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Skincare Matchmaker: Moisturizers

Not all moisturizers are created equal, which is why this month's installment of our Skincare Matchmaker series is all about this hydration essential. We tapped ELLE 2009 Genius Award winner, Dr. Neil Sadick of New York City's Sadick Dermatology, for an advanced lesson on all things moisturizers. Bust out your notepads, because class is in session! (And in case you missed it, catch up on our complete series here.)

Why Moisturizers?

Moisturizing is an essential part of any skincare routine, even if you have combination or oily skin. A good product "keeps hydration in cells, which is necessary for cell equilibrium," says Dr. Sadick. "It also helps to maintain the barrier function of the skin." In other words, moisturizer is your skin's BFF.

Skin Types & Concerns


To avoid irritation, moisturizers for sensitive skin or rosacea should contain a limited number of carefully selected ingredients. They should intensively hydrate and calm the skin, while protecting it from stressors. Dr. Sadick says, "Ingredients like Rosaplex™ complex, feverfew, neurosensine, oats, chamomiles, green tea, and licorice extract are particularly effective.”


For oily and acne-prone skin, look for products that are very light and contain a high water amount, like oil-free emulsions or gels. "Active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and retinyl linoleate unclog pores and have and anti-inflammatory effect to reduce redness," Dr. Sadick says. "And absorbing micro-spheres and zinc help neutralize shine."


Moisturizer is key in treating hyperpigmentation. Opt for a moisturizer that contains sunscreen with an SPF level of at least 15 to protect skin from UV radiation. In addition, look for sepiwhite, phytosphingosine, licorice extract, kojic acid, bamboo extract, and phyllanthus emblica fruit extract, which will effectively treat hyperpigmentation.

Dry/Sun Damage:

Sun damage presents itself as loss and degeneration of collagen in the skin (ie: sagginess, lines etc.). Moisturizers with peptides help treat these side effects. "Peptides like Pal-KTTKS, GHK-Cu2+ or Matrixyl™ (palmitoyl pentapeptide-3) stimulate the collagen production and repair the fiber network that firms the skin," says Dr. Sadick. "For synergistic effects, they can be combined to multifunctional peptide complexes."

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