Is There Such a Thing as Using Too Much Moisturizer?

‘Tis the season for cold, dry air and gobs and gobs of skin lotion. It feels so good that some of us reapply hand lotion and other moisturizers all day long. The more you use, the more you seem to need. Is there such a thing as using too much skin lotion?

Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, founder and owner of The Dermatology & Laser Group in New York City told Care2 that many people mistakingly believe that you need to apply an external moisturizer every night. “Our skin, however, often produces all of the moisture we need especially when we are younger, and I always recommend to my patients to use moisturizer on their skin only when they are appearing or feeling particularly dry.”

Some of us may be moisturizing when we don’t really need to. But board certified dermatologist Fayne L. Frey, MD, FAAD, founder of FryFace, LLC, said there’s no scientific evidence showing that using therapeutic moisturizers prevent the skin from moisturizing itself or that skin becomes ‘dependent’ on moisturizers.

“With that being said, moisturizers that are not formulated well can lead to an increase in water loss,” she explained. “For example, humectant-based products that draw water to the skin’s surface but don’t contain occlusives to prevent the water from evaporating. Rose water, or glycerin water, is an example of this.”

The key is to choose the right skincare products.

What to look for in a moisturizer

Dr. Akhavan said the big thing to avoid in your moisturizer is scents. “Fragrance is a common source of skin sensitivity and can actually make very dry, sensitive skin worse in the long run with use.”

Also, moisturizers are not one-size-fits-all. It’s important to pick the one that’s right for your skin. Dr. Akhavan explains:

“For our patients with particularly dry, sensitive skin, we typically recommend choosing products that are both unscented and rich in fats that are important and natural to our skin, such as ceramides. Sometimes these moisturizers are marketed to individuals suffering from skin conditions such as eczema, although popular products such as CeraVe are rich in these important skin fats and are readily available in drugstores.

“For patients with oilier skin, we recommend avoiding oil based moisturizers. Often, for those with normal to oily skin, oil-based ingredients in products can be overkill, and over-moisturized skin can lead to issues such acne breakouts and poor complexion. Instead look for a product that is clearly labeled as non-comedogenic, and use it only when needed.”

How to pamper your winter skin

Licensed esthetician Jaime Shultz of About Face of New Orleans told Care2 that using moisturizer morning and night is ideal. “If your skin is oily, use an oil-free moisturizer or at the bare minimum, a serum with hyaluronic acid for hydration. If your skin is dry, your moisturizer can be pumped up with ingredients such as vitamin E, vitamin C [and] rosehip seed oil.

“If you are applying it [after using a product with retinol], be sure to wait 30 minutes before applying your moisturizer. Not waiting the 30 minutes will dilute your retinol. Also, use a Clarisonic daily and a gentle exfoliator a couple times a week to remove dead skin cells so the moisturizer can penetrate. Otherwise, it will not soak in properly.”

Shultz also recommends dermaplaning to help with max absorption of products. “Dermaplaning is a professional skincare treatment that uses a 10-gauge scalpel (I promise, it’s pain-free) to remove all of the peach fuzz and dead skin cells. By doing this, your products will penetrate right in, instead of laying on top of built-up cells. This treatment can be done on all skin types, except acne.”

Dr. Jill Waibel, owner of the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute, provided these additional tips for taking care of your winter skin:

  • During the winter months, avoid harsher soaps.
  • Avoid hand sanitizers and other skincare products that contain alcohol.
  • Use a moisturizing sunscreen to combat the harsh effects of winter weather on your skin.
  • Stay hydrated. Your skin will reflect what you eat and drink so nourish it with water!
  • When you come home from your holiday party, make sure to wash your face to remove make-up and dirt that can wreak havoc on your skin as you sleep.
  • Use humidifiers and vaporizers when you sleep at night for further hydration.
  • Aquaphor is a moisturizer that’s great to use on lips, hands, feet, and under the eyes at night for increased hydration.

Related Reading
11 Tips for Healthier Skin
Cancer Where You Never Thought to Look
Are Fragranced Products Sabotaging Your Health?

Image Credit: Thinkstock


M Qabout a year ago

Thank you, it's a pain looking for a moisturizer that suits your skin.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill1 years ago


Chun Lai T
Chun Lai T1 years ago


Chen Boon Fook
Chen Boon Fook1 years ago


George L
George L1 years ago

Thanks for the information

Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

William C
William C1 years ago

Thank you.

natasha salgado
Past Member 1 years ago

I def use a lot more moisturizers in the winter. I make own so i know what's really in them. thanks