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When should moisturizer be applied?

For people with dry skin, especially those with atopic dermatitis (eczema) I recommend moisturizing twice a day at a minimum. After bathing I find it helpful to use a petroleum jelly based lotion. These tend to be clear to off-white or yellow. While they do not add water to the skin they provide an excellent barrier and allow the water from the bath to stay in the skin. At the other end of the day (i.e. in the morning if bathing is at night) I recommend a water-based moisturizer. These tend to be white, and of varying thicknesses. There are many good options, and many are not overly expensive. I recommend getting one that is fragrence-free. Experiment to find the product that is best for you. 
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

The best time to apply moisturizer is immediately after a bath, shower or making contact with water in any way. Apply lotion all over your body every time you step out of the shower or bathtub.

James M.. Wilmott
Dermatology

Minimally, a moisturizer should be applied in the morning and in the evening, similar to brushing your teeth.  The daytime moisturizer should contain a sunscreen and/or a well-conceived blend of antioxidants that address reactive oxygen species created by sunlight and environmental exposure.  It should also contain materials that help with the creation of stored energy that will be used to repair the skin at night.   The night moisturizer should be intended to soothe, pacify, and repair the skin from the day's traumas.  Typically, it is a more intense level of moisturization that also contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other skin nutrients to help with the repair process.   

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.