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Moisturising is the most important part of our beauty routine – right? Wrong!

Despite the fact that for most women slapping on the moisturiser twice a day is as automatic as brushing their teeth, some skin doctors are now saying moisturiser could be doing more harm than good.

Cosmetic dermatologist Dr Rachael Eckel recently told the Daily Mail: “Moisturisers are a widespread and silent traitor and an important contributor to skin disease.”

According to Dr Eckel moisturisers can actually cause dryness. And not only that, she claims they lead to the accumulation of dead skin cells, large pores, acne and skin sensitivity.

She says only people with genetically dry skin – which is very few of us – should be using a moisturiser.

Moisturisers generally work in two ways. They draw moisture from lower layers of the skin and create a barrier to stop moisture from evaporating from the skin’s surface.

They make skin feel hydrated and may give a temporary plumping effect. But, in reality many medical skincare experts are now saying this is making the skin ‘lazy’ and less able to hydrate itself.

The basic cycle works like this: Up to the age of around 25 the skin’s surface is renewed every six weeks. After that this process slows. Dead cells accumulate on the skin’s surface making it rough, dull and dry-feeling. We think we have dry skin so we slap on some moisturiser.

The upper layer of the skin produces vital natural moisturising factors (NMFs), which keep skin supple, protect it from UV light and regulate natural exfoliation. Plus, in the lower levels of skin we store water in sponge-like structures called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).

When we slather on artificial moisturiser, Dr Eckel’s says a signal is sent to the cells to stop producing GAGs and NMFs. The epidermis – top layer of skin – dehydrates and thins and fine lines start to appear.

To make things even worse, the moisturiser can stick dead skin cells to the skin’s surface and can create an oxygen-free environment which kills off friendly bacteria skin needs to stay healthy.

Dr Eckel is angry at claims made by moisturisers that they are anti-ageing, saying most have ‘zero evidence for their claims’.

Her favoured skincare regime includes exfoliants and oil-free serums with vitamins – such as retinol.


Dr Eckel recommends ZO Skin Health Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair, available from dermatologists and aesthetic clinics.

Our own aesthetic doctor, Dr Najma Hussain, also recommends most patients should come off of the moisturiser. “I usually find that what patients most need is not a moisturiser but a good exfoliant, often combined with products to reduce pigments.This may mean a chemical peel or it could be achieved with the right products.”

Like Dr Eckel, Dr Hussain is a big advocate of retinol and also stocks the ZO range in her clinics. “A good retinol product is a must. We can provide various strengths, depending on patient’s needs. Stronger, more effective retinol products are prescription only.”

“There is sometimes a need for a moisturiser, but most people who come to me are over-moisturising and it is not benefitting their skin. It is hard to navigate your way through claims of over-the-counter cosmetic brands, so I would always recommend a consultation with a dermatologist or aesthetic skin specialist to ensure you are doing what is just right for your skin.

“Getting the right skincare regime is essential to optimising your skin health and the look of your skin.”

If you want some advice on your skincare, book a free skin consultation with us. Simply call 966 860 258 or email