Moisturizing: Behind the Mystique

Consult the Experts

I’m a skeptic by nature, and I seldom fall for an advertising pitch. When I shop, I’ve done my homework – compared products and prices, read reviews and tried samples. My money and I don’t part easily. So, when I was in the market for a new moisturizer, I thought I’d do a little research. I came across an old article from the Harvard Health Publication of Harvard University. In their March 4, 2008 issue of HEALTHBeat, they published an article called, Moisturizers- Do They Work? (

Since that’s exactly what I wanted to know, I read this short, informative article and learned a few things, like how cosmetics can make all kinds of claims on their labels. I checked the FDA website, and it says, “FDA has consistently advised manufacturers to use whatever testing is necessary to ensure the safety of their products and ingredients.”


So, even if I choose the cheapest store-brand face lotion, it’s supposed to be safe. It might promise things it can’t deliver, but it shouldn’t hurt me.

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Get the Facts

The article summarized everything very concisely along these lines:

  • When our skin gets too dry, it’s apt to crack and could get infected.
  • Moisturizers add a little water to our skin and then hold it there.
  • Vaseline ™ is the grandmother of all moisturizers.
  • Almost any moisturizer will hold at least a little water on your skin, and will be less greasy than petroleum jelly.

So, in a nutshell, if dry skin is your problem, just choose a moisturizer that feels good and smells good, and it should help to moisturize and protect your skin. Other tips to increase moisture for your skin are:

  • Use warm water, not hot
  • Humidify your home
  • Avoid baring your face to wind and cold
  • Use a mild soap, like Dove ™
  • Use a lotion like Cetaphil™

Wow! Harvard recommended my face soap and my mom’s favorite lotion!

Shop Around

If you read my last post, you know that I have dry and oily areas, and need a light, oil-free moisturizer to accommodate both areas. I’d heard about Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, ™ and that sounded perfect. I just wasn’t sure about paying $17 for 1.7 ounces. I thought I might go with Harvard’s suggestion instead.

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After talking with my mom, a woman in her 70s with smooth, beautiful skin, I started using Cetaphil.™ It isn’t glamorous, but it really works. It’s light enough that it doesn’t aggravate my oily areas, and rich enough that it repaired my dry areas. At around $10, I’m happy.

Choosing a moisturizer shouldn’t take a college degree! Make your face happy and get one today!


Nancy Schiller

Nancy is based in suburban Philadelphia, PA. She writes articles on a variety of topics to inspire, educate and entertain her readers.

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