THE IN-TRAY

The difference between gel, cream and balm-textured moisturisers (and which is right for you)

AS THE COOLER MONTHS CREEP UP ON US, IT’S TIME TO THINK ABOUT INVESTING IN A GOOD MOISTURISER. WE SPOKE TO OUR SKINCARE EDUCATION MANAGER LUCY SHAW ABOUT THE DIFFERENT FORMULATIONS THAT EXIST AND HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT ONE FOR YOUR SKIN.

BALMS

What it is: The difference between these moisturiser textures is down to the formulation. A balm is a mixture of fats and oils and sometimes wax (this is what gives a balm moisturiser a solid consistency).

For: Dry skin, because of the balm’s natural oil content, this helps replenish the absence of natural oil in the skin.

Benefits: Rich in occlusives (waxes and oils) which are super helpful in protecting a dryer skin type and trapping precious water in the skin (an essential element to healthy skin) and preventing TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss). Balms can also be a fantastic multi-purpose product that you can use on other areas of the face and body that are prone to chapping and flaking—like lips and cuticles.

Being a mixture of oils, balms are naturally high in essential fatty acids which are superb anti-inflammatory ingredients and can help to reduce inflammatory skin concerns and disorders such as redness and sensitivity.

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CREAMS

What it is: A cream moisturiser is a mixture of both water and oil, and is sometimes referred to as an ‘emulsion’. Water and oil don’t combine, so an emulsifier is used to join the two ingredients together.

For: Combination skin, because a cream has both water and oil so that the oily T-zone is balanced and the dry parts of the complexion will be nourished.

Benefits: Moisturiser creams are fantastic for all skin types or to balance out a combination skin type as they contain both oil and water and are easily recognised by your skin (remember, your skin is made up of oil and water). Creams come in many forms and are often infused with active ingredients like antioxidants, which help to create a protective shield over your skin and protect it from everyday aggressors like pollution and stress.

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GELS

What it is: Ending with the lightest, gels are purely water based and the most lightweight in consistency.

For: Oilier skin; because this type has a higher amount of naturally occurring oil, a lightweight, water-based gel cream is ideal, working in synergy with the skin’s natural oil flow. Increasing hydration can also regulate oil flow.

Benefits: Gels, being water based, are the masters of hydration—AKA supplementing your skin with water. They also often include humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerine that expand as they bind water, which results in a plumping, smoothing effect on the surface of the skin so are great for pores and fine dehydration lines.

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