Is There Such a Thing as Moisturizing Too Much?

Natasha Burton
Getty Images / Zero Creatives

Getty Images / Zero Creatives

We all know that keeping skin moisturized is the key to getting that youthful glow and maintaining a nice, supple complexion. Especially in the hot and sticky summer months though, it’s easy to have too much of a good thing on the moisturizer front.

To make sure you’re maximizing your products—and not wasting them or compromising your skin in the process—we chatted with skincare experts on how to know if you’re being a bit excessive with your moisturizing routine. Heed their advice so that you can avoid unnecessarily over-doing it.

The low-down on over-moisturizing.
It’s a common misconception that the more moisturizer you use, the more effective it will be, says Cecilia Wong of Cecilia Wong Skincare. “High quality moisturizers are very concentrated and are designed to deliver results through very small amounts,” she explains. “If it takes a long time for your moisturizer to be absorbed into the skin or if you are going through product quickly—like every few weeks—there is a good chance you’re overusing your moisturizer.”

MORE: The Best Moisturizing Face Mists

The signs of over-moisturizing.
Sometimes, it’s just a matter of using the wrong product for your skin type, adds NYC dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz, host of and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz. For instance, if your skin is on the oily side, you want to use a cream that’s specifically formulated for you. Schultz says that you might not experience any skin issues, but your skin may feel or look greasy after applying, and your makeup might not set properly on your skin.

Wong agrees, noting that some other indications of over-moisturizing include clogged pores, breakouts, overproduction in oil, bumps, or buildup of dead skin cells. “If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s a good idea to reduce the amount you use or explore a different product that’s more suitable for your skin type,” she says.

The most prone skin types.
Those with dry skin tend to overdo it when moisturizing as they notice their skin is dry or flaky, Wong says. “Facial dryness is sometimes the result of using excessive product or the wrong product,” she explains. “It’s important to use the right moisturizer for your skin type and to ensure that the moisture is being absorbed into skin cells, instead of just accumulating on the surface of the skin.”

How to avoid over-doing it
Most importantly, Wong says it’s key to research products before you buy them. But after you’ve found the one, focus on using it effectively, not excessively. “Exfoliating before applying moisturizer helps to remove dead skin cells and excess oil, which makes for easier absorption of your moisturizer into skin cells,” she says. “Also, add a spray toner to your daily skincare regimen, and spritz before applying moisturizer. This will help spread the moisturizer evenly, maximizing absorption so that key ingredients are delivered deeper into the layers of your skin.”

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