Should We Be Double Moisturizing?

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We’ve all heard about the merits of double cleansing. Recently, a similar trend was born: double moisturizing. Experts say the practice can be beneficial for all skin types, even oily ones. Whether you’re looking for a boost of moisture, to seal in other products or to pair hydration with actives, here’s how this hack can help.

We know double cleansing is advisable, but how about double moisturizing?

The experts all advocate for double moisturizing—after all, a little extra hydration can’t hurt. The practice is especially beneficial for those with dry skin or during colder months. “It helps protect against further dryness,” says New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD. “In the colder weather or dry climate when our skin can get dried out, double moisturizing will help keep skin soft and hydrated.” Dr. Peredo says those with sensitive or mature skin can double moisturize as well. “As we age, our skin becomes drier, so it can be beneficial,” says Dr. Peredo. She notes that there’s no need for people with oily skin to avoid the practice. According to Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD, “even oilier skin types need a double boost of hydration from time to time.”

Dr. Honet double moisturizes in her own skin-care routine every night. She says anyone with dry skin, sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis or other inflammatory skin conditions should consider double moisturizing. Anyone using isotretinoin (Accutane), prescription retinoids, anti-acne topicals like benzoyl peroxide, or in-office treatments such as chemical peels, microneedling or lasers may also benefit from double moisturizing, says Dr. Honet. “Sometimes the need for double moisturizing may be only temporary while the skin heals or until the skin acclimates to a new skin-care regimen,” she adds.

Janet Pardo, senior vice president, product development for Clinique, says double cleansing and double moisturizing are both part of Clinique’s philosophy, which is why it’s no surprise the brand is at the head of the trend, sharing TikToks on the topic. Pardo says double moisturizing “ensures you are treating your skin efficiently.” The two layers of moisturizers have different functions allowing you to both balance skin and treat a specific skin concern.

The benefits of double moisturizing

“The benefits of double moisturizing are two-fold. The first benefit is moisturizing the skin to rehydrate after cleansing and to apply a second layer to the areas that may need an extra boost of hydration,” says Dr. Honet. “The second benefit for the skin is to prep the canvas, so to speak, to better receive the layers to follow, such that the skin care with active ingredients can be uniformly absorbed.” She says this second benefit is especially important when actives like retinoids are applied. “The drier areas will no longer preferentially absorb more retinoid than needed, much like when a dry sponge readily absorbs a lot more water than a wet sponge.” When the final layer is a more emollient moisturizer, it helps seal in the products and creates a protective barrier, she explains.

Dr. Peredo finds the benefits of double moisturizing especially apt when using multitasking products. “For example, you can use a vitamin C serum, which is brightening and moisturizing and apply right after a tinted sunscreen such as Alastin’s HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36 ($36), which also is a moisturizer and has anti-aging benefits.”

Pardo says, “Double moisturizing both balances and treats skin, resulting in a healthy complexion.” She wants you to think of your skin as a house. “You just repaired everything inside—the floors, furniture and walls–but the roof is leaking, and everything gets destroyed,” says Pardo. The lotion works to “keep the roof intact, so everything inside stays protected. The first step of double moisturizing starts your skin in a healthy place to maximize your routine.”

How to double moisturize

Dr. Peredo advises starting with the lightest products and ending with the heaviest. Her pro tip for seasonal changes is “using lighter products in the summer such as a mist or serum and heavier creams and ointments in the winter.” Pardo suggests starting with a lightweight lotion. She likes Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion ($33), which helps to replenish skin’s oil and water balance. The key is finding a lightweight lotion that can quickly penetrate the skin, she notes. “Once your skin is balanced and healthy, then follow with your second moisturizer that is dedicated to targeting your skin concern, such as de-aging, sun protection, hyperpigmentation, etc,” says Pardo. To combat daily aggressors like pollution, blue light, air conditioning and heat, she loves using Clinique Moisture Surge 100H ($27).

If you don’t have a specific skin concern you’re targeting and just want a double dose of hydration, this technique is still a great addition to your routine. “I recommend my patients with normal to dry skin to apply a general, light to medium moisturizer on the entire surface to prep the skin as the first layer, much like prepping an artist’s canvas, to allow for even hydration,” says Dr. Honet. “Then the second layer of moisturizer may be a more emollient one that is applied in areas of more need, like areas that are drier or more sensitive.” Dr. Honet adds that the key is to “listen to your skin and moisturize in a customized fashion.”

Double moisturizing is especially great at bedtime when the skin is in repair mode, says Dr. Honet. Her recent regimen includes a hyaluronic acid moisturizer, like Alastin HA Immerse Serum ($110). She follows this with a layer of a more emollient cream or lotion base. “The advantage of a hyaluronic acid moisturizer is that it is hydrophilic. It will pull water molecules to itself from the top layer of moisturizer and hydrate the skin beneath it.”

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