Are Pricier Moisturizers More Effective?

Skin moisturizers come with a variety of claims and price tags. Here’s what to look for and what to avoid.


THE CLAIM: Pricier skin moisturizers are worth the extra money.

Choosing a moisturizer can be quite a challenge. Store shelves are filled with products that come with a wide array of claims and price tags. But as criteria for judging quality, both tend to be skin deep.

Expensive moisturizers are not necessarily more effective.

The claim “Dermatologist Recommended,” which costlier products often carry, is actually meaningless because there’s no standard definition for the term.

Claims related to safety can also be deceptive.

A study of 174 best-selling moisturizers found that 83 percent of products labeled “hypoallergenic” contained at least one ingredient that could trigger allergic reactions.

Other common moisturizer claims, such as fragrance free, natural, organic, and noncomedogenic, which means doesn’t clog pores, may also be misleading or false. Because moisturizers are not strictly regulated, manufacturers don’t have to prove their claims.

In general, moisturizers with relatively few ingredients may be the safest bet.

You may need to try several products until you find one that you like.

Whatever you choose, apply it right after bathing, when your skin is still damp.

Of course, a moisturizer isn’t the only way to prevent dry skin. Using a humidifier, avoiding harsh soaps, and bathing or showering in warm rather than hot water can also help. And with these measures, you don’t have to contend with strange ingredient names or sticker shock.

Helping you be a healthy skeptic, I’m Robert Davis.

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