Best moisturizing-lotion ingredients

Oct 1, 2011 at 3:00 a.m. ET

Factors such as aging, environment and poor nutrition can result in dull, flaky skin, but you can choose products strategically to minimize their effects. Read your labels the next time you pick up moisturizing lotion to take advantage of the best doctor-recommended moisturizing ingredients on the market.

reading lotion labels

Moisturizing 101

Effective moisturizers help maximize your skin's water content while enhancing overall skin health. This means that, in addition to moisturizing ingredients such as humectants, occlusives and emollients, the best products also include vitamins, minerals and amino acids to help enhance skin tone and texture.

Before you hit the store to choose moisturizer, make sure you're laying the foundation for soft, supple skin by performing proper skin care. Dr. Richard Baxter, a top-rated board-certified cosmetic surgeon and expert on anti-aging, says, "The best moisturizers are the ones that the skin produces naturally, so the first step is to be careful about the use of cleansers and astringents that sap the moisture out of the skin." Bottom line: Keep your skin care routine as natural as possible.

Best 4 moisturizing-lotion ingredients


Peptides are amino acids that help boost collagen production, providing the strength behind your skin's structure. According to Stephen Bracci, M.D., "Collagen provides your skin with the strength it needs to stay resilient, strong and smooth. Peptides are like micro-superheroes that work to save your skin. They alert your skin to make more collagen to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles."

2Hyaluronic acid

If you're looking for a naturally occurring moisturizer, hyaluronic acid fills the bill. Dr. Richard Baxter notes that hyaluronic acid is the same molecule from which dermal fillers such as Restylane and Juyederm are made. It occurs naturally in the skin and chemically binds to water to retain moisture. As a humectant, it attracts moisture from the air and pulls it into the skin, helping to keep the epidermis plump and soft.

3Argan oil

Bracci also mentions argan oil, a relatively new ingredient being introduced into beauty products due to its moisturizing and antioxidant properties. He's not alone in his assessment. Tammie Umbel, CEO and founder of Shea Terra Organics, emphasizes the benefits of argan oil: "This ingredient is the backbone for smooth, silky and younger-looking skin because of its high concentrations of vitamin A and E. These vitamins help protect the skin for hours."

4Vitamins A, C & E

Vitamins A, C and E are considered powerful antioxidants that fight age-related free radical damage to the skin. Says Bracci, "Retinoid forms of vitamin A are commonly found in skin care products. Retinol works to increase cell turnover by stimulating cell production underneath the skin, while vitamins C and E remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents." These three vitamins enhance your skin's youthful appearance, so their presence in moisturizing lotions is a natural.

Vitamins are good for much more, though. Baxter explains, "Vitamin E has good penetration and doesn't leave an oily residue." Essentially, you get the benefit of soft, supple skin without the annoyance of an oily residue.

"I'm a plastic surgeon who practices using holistic approaches to beauty. One of the cornerstones of my philosophy involves healthy nutrition, as I believe that beauty emanates from within. Foods can help promote soft, moisturized skin, so make sure you consume water, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, olive oils, fruits and vegetables to help enhance skin hydration and prevent water loss." – Dr. Shirley Madhere

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