Most of the time, issues surrounding moisturizer involve not getting enough hydration. But if you’re slathering on cream multiple times per day, or using a product that’s too thick, you could be over-moisturizing.
“Our skin likes to stay in a balance, and if we tip that balance by drying out the skin too much, it triggers the body to produce more oil,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, a Manhattan-based board-certified dermatologist. “While if we provide too much moisture by over-moisturizing, the body may gradually stop producing as much oil.” If that last bit piqued your oily interest, simmer down. She says when your face stops producing oils, your skin can get severely dry.
Using a product that’s too occlusive can also lead to over-moisturizing. Dr. Garshick says to avoid applying products like Vaseline or Aquaphor all over the face (although these are great options for lips and eyes, which she says often require more hydration). You’ll also want to make sure your moisturizer is right for your skin type. “If you already have oily skin, it is best to use a moisturizer that is oil-free or noncomedogenic, which means it won’t clog the pores,” she says.
Not sure if you’re over-moisturizing? Dr. Garshick says the most immediate signs are clogged pores, blackheads, and excess oil production. She advises moisturizing no more than two times a day, using a product formulated for your skin type. “If you’re experiencing clogged pores or blackheads, it can also be helpful to use some exfoliating ingredients, such as salicylic acid to help unclog the pores, or retinoids to help regulate skin cell turnover, reduce blackheads, and keep pores from getting clogged.” Be careful of over-exfoliating or over-treating, which she says can subsequently dry out the skin, and cause it to produce more oil.
Here’s the right way to deal with dry skin: