Face cream is one of those beauty products that you can find in almost every bathroom cabinet. In fact, three quarters of British women and at least half of the male population use a moisturiser every day. New research suggests that we spend up to three minutes a day applying moisturiser, which amounts to around six weeks of our lifetime, in pursuit of smoother, softer, youthful looking skin.
With endless products on the market, each with its own enticing promise of better-looking skin, finding the right face cream for you is no mean feat.
Why should you use a face cream?
There are more than a handful of buzz ingredients that brands highlight on their labels that promise to transform your skin. While smoothing out lines and brightening your complexion are attractive claims, what you really want your cream to do is strengthen your skin’s barrier.
Healthy skin has a strong barrier to lock in hydration and nutrients. Those with a weakened skin barrier often battle with concerns, including sensitivity, dryness and eczema, as well as premature ageing.
What ingredients should you look for in a moisturiser?
Most creams have a blend of various ingredients to help look after your skin. While brands won’t specify how much of each ingredient is used, the order in which they’re shown on the labels will give you an indication. Here is an outline of the key components a good face cream should include…
Skin replenishers: Glycerin is one of the best humectants, which means it absorbs water from the air and lower layers of your skin to keep the surface hydrated and strengthen the barrier to lock in moisture. A more renowned humectant is hyaluronic acid, which is famed for its ability to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water.
Niacinamide is easily one of the most underappreciated ingredients and has many benefits, including strengthening your skin barrier by boosting the production of ceramides and fatty acids; reducing the appearance of pores; and smoothing out uneven tone.
Skin defenders: It’s personal preference whether you opt for a face cream with SPF, such as Sarah Chapman Skin Insurance SPF 30, or apply sunscreen separately. A formula packed full of antioxidants, including green tea extract, resveratrol and vitamin E can help to boost the protection supplied by your SPF. Antioxidants also help protect the skin against free radical damage caused by both external and internal aggressors, which break-up cells and can result in premature ageing.
Skin softeners: Humectants attract and hold the water, but to achieve that soft and smooth finish, your face cream needs to contain some form of emollient. Capric triglyceride and linoleic acid are two of the best, although it’s worth noting that there are a myriad of emollients available. Using made up of fatty acids, these emollients help to moisturise and soften the top layer of the skin and can act as a barrier.
Is a face cream or lotion better?
One isn’t necessarily better than the other, it’s more about personal preference. While some of us like the feeling of a richer, thicker cream, others prefer something lighter. If you wear you wear a lot of make-up, you might need to incorporate a primer to ensure your foundation lasts longer and doesn’t slip.
Do you need a separate day and night cream?
While day and night creams are marketed as different, usually the formulas are incredibly similar. The most notable difference is the inclusion of sunscreen. If you apply your SPF separately, then you can use your day cream overnight. Some night creams can be slightly richer and formulated with a sleep-inducing scent, but generally speaking they offer the same function.
Are expensive face moisturisers better than cheaper ones?
If you’re a skincare fiend, you’ll already know that paying more for a cream doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see better results. However, it’s important to point out that most creams, regardless of price, do take time to improve your skin and it’s rare, if not impossible, to achieve long-lasting results instantly.
You also need to be realistic. Even the best formulated cream in the world won’t miraculously transform your skin and reverse ageing entirely. A good face moisturiser will help to hydrate and skin and strengthen your barrier, which will prevent further damage, as well as correct over time.