A Moisturizer For All Seasons

Q&A2Question:  Is there a moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores?  When my skin gets dry from RetinA or a laser type treatment, I need to  put on a moisturizer to relieve dryness and flaking.  But whatever I try  seems to provoke acne  breakouts.  Any ideas?

Answer:  This is such a common problem and until last week I didn’t have  much of an answer.  Sometimes a moisturizer that was both oil and fragrance free would work, but often that too  could provoke problems.  Then at a recent dermatology conference in New York,  laser care expert Dr Mark Nestor of Miami recommended a  water based spray to provide moisture.  In addition to water, the spray should contain glycerin and  natural  moisturizing factors  such as hyaluronic acid. Plain water sprays would actually increase dryness but  the glycerin and hyaluronic acid would help the skin hold onto the water that had been sprayed on the  irritated face.

I found three such products and they all delivered as promised:

Thermal Spring Water Soothing Serum ( Avene,  $34, for 1oz)-  Don’t confuse this product with the  Eau Thermale  from Avene which is  just plain water– albeit apparently  very healthy water.   The Soothing Serum includes  both glycerin and dimethicone which provides  long lasting moisture holding  properties.  No hyaluronic acid, but it still hydrates the skin beautifully.

Ultracalming Mist ( Dermalogica, $32 for 6oz)- I really love product although it does not contain hyaluronic acid.  The  soothing ingredients like oat kernal extract and the water  holding glycerin really  provide hydration without  clogging the pores. 

Hyaluronic Hydrating Mist ( Derma e, $13 for 2 oz)– So far this is the only mist that I have found with all the ingredients recommended by Dr Nestor.   It also  has antioxidant rich green tea and two   super soothers– allantoin and aloe vera.

There are two other types of  water sprays that are less effective.  Some like those from Evian  have just plain water which can actually dry out the skin further.  Others  have oils  and waxes that put  it back in the category of a traditional moisturizer.   You need to read  the labels  carefully to spot unwanted  ingredients like oils and alcohol.

You can use the spray before bedtime or in the morning.  However during the day you will also need to use  a sunscreen to protect against aging UV rays. If  you find sunscreens, even oil free formulas   provoke acne breakouts,  brush on a SPF fortified powder such as Brush On BlockSPF 30 from Susan Posnick.

5 thoughts on “A Moisturizer For All Seasons

  1. Hi there,
    this is an interesting post. I happen to own the Ultracalming mist and up until yesterday i was using the Ultracalming serum concertrate from the same line that Dermalogica ha created. I have also been using retin a every night for 6 months. However i find that serum has been clogging my pores lately or perhaps it’s this very hot weather. Either way, i tried your idea of just using the ultraclming mist and I must say it does make my skin feel quite nice during the whole day (and i’ve got quite oily skin). However, when i apply foundation over it (Revlon ColorStay) my skin is too dry for it.I will try out the mist for a couple of days and see if it clogs my pores somehow. But thanks for that!

  2. I have two suggestions: 1) If your skin is oily, try using mineral foundation with a 30SPF. If will even out skin tone as well as provide sun protection. 2) If you like a liquid foundation try mixing it with a drop or two of an oil free moisturizer, before applying it to your skin.

  3. Appreciate you and your informative blog,

    I am almost 50, have rosacea and am currently using Tretinoin .025%, a spf45 sunblock with zinc oxide and powder mineral make-up as recommended by my dermatologist. My skin feels so dry and tight, and is flaky in areas, but she says to trust her and will not recommend any other moisturizers for my face or around my eyes. I need moisture, not to mention that the dryness just accentuates my wrinkles. Would you recommend using the Thermal Spring Water Soothing Serum to my routine? i don’t want to lessen the impact of the Tretinoin and not sure what to use.

    • Most derms regularly recommend oil-free moisturizers when using Retin A, but if your doctor is against their use she probably has good reason. Some types of rosacea react very badly to any type of moisturizer and she wants to give the medication the best environmnet to work in. At a recent conference on dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital , experts recommended hydrating water sprays to relieve medication induced dryness. These products contain water, glycerin to soothe the skin and hyaluronic acid which helps skin hold onto water. Two examples are Avene Thermal Spring Soothing Serum and Derma e Hydrating Mist with Hyaluronic Acid. ( Both are available online from The Derm Store) They do not contain any oils or waxes that could clog pores or irritate the skin. But ask you doctor first if she approves.

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