Is Moisturizer Harmful to the Skin?

No one likes having dry, cracked skin. It can make someone feel unattractive, sad and uncomfortable. The idea behind moisturizer is to cure this problem. However, is moisturizer actually good for your skin or are is it taking the place of your skin’s natural oils.

Moisturizers come in two forms, humectants and emollients. Humectants draw water into the outer layer of the skin. Emollients are moisturizes that leave the skin feeling smooth and soft while sealing in moisture. Both of these are part of the epidermis. Moisturizes work to coat the skin to trap moisture. Dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi says that when cells notice that an outside source has already hydrated the skin, there is no need for the cells to hydrate. However, this is not good. The cells then become inactive and stop the moisture process which leads to dry skin.


Studies show that after a period of time, moisturizers influence the skin barrier function of normal skin. So, the solution may be not to overuse the moisturizer if it is needed. It is recommended for older individuals but younger people have no real use for the product unless they’re using other products such as heavy makeup, acne medication or facial toner. Let your skin breathe!

9 thoughts on “Is Moisturizer Harmful to the Skin?

  1. Maxim Cenziper Myers

    This post jumped out at me immediately, as I am an advocate of moisturizing the skin! I really enjoyed reading your post because I feel as though I never had to look into moisturizers as much, because they all just did the same thing. Never did I think something marketed as a “lightweight” product could actually “trap” your skin so that it retains the moisture… now I’d like to see a moisturizer add use THAT wording haha. Guess it’s time to start researching new moisturizers. Nice blog, Shannon!

  2. Kelly Elizabeth Bare

    I found this to be very interesting because I have never used moisturizer on my face for this exact reason. I have always thought that it makes me break out more, and makes my skin look more oily than it actually is. It is really helpful to understand the science behind it. I have heard that lip balm is the same way; I wonder if it is for the same scientific reasons.

  3. Erika Michele Cristiano

    This blog was very interesting to me. I was always that person who moisturezed in the morning and at night and not just my face but my whole body. This is something my mom always told me would make me skin healthy and soft. Its amazing to learn now that I have been harming my skin with something I thought was beneficial. After reading this I definitely won’t be doing that anymore… Heres an article I found that lists 32 things that damage your skin. Article

  4. Nancy Hilary Berman

    Every morning as part of my routine, I use the same moisturizer I have used since I was 13! Olay’s Complete All Day Moisturizer makes my skin feel refreshed, and because it has SPF 15, I feel protected from the sun’s rays. I never realized, however, that it actually isn’t good for me! Instead of using moisturizer, I am going to try to use more hydrating skin products that are actually healthy for my skin. Thank you for saving my skin!

  5. Gregory Giliberti

    It would be interesting to run an experiment on this issue of humectants versus emollients. To do this I would place people with different skin classifications (dry, oily, normal) into 3 groups. One group would have a humectant they would use daily, another group would have an emollient they would use daily, and the third group would be the control group and not use a moisturizer. After having each group moisturize for 2 months, I would have a buffer period of a week. At the end of that week I would compare each individual’s skin dryness to how dry it was when the experiment was first started.

  6. yvy5242

    Interesting! I thought moisturizing is always good, since I do that very often. After reading your post, I am more aware of this now, thank you.

  7. Millie Rachel Dweck

    Oh my goodness! I use moisturizer all of the time because I always thought I was keeping my skin hydrated! This is such an interesting topic! I think its really weird that moisturizer is viewed as such a healthy thing meanwhile it doesn’t do amazing things for young people! I am going to forward this article to all of my friends! Thanks for the information!

  8. Caitlin Emily Whelan

    I am shocked by this post. I moisturize my whole body once a day, and always carry a bottle of hand lotion. I never knew this was actually bad for you! My skin is always dry, especially in the winter, so I am always moisturizing. Did you know that putting these things on your face are really bad for you? One of them is body lotion! Apparently body lotion is only meant for you body and not your face. I also have oily skin, so I guess putting lotion on it will only make it worse.

  9. Mia Rose Del Nunzio

    I loved your blog because I am always that person who stands in the moisturizer aisle for 10 minutes trying to read labels and figure out which moisturizer won’t make my skin dry. It was interesting to read about the two different forms of moisturizers and it gave me better insight to what I was putting on my face, and how it was effecting me.

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