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Less is Actually Less: Are You Applying Enough Moisturizer?

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Face Cream

There's a question I'd never asked women with persistently dry complexions. I usually ask what they use, whether it's a line for dry skin, whether they've incorporated gentle exfoliation to clear away dry patches, whether they've considered a serum, and sometimes I ask about diet.

But I've never asked whether they were using enough product. It never occurred to me that I'd need to until a client -- let's call her Kelly -- remarked that I'd put far more moisturizer on her skin than she usually uses. Then I asked, because Kelly has chronically dry skin and I hadn't used a particularly generous amount.

"One pump," she answered, adding that she'd thought the moisturizer bottle was designed to dispense the appropriate measure. But the dispenser for the brand Kelly uses delivers only a tiny squiggle, clearly not enough for her skin.

So two things:

1) If that tiny amount of moisturizer failed to relieve the dryness of Kelly's skin, why didn't she just double up?

Kelly's a smart woman. But she doesn't spend all day reading and thinking about skincare (I know, weird, right?), so the myriad of choices and the amount of information to sift through is overwhelming for her. As well, she uses a brand with a price tag that inspires conservative use. She'd first received it as a gift; continuing to use it was easier than sourcing something new, unknown. End result? She thought her skin was the problem without a simple solution.

2) Even if a pump were designed to deliver a particular dosage of moisturizer, everyone's skin is different. Some may need more, some may need less. How much you need depends on what your skin needs to feel soft and comfortable (start with an dollop about the size of a larger coin -- *grin*). And, if you think about it, you have to use the amount your skin wants or you're just wasting money, whether you swing toward too little or too much.

Since our makeup session, Kelly has indeed increased her moisturizer dosage, and noticed improvement in her skin. She's now getting her money's worth from the brand she uses. And her skin's worth, too.