adapt. Serums and sunscreen are often enough to give your skin moisture and hydration. Everyone’s skin is different, and without a skincare consultation, it’s tough to provide you with clear rules to follow. If you don’t have eczema or psoriasis, then know that you don’t need to moisturise every day if you’re using serums and sunscreen. Oily skin needs to be cleansed twice a day, but other skin types do not. If you are using active ingredients such as retinol, you will need a moisturiser in your routine, but it may not be necessary to use it every single day. Again, listen to your skin and see a professional for the correct advice for your individual skin!