Pick the right moisturizer for your skin type

Apr 1, 2012 at 4:56 a.m. ET

The lotion aisle is jam-packed with enough moisturizing options to make your head spin. You could spend several hours reading labels and deciding which lotion is right for you, but there are a few easy tips to cut back on browsing time. Learn how to skip the lotion aisle runaround with these simple moisturizing tips for your unique skin type.

woman reading lotion label

Dry skin

Everyone experiences some skin dryness as the seasons change, but if dry skin is a chronic problem in your life, it's time to bring out the heavyweights. Well, heavy lotions. Thicker lotions like body creams and body butters pack a punch, battling dry skin throughout the day. You'll want to test your potential dry-busting lotion, making sure it absorbs into the skin, rather than staying greasy on the surface. If it absorbs, you've found your new beauty buy! Making sure uber-dry skin stays moist will protect it from harmful outside factors like the sun, everyday chemicals and more.

Oily skin

There are few upsides to having always-oily skin. Between carrying oil-absorbing sheets in your purse and worrying about moisturizing too heavily, as an oily skin sufferer, you know the negatives far too intimately. On the plus side, oily skin tends to age better. However, even oily skin needs moisture. Healthy moisture, that is. Of course, you don't want to spring for heavy lotions that will make your skin look shiny and greasy. Search for a light moisturizer that's almost gel-like in its nature. First, test your potential lotion. If the moisturizer feels like it's staying on the surface of your skin, rather than absorbing fully, it's time to move on to the next moisturizing candidate. You're looking for healthy moisture, not a superficial fix for the day.

Aging skin

Aging skin is a lot like dry skin in that it's slowly losing the moisture that keeps it firm, taut and young-looking. There are hundreds of anti-aging lotions on the market, but simply keeping your skin constantly moisturized is just as good as any "scientific" anti-aging lotion. Spring for body butters and thick lotions that will add a tiny sheen to your skin, giving it that healthy glow. Make sure the lotion fully absorbs into your skin. That will ensure your skin gets a touch of tightness.

Acne prone skin

Moisturizing is a tricky beast when you have acne prone skin. You don't want the lotion to negatively interact with your acne. At the same time, you're probably feeling dry thanks to a series of acne-battling washes. The best thing to do is to let your skin balance out by using the right light moisturizer that won't feel heavy or greasy. Moisture can help with acne, but oil-packed products won't. Look for non-comedogenic, oil-free options.

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