18. Moisturizer Meltdown

Doctor Jacob here, and today we're talking about moisturizer meltdown. This is one of my most passionate topics within the realm of acne, because moisturizers are very misunderstood, in particular the need for a moisturizer. So the concept of moisturizer again, came from beauty companies trying to sell more product. I'll say this many times throughout the episode, but most people under the age of 40 do not need a moisturizer, unless you have really dry skin or have been afflicted with eczema, or trying to remedy dryness caused by anti-acne medications. Most patients do not a need moisturizer under the age of 40.

As we age, our skin tends to become more dry, because the oil glands output less oil, and acne tends to go away with age. So unless you have really bad eczema, or you're trying to recover from overuse of some anti-acne product, then the moisturizer is just wasting your time, clogging your pores and adding excess oil. The best way to have good, moist skin is to drink a lot of water. But people think that adding oil to the surface of the skin makes the skin moist. I'll tell you why it's not: if you go find a 6-month old baby for example, and you feel the skin on the baby's stomach or the baby's back, it should be pretty moist, assuming the baby is healthy and doesn't have any skin problems. There are no oil glands there to generate sebum, Sebum is the secretion of the oil glands, and so you can learn that the oil glands have absolutely nothing to do with moisture from that baby. Oil glands have to do with oil, and moisturizers are basically synthetic oils. There are technically oil-free preparations, but whether they technically contain oil or do not, the point is the same: they're trying to create a barrier, a layer over the top of the skin to prevent evaporation of water, and that also can trap the stuff in the pores that's trying to get out. And as everyone knows by now from listening to these episodes, if the pore outflow gets obstructed, the pore gets clogged, and clogging up and sludging up of the pores is what leads to acne.

Many moisturizers are comedogenic. Moisturizers aren't adding moisture, they're just trying to trap in the little moisture that's already there, and the best way to get more moisture into the skin is to drink plenty of water, not to add a topical moisturizer.

People under the age of 40, unless you have bad eczema or unless you're trying to recover from overuse of an anti-acne product, you really don't need moisturizer. But let's say you do want to use a little bit of something for moisturizer; let's say that you do have some eczema or you're recovering from some anti-acne product use, and you've gotten too dry and you need a little bit of something to moisturize, then it's totally fine to go ahead and use a moisturizer. On my website I'm going to put a couple different choices for moisturizers, and there are a ton more at the store. The most important thing is that you check that comedogenic ingredient list which we've talked about in prior episodes. But I'll put a link to some very safe moisturizers, all the way from a light lotion to a heavier cream, to something thicker, almost the thickness of petroleum, depending on how dry your skin is. So I'll put those links on the website, and feel free to go take a look.

I'm Doctor Jacob, we'll see you next time.