Moisturizer: 9 active ingredients, 4 risks + 5 buying tips

If the skin is tight, itchy or just feels dry, a moisturizer promises to be a remedy. In order to optimally care for the skin, it must also be the right cream. You can find out from us what you should pay attention to when buying and which cream suits your skin type.

Why a moisturizer is important

Both body and skin are mostly made up of water . This protects us from drying out and keeps all bodily functions running. So that we don’t leak, so to speak, our skin fat has a sealing property. So the water in the body can hardly evaporate. Thanks to an intact skin barrier, we don’t actually have to worry about water loss. But why is additional moisturizing care so often necessary?

A healthy and intact skin barrier ensures that the skin is always supplied with sufficient moisture. But not all wheels work perfectly. Especially when the skin continuously loses more moisture than the body can provide. This leads to dehydration of the skin. And it is precisely this loss of water that moisturizers are intended to prevent, prevent or compensate for.

There are many reasons why your skin barrier is unstable or not working properly. Environmental influences such as UV rays, cold winter air and air pollution are often to blame. We encounter the other causes every day in modern society: alcohol consumption, smoking , chlorinated water, air-conditioned rooms, heating and of course an unhealthy lifestyle. You can do a lot for your skin if you give up bad habits and of course drink enough water every day .

Especially in winter, your skin needs additional care that protects it against heating air and cold winds.

Consequences of lack of moisture

Losing water has many negative effects, some of which you have probably felt on your own skin. It tightens, itches or turns red . In addition to irritation and redness, premature skin aging is also the result of dry skin. Wrinkles form much faster and become more pronounced over time. If the skin does not have enough moisture available, it can no longer supply the cells with all the important nutrients and protect them from environmental influences. This in turn makes the skin an ideal breeding ground for germs and bacteria .

Types of Moisturizers

Hardly any cream is as successful as the moisturizer. That is why they are not only available for the face , but also for feet, body and hands . Every part of the body that suffers from a lack of moisture needs special care.

Especially after a long shower or a hot bath , the skin feels dry and tense. That’s why you should always apply a body lotion to your body immediately afterwards.

Hands suffer too – after washing up, after cleaning and in cold weather. They need a very rich care that strengthens the connective tissue in particular . This also keeps the cuticles nice and soft and prevents cracks.

Creams for the face are particularly important. No part of the body reflects skin aging more than it does. Therefore, moisturizing creams should ideally be combined with UV protection to prevent premature wrinkling .

What makes a good moisturizer

A good moisturizing cream should always primarily support the skin in its natural functions. It should not only strengthen the skin’s barrier functions, but also ensure that it can absorb and store moisture better. After applying the cream, your skin should feel soft and supple. If it doesn’t, or leaves a visible greasy film , you’re probably using the wrong cream.

In addition to antioxidants and vitamins , a good cream should always contain little water. This is important because high water content in creams is accompanied by a higher proportion of preservatives . And they are harmful to the skin and the environment. In general, naturalness is a very important factor for the choice. Likewise, a too long and incomprehensible list of ingredients is a bad sign.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to set up a general rule for every person. Everyone has their own individual skin, circumstances and needs. Nevertheless, there are special rules for skin types in which everyone more or less recognizes themselves.

Valuable ingredients in the moisturizer

The selection of moisturizing creams in drugstores and online shops is huge. It pays to know and look for the most important and effective ingredients instead of just being seduced by a beautiful packaging. Most manufacturers use the same active ingredients. Many of them are already so well researched that they have become an integral part of moisturizing creams. These are the main active ingredients:

natural oils

Whether avocado , almond , jojoba, olive or coconut – these fruits can be used to produce valuable oils that are increasingly appearing in cosmetics. And rightly so: They all contain valuable vitamins that prevent skin aging, stimulate cell renewal and moisturize at the same time. Especially the vitamins A and E of the oils provide the skin with valuable nutrients.

hyaluronic acid

Hardly any active ingredient provides as much moisture as hyaluronic acid. It is a natural part of the body and is characterized by its incredible ability to bind water in large quantities . Hyaluronic acid thus effectively protects against drying out and at the same time has almost no side effects.

Algae extracts

Algae extracts are also a valuable ingredient in moisturizers. Their vitamins, proteins and nutrients have an antibacterial, revitalizing effect and stimulate cell renewal . Together with the ability to bind moisture, algae extracts ensure soft skin.


You will also often encounter the urea urea in cosmetics. This is due to their valuable support in regulating the moisture balance. In addition, the urea breaks down connections between dead skin cells and thus supports natural desquamation .

amino acids

Amino acids are not only an essential part of our body, but also small miracle weapons in the fight against free radicals and premature skin aging. They support the production of antioxidants and keep the skin supple and young.


Sensitive and irritated skin in particular benefits from the active ingredient panthenol . The fabric supports wound healing and at the same time prevents skin irritation.

lactic acid

Although acid does not necessarily suggest a skin-friendly agent, lactic acid actually protects the skin effectively from drying out. It also frees your pores from impurities and ensures a clean appearance .

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a true skin care miracle. The plant relieves pretty much every skin complaint and also has a health-promoting effect. In moisturizers, aloe vera has a cooling, anti-inflammatory and circulation -enhancing effect . In addition, aloe vera inhibits the formation of wrinkles and is quickly absorbed by the skin.


Phytosterols are active plant ingredients that have a stabilizing effect on the skin’s barrier function. They provide particularly sensitive skin with a lot of moisture and also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Harmful ingredients and risks of moisturizers

It is extremely important not only to pay attention to skin-friendly ingredients, but also to those that are not. A cream with high-risk ingredients can worsen the complexion, pollute the environment and sometimes even promote dryness. The harmful effects of creams cannot always be recognized immediately. However, if you notice that your skin is suddenly burning or reddening, then it is very likely your new moisturizer. You should pay attention to these ingredients:


Silicones are water repellent. They don’t soak in, but settle on the skin like an impermeable layer. Although they make the skin look smoother and softer, they do not supply the cells with nutrients in any way . So they have no positive health effect and can even clog the pores. In addition, the substance is difficult to degrade and harms the environment even more than it does us.


The preservative is often needed when the cream is very water-rich. However, parabens act in a similar way to estrogen and can therefore very likely affect the natural hormonal balance. Parabens often trigger allergies and are partly to blame for the destruction of rainforests because of their palm oil content.


Microplastics are the smallest plastic fragments, some of which are barely visible to the naked eye. The bad thing is that nobody knows what the artificial particles can do to our skin or in our bodies. In addition, microplastics are difficult to degrade and contribute to the extinction of species – because the harmful substances can ultimately get into the sea via the wastewater.

PEG and PEG derivatives

Used as cheap emulsifiers, PEGs and PEG derivatives are intended to bind immiscible substances such as oil and water with one another. However, these substances can trigger allergies, make the upper layers of the skin permeable to negative environmental influences and also damage the environment.

Moisturizing cream for every skin type

Everyone needs their own individual care – depending on living conditions, illnesses and of course the personal skin type . However, these distinctions only relate to the face.

Dry skin

Those who tend to have dry skin need a good moisturizer the most. Unfortunately, people with dry skin are also the most prone to premature skin aging . Because the skin barrier is particularly weak in this skin type, which is why it requires very rich care.

In order to optimally care for your dry skin, you first need good moisturizing . This means that your care products should be composed mainly of greasy ingredients. To avoid wrinkles and feelings of tightness, you only have to pay attention to certain active ingredients. These are especially recommended for you: hyaluron, Q10, shea butter and all natural oils .

Normal skin

If you’re lucky enough to have normal skin, then you need very little maintenance. Your fat and moisture balance is balanced, your skin is smooth and the pores are small. Therefore, your cream should only be slightly moisturizing and moisturizing. Nevertheless, you need the right care, otherwise your skin could change over time.

Moisturizing creams with UV protection, antioxidants, algae extracts and vitamins are ideal for you. They provide your skin with important nutrients and keep it young and soft.

problem skin

Are you constantly suffering from pimples, acne or redness? Then you probably have a so-called problem skin. This can be caused by poor nutrition and an overproduction of sebum. These clog the pores and thus provide the perfect breeding ground for unwanted germs and bacteria.

Your cream should be very light with as few ingredients as possible. Pay special attention to harmful active ingredients, as these can worsen the blemishes. Above all, you should avoid fragrances and dyes, such as perfume. Instead, a moisturizer is recommended for you if it is enriched with chamomile extracts , lactic acid, aloe vera and antioxidants . These ingredients have an anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing effect.

Sensitive High

Sensitive skin is very sensitive to external influences. The skin reacts with reddening, pimples and tension when exposed to the sun, cold or the wrong cosmetic products.

If your skin is more sensitive then you need a mild and soothing moisturizer . It should be composed of a few ingredients , which are best as natural as possible. In any case, avoid perfumes and alcohol, these can also irritate or dry out the face. Instead, chamomile, marigold extracts, panthenol and aloe vera are valuable for your skin.

Once you find a product that your skin responds to, stick with the cream. It is even best to only use products from one series .

combination skin

With combination skin, care is a bit more complicated. Because while one part of the skin is oily, the other is dry. The so-called T-zone is usually the greasy part. It affects the forehead, nose and chin.

If you have combination skin, then you need skin care that restores the skin’s natural balance . In any case, avoid using a greasy and rich moisturizer. Instead, it should consist of balancing natural products , for which chamomile and lemon balm are wonderful . Mattifying moisturizing creams are also particularly recommended, which provide moisture to the affected areas but at the same time conceal the greasy areas.

Tips on buying moisturizers

The selection of moisturizers is huge and unmanageable. You can find them in supermarkets, drugstores, specialist shops and online shops. To make your selection easier, we have put together five tips for you.

  1. In drugstores you can buy most creams in a test tube and try a small amount on your skin first. Small sample packs can also often be found in magazines.
  2. Always research the ingredients on the packaging, especially if the term doesn’t sound familiar to you. The Codecheck app makes it particularly easy for us, with which you can scan the QR code of the product and be informed about the ingredients.
  3. Even if it is sometimes tempting: stick to one product or one product range. Using different moisturizers regularly irritates the skin and can lead to skin problems.
  4. The same applies to over-care . Various serums, ointments and creams with a wide variety of active ingredients put a strain on your skin and can destroy the natural skin barrier.
  5. A good day cream/moisturizer should offer UV protection . Because UV radiation can destroy the cells of the skin and cause dryness, impurities and wrinkles.
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