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Moisturizers are a complex mixture of chemical agents specially designed to make the external layers of the skin softer and more pliable, by increasing its hydration. Naturally occurring skin lipids and sterols as well as artificial or natural oils, humectants, emollients, lubricants, etc. may be part of the skin moisturizers.

Skin moisturizers, are an essential step in this routine and they are designed for different skin types to soften the skin, to lubricate without blocking pores and smothering the skin. A moisturizer's base is some type of an emulsion of oil and water with another agent, altogether acting to limit the natural evaporation of water from the skin. When the product is an emulsion of water in oil, the oil is more dominant and serves moderately dry skin effectively.

Moisturizers are usually available as commercial products for cosmetic and therapeutic uses, but can also be prepared at home using common pharmacy ingredients.

Besides imparting or restoring normal levels of hydration to the skin, moisturizers can have several additional intended and unintended effects on its users, including building a barrier against the loss of water through the epidermis, repairing scaly, damaged or dry skin resulting from external environmental aggressions or internal changes, repairing or postponing the aging effects on the skin, etc.

A moisturizer is an agent designed to make the stratum corneum softer and more pliant by increasing its hydration. A large number of preparations are available, many of which are marketed as cosmetic and therapeutic moisturizers.

Moisturizers have come under intense scrutiny in recent years regarding their therapeutic effects. They possibly are the most prescribed products in dermatology, and, until recently, dermatologists have received little or no training regarding these products, including their ingredients, pharmacokinetics, benefits, and toxicities.

The skin, the largest organ, protects against the destructive environment. The outer most layer of the skin, the epidermis, needs to be injury free, healthy, moist, and lubricated to be successful. Skin moisturizers, whether lotions and creams, lubricate and moisturize skin without blocking pores.

The best moisturizers have different formulas to effectively help different skin types like oily or non-oily compounds. A skin moisturizer is usually an emulsion of two compounds e.g. oil and water and an emulsifying agent. A lotion skin moisturizer is a liquid emulsions. A solid skin moisturizer is a cream emulsion. An ointment skin moisturizer is water in oil emulsion. The best skin moisturizers in cosmetics are creams because they feel less greasy.

An oil-based skin moisturizer is effective because it limits evaporation and forms a barrier against water loss. These moisturizers should only be used on extremely dry skins. Lanolin is sometimes used in moisturizers as they are less greasy, but this type of skin moisturizer can cause allergic reactions. When skin moisturizers are water dominant, the moisturizer is less greasy but also less effective. They are known as mild skin moisturizers for normal to slightly dry skin. Some water-based solutions are much less drying and these skin moisturizers are best for oily to normal skin types.