7 Common Moisturizing Mistakes That Could Actually Age Your Skin

Moisturizing may be the most obvious way to preserve smooth, elastic skin — but have you been doing it the right way?  Apparently, there are a few common mistakes people make when moisturizing and it can actually have the opposite effect if you’re not careful. Learn how a few simple adjustments can totally change the look and texture of your skin from our friends at Food Matters

What could be simpler than moisturizer? You just slap it on, rub it in, and sit back and expect more hydrated, radiant skin, right? Well, not exactly.

You may have noticed that your moisturizer isn’t working like you expected it would. Perhaps your skin is still dry, dull, or maybe even breaking out from it. You may have assumed it was the product itself—that it didn’t have good ingredients or wasn’t a quality formula. That could be true, as there are a lot of sub-par products out there, but it’s also possible that your moisturizing technique needs work.

We all know that moisturized skin is younger-looking skin. Dryness exacerbates the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and makes skin look dull and lifeless. If your typical routine is just to apply moisturizer when it crosses your mind, however, you’re wasting your money on your moisturizer. There’s actually a proper way to apply it to give your skin the maximum benefits. Here are the top moisturizing mistakes to avoid…

The 7 Most Common Moisturizing Mistakes


You apply moisturizer to hydrate skin, right? It makes sense that you should apply it to dry skin, but this is a mistake. Dry skin typically has a buildup of dead skin cells on the surface. This creates a layer on top of skin that is unlikely to allow any moisturizer through.

Try this instead: If you really want your moisturizer to penetrate dry skin, exfoliate first. Try a gentle homemade scrub with raw honey and yogurt. Once you’ve finished exfoliating, then apply your moisturizer. Better yet, exfoliate, shower, and then apply moisturizer immediately, before the dampness on skin evaporates, to help lock in that water content.


If you’re rubbing in your moisturizer—particularly if you’re in a hurry to have it vanish—you’re robbing yourself of many of its benefits. First, you’re creating friction between your hands and your skin, which can cause some of the water content in the moisturizer to evaporate before it even gets a chance to work. Tugging and pulling on the skin—whether with your hands or a towel—can also damage skin, leading to premature aging and wrinkles.

Try this instead: Apply gently in circles, with an upward motion. Be particularly careful around the eye area—use the weaker ring and pinkie fingers. Leave a light sheen of moisturizer on the skin and give it time to absorb before getting dressed or applying makeup.


You may suspect that your product isn’t working for you, and you may be right. In addition to avoiding potentially damaging ingredients like chemical fragrances, petrolatum, parabens, and the like, you need a natural product that works right for your unique skin type.

Try this instead: Drier skin types usually do well with coconut oil, whereas those prone to oily skin may favor grapeseed or avocado oil.


Those with oily skin often feel like the last thing they need is more moisture. After all, their skin already feels so greasy! One of the big moisturizing mistakes. Oily skin, though—especially as we age—can become unbalanced, particularly as you go through clogged pores and the skin is disrupted. If you’re using harsh products, your skin can react even more to the lack of moisture. Over time, it may actually produce more oil to try to balance itself out.

Try this instead: Avoid products with mineral oil and other pore-clogging ingredients. Stick with light and gentle moisturizers.

Dry Skin DIY summer skin prep


Like the rest of your body, your skin falls into a routine. If you apply moisturizer twice a day, for example, and then go for several days applying only once a day, expect your skin to react. It may get dry, your pores may clog or respond with more oiliness.

Try this instead: Whatever your routine, try to stick with it. We all get off track now and then, but the more consistent you can be with your products, your application, and your frequency, the better your skin will respond.


Are you a face-only moisturizing person? If so, you may want to expand your repertoire. The skin is the largest organ we have, and works as a unified system. If you’re neglecting a large part of it, you’re requiring it to compensate, which can rob you of your best-looking skin.

Try this instead: Apply moisturizer over the entire body after every shower or bath. You’ll likely want to use a different moisturizer for your body than you do for your face.


You may be loyal to one type of moisturizer, but if you’ve been using it for ten years or more, your loyalty may be misplaced. Skin changes as we age. It will require different ingredients in your 40s than it did in your 30s, and so on for just about every decade.

If you move to a different climate, your skin may require less or more moisturizer. If you’re going through hormonal changes (menopause, pregnancy), your skin will change, too. Even if you change your diet, you will likely notice a change in your skin. To do: In general, be aware of your skin.

Try this instead: Watch how your skin reacts to products. If it starts to get too dry, dull, or flaky, step up your moisture with a richer cream or with hydrating masks. If it’s too oily or your pores are clogged, try a different product. Just don’t be afraid to change and try something else if what you’re using isn’t working great.

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  1. Any oil that has molecules big enough to cook with (coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil) has molecules that are too big to be effectively absorbed by the skin. There are a lot of better options for facial oils.

    Katie | 07.30.2019 | Reply
  2. Please share what these better options are, Katie. We’d love to here your suggestions : )

    Tanya | 07.30.2019 | Reply
  3. Yes, I would like to know as well.

    Michelle | 07.30.2019 | Reply
  4. jojoba, argan and apricot kernel oil would all be better options for the face 🙂 They are all low on the comedogenic scale

    Annie | 07.31.2019 | Reply
  5. Did I miss something about SPFs?

    Jules | 08.01.2019 | Reply
  6. Stop telling people to moisturize with oil! If you were dehydrated you wouldn’t drink a bottle of oil would you? Lotion, then oil!

    Gina Pulisciano | 08.01.2019 | Reply

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