Moisturisers: Find your perfect match today!

By Dr. Bhavika M, Dermatologist
Published May 09, 2023

One of the most simple yet misunderstood products in skincare is moisturisers. Using the right moisturiser can work wonders for your skin, giving you the soft, supple skin of your dreams. Investing in the wrong products can leave your face feeling greasy and sticky. 

From tried and tested products like petrolatum and glycerin to newer options such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides, the list is long. Should you try a cream, gel, or lotion? With SPF or not? There is so much that goes into finding the right moisturiser!

What is the secret to choosing a moisturiser? Step one is picking the right ingredients. There are three main types of moisturisers:


Think of a sponge. When you dip it in water, it swells and holds on to the liquid. That is exactly what humectants do in the skin. They take moisture from the atmosphere and hold on to it.

Most of the common ingredients, such as glycerine, lactic acid, urea, and hyaluronic acid, fall under the umbrella of humectants. They usually suit all skin types.


Have you seen what happens to the ground during the hot and dry summers? It splits in places, leaving cracks. When the monsoon comes around, these cracks get filled, and the soil looks wet and fresh again. Something similar happens to the skin.

When the skin becomes extremely dry, the cells in the skin shrink, leaving empty gaps between cells. Emollients physically fill in these spaces and hydrate the skin, making the look feel smooth and plump.

These include squalene, ceramides, rosehip, and others.


As the name suggests, these products form a thick layer on the skin. They form a physical barrier that holds water in the skin and prevents its loss into the atmosphere. These include mineral oil, olive oil, or shea butter.

Commercial moisturisers contain a combination of all of these in varying percentages. This might confuse you. The ingredient list of most products runs long and is not very easy to interpret. An easy tip is to only check the first three to four ingredients to figure out what type of moisturiser it is. If you are still unsure, consult an expert for product recommendations.

Another feature that matters is formulation. Ointments are thick and work well for dry skin. Lotions spread easily and are preferred by those with an oily skin type. Gels work well for combination skin. Creams with their light texture are ideal for normal skin. 

Does this mean you can't use creams if your skin is oily? No. The formulation is just one factor to consider along with the active contents, the feel of the product, spreadability, main skin concerns, and other factors.

An added benefit

You can also check for extra ingredients. Green tea, licorice root extract, and pomegranate provide antioxidant benefits. If you have sensitive skin, check for hypoallergenic and fragrance-free products. If you are prone to acne, look for buzzwords like non-comedogenic and contents like lactic acid and other alpha-hydroxy acids.

The right moisturiser should not feel like a heavy layer on your skin. If you feel uncomfortable or your skin feels too sticky, chances are you just have not found the right product yet. Stick to lightweight creams that get absorbed quickly.

Here a dermatologist can help you. All moisturisers are not the same. Finding one that matches your needs can make all the difference to your skin. However, this process can be confusing. Trust the experts.

The bottom line:

A moisturiser is a simple but super effective addition to your skincare routine. It helps keep your skin healthy and glowing and even slows aging. Irrespective of skin type, make sure not to skip this essential step.