Modern Moisturizer Myths, Misconceptions, and Truths
Xerosis is a highly prevalent condition that can be caused by environmental factors, age, or various diseases. Although the causes, symptoms, and severity of dry skin vary widely, moisturizers form the mainstay of treatment in simple cases and can be used as adjunctive therapy in more serious clinical cases. The market now contains a plethora of moisturizing formulations from which consumers can choose, but dermatologists need to distinguish among marketing claims, anecdotal evidence, and proven clinical effects when recommending moisturizers to their patients. Many lesser-quality moisturizers were never designed to mitigate dry skin or more serious skin conditions in a therapeutically relevant manner and are unlikely to provide clinically adequate moisturizing therapy. This article aims to clarify some common prevailing myths and misconceptions about moisturizers in the dermatology community. Recent advances in research have revealed that natural moisturizing factor (NMF), ceramides, and aquaporins (AQPs) are key factors in skin hydration. The impact of these advances on the ingredients that are being used in moisturizers is discussed, along with the importance of dermatologists choosing clinically proven products released by laboratories with demonstrated track records in research.