Product Review: Moisturizers

Moisturizers are a crucial part of any healthy skincare regimen. It doesn't matter if you're 15 or 50, everyone can benefit from a proper moisturizer (guys too, for that matter).

A proper moisturizer helps increase the water content in the outer and lower layers of skin, which helps prevent dryness. (As we all know, dryness speeds up the formation of wrinkles and deep lines.) A moisturizer also provides the nourishment skin needs to fight off pollutants and toxins common to our daily environment. An added bonus is that so many moisturizers have added ingredients like vitamins, minerals and peptides to customize skincare.

Before you reach for the first moisturizer on the shelf, factor in your skin type and age. If you're 20, you probably don't need retinol-rich anti-aging creams. And if you have dry skin, using a moisturizer meant for someone with oil issues will actually parch skin, resulting in dry patches and uncomfortable tightness.

If you're not sure which moisturizer is best for your skin, take a look at our guide. In case you're perplexed about your skin type, we'll list some of the characteristics of your skin and the type of products your skin craves. All it takes is a little research and some experimentation, since a brand that may work well for you may not work for your sister or best friend. Read on, and your skin will radiate that healthy glow in no time!

Oily Skin

You Need: A moisturizer that is oil free so that you don't intensify the problem. While you want to moisturize your skin daily, those with oily skin know that shine is a given, and we're not talking about the radiant kind. Buildup of grease and dirt can cause breakouts, and pores can often be large.

You can minimize these effects and prevent excess buildup just by looking for a few key ingredients. Look for moisturizers with alpha hydroxy acids. Alpha hydroxy moisturizers provide slight exfoliation, which results in smoother skin. If your moisturizer contains any clay or mud products all the better, as clay has proven successful at temporarily soaking up oil, leaving skin refreshed.

Consider the balancing effect of jojoba oil on your skin. This oil is derived from the jojoba seed, native to dry climates like Arizona and southern California. Products with this natural plant product help even out the skin's oil glands. (It also helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines.)

Remember that oily skin may help you retain the moisture in your skin but it can't make up for oil you lose as you age. This makes it all the more important to find an oil-free moisturizer rich in alpha hydroxy acids to smooth out your complexion and give your skin the moisture it needs (even if you think you have enough oil to fill up an entire package of blotting cloths).

You May Want to Try: OC Eight Professional Mattifying Gel

Made famous on American Idol, this gel contains the active ingredient acrysorb. These particles trap up to 6 times their own volume in oil, which allows oil to be absorbed while your skin's hydration levels are kept intact. This results in a pleasing matte finish good for up to 8 hours, hence the product's name. $40.60

Dry Skin

You Need: A moisturizer that will give your skin the hydration it desperately needs, both in the morning and at night. If you don't, dryness can lead to rough, dull skin. Many of us with dry skin are probably familiar with dry patches in the wintertime, but in more extreme cases, itching, flaking and peeling can result.

To prevent that uncomfortable feeling of tightness (and the unfortunate fine lines and wrinkles this skin type is so prone to), you need to look for moisturizers with special hydration capabilities. Some active ingredients in an über intense moisturizer include salicylic and lactic acids. In addition, plant extracts like hibiscus, chamomile aloe and even cornmeal can help lead skin back on the path to rehydration.

You May Want to Try: Mary Kay Intense Moisturizing Cream

This cream meant specifically for dry skin has marine extracts and humectants, which attract moisture. This cream hydrates skin for up to 10 hours with an intense increase in moisture. Go ahead, touch your hand to your cheek - it really does feel that soft. It's amazing what a little hydration can do. $30

Aging Skin

You Need: A proper moisturizer, even if you've begun to see evidence of age. While you may not begin to see substantial signs of aging until you reach your 40s, the process can begin much sooner. If you've noticed signs of fine wrinkles, increasing dryness, and maybe even the appearance of sun spots, some skin first aid may be in order.

Look for creams rich in retinol. Retinol is derived from vitamin A and is one of the best skin care ingredients to reduce the signs of aging, balance skin tone and even smooth the surface of the skin. The important thing to remember is not to combine retinol with other products with Vitamin C at the same time, as this can potentially aggravate skin. Get retinol products on the cheap, from drug stores - look for some that combine peptides and sirtuin proteins that tighten skin. For a pricier product, a doctor can prescribe retinoid creams specifically for you.

You May Want to Try: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream

This moisturizer has been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles after 12 weeks of use. The best part is, the RoC retinol cream works its magic while you get your beauty sleep. A combination of retinol, magnesium, zinc and copper increases the product's effectiveness, even when it comes to deep wrinkles. This product moisturizes your skin, improves firmness and most importantly, helps reduce the appearance of expression lines and wrinkles. It's over the counter, too. Approximately $21, but prices may vary by drugstore