Is a gel moisturiser what your face needs?

Gel moisturisers are typically recommended for oily, acne-prone skin, or the double-whammy oily acne-prone skin.  PHOTO | FILE

Photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK

What you need to know:

  • Gel moisturisers are typically recommended for oily, acne-prone skin, or the double-whammy oily acne-prone skin.
  • . A gel  acts like blotting paper even as it moisturises.

 Last week I shared about maskne, a skin condition that occurs as a result of wearing masks and breaking out. One of the ways to prevent it, I mentioned, was to opt for a gel moisturiser. And I got your mail asking, what, pray tell, is gel moisturiser, where do I find it and why should I even use it?

Gel moisturisers are typically recommended for oily, acne-prone skin, or the double-whammy oily acne-prone skin.

So, what is a gel moisturiser? Products tend to come with different textures. Lotions are light and watery, creams are thick and need to be massaged between the hands or against the skin to melt in, and toners, essences or serums, which are watery, need to be patted in.

Gels are lightweight like a lotion, but with a more jelly-like texture, and feel cool on skin when applied. They do not have the shiny finish of a cream.

Gels are perfect for oily skin because they often, if not always, have a rather matt finish. A gel acts like blotting paper even as it moisturises. In a sense, it looks and feels like glycerin, but it is less stifling to the touch when applied. In fact, if this description makes you think gel might be the best thing to happen to your skin, you would be right.

Easily absorbs gels

Skin very easily absorbs gels. Their lightweight nature gives them the absorbency and consistency of a lotion. This immediately means gels do not have comedogenic oils or emollients like a cream. Comedogenic means that they block your pores.

Gels are great at hydration. When you have a skin problem and are using drying skincare products to treat, a gel will be recommended long before an oil or a cream.

Think of gels as a slow-release product that infuses your skin steadily with hydration.

Gel moisturisers are also an anti-ageing secret.  The magic ingredient that gels tend to possess is hyaluronic acid, a potent moisture-bringer that penetrates your skin 100 times more than anything on earth. So far.

It would be wise to pair your hyaluronic serum with a gel moisturiser if you have oily yet dehydrated but acne-prone skin. This means skin that is dried out by external factors such as benzoyl peroxide or retinoids.

Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the skin, but it starts to diminish with age. This is what leads to the loss of plumpness and juiciness that occurs when you are in your 20s.

How do you know something is a gel? One, it says so right there on the packaging. It could also mention that it is a water gel. Now, here is a diversion from the gel we are discussing.

Richer texture

There are gel-creams that tend to be like a gel, act as a gel, and look like a gel, with the added texture of a cream. In these cases, the packaging will say gel-cream.

This is lighter than a cream, but thicker than a water gel. It also has a thicker, richer texture. They can be used by any skin type. Just be sure to read the label and pick the right gel. Water-based gels disappear into your face and will not leave you with the sensation of feeling slathered like a cream or oils.

Gels are great for any weather, but especially once it grows hot, and you want deep moisture without the shine and cling of oils and creams.

Do you have sensitive skin? Start off by calming and soothing it with a gel as you try to bring it back to balance.

There is no need to complicate things. Use your water-based gel moisturiser the way you would any other moisturiser - on cleansed skin. In case you are concerned about a gel-cream, note that in 2019, Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology pointed out that gels may be lightweight, but they moisturise like a cream, thanks to their “special emulsifiers,” adding that “These studies demonstrated that the gel matrix formula increased skin water content in deeper layers, and resulted in significant clinical improvements in hydration, barrier function, and clinical appearance of radiance.”  If this doesn’t sell water-based gels to you then I don’t know what will.

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