Moisturizers Require This One Ingredient to *Really* Benefit Your Skin

Photo: Getty Images/Felix Wirth
Shopping for moisturizers can be seriously stressful. With an endless amount of options to choose from with all sorts of different ingredients that offer up a long list of promises—whether that's watermelon juice or your own blood (seriously!)—how in the world are you supposed to figure out which is actually worthy of taking up prime space in your #shelfie? Well, one key component might be more important than the rest: good ol' H2O.

In a recent thread on Reddit, users were discussing what makes a moisturizer, and it turns out water is what you should be looking for on the ingredients list. It's nothing fancy, but it makes a big difference when it comes to hydrating your skin. According to Lana Pinchasov, a dermatology-certified physician’s assistant in New York City, every moisturizer needs to have a base that the other ingredients are mixed into—and that's usually water or oil. While oil-based moisturizers are great for anyone who needs to "replenish the oil that serves as a protection barrier of the skin," it's not going to be nearly as beneficial for your complexion as water.

"Applying a water-based moisturizer helps your skin lock in moisture and replenish nutrients." —Lana Pinchasov, dermatology-certified physician’s assistant

"Oil-based moisturizers will still moisturize—you just wont get as many as the added benefits that a water base will give you," she explains. "When you're feeling dehydrated, you drink water so your body can rehydrate, and the skin uses water to rehydrate, too. Applying a water-based moisturizer helps your skin lock in moisture and replenish nutrients. And since water doesn’t stick to the skin like oil does, it prevents it from filling pores and causing breakouts."

To get the most bang for your buck when it comes to a water-based moisturizer, Pinchasov recommends applying it to your face and body when you're still lightly damp—like after cleansing or after a shower—which helps to lock in the moisture even further. You'll have soft, silky, and glowing skin all winter long.

If a tinted moisturizer and matte foundation had a baby, this would be it. Or, find out which ketogenic staple Hilary Duff uses as a moisturizer—and whether it actually works or not.

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