7 Bad Things That Happen When You Don't Moisturize Your Face

Not a fan of wrinkles? You can't afford to skip this step.

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Everyone knows that moisturizing your skin is important, but do you know why? The obvious answer is that your skin can get dry, but there are other ill effects that you need to know.

1. YOU COULD DEVELOP MORE WRINKLES.

That's right: Leaving moisturizer out of your routine today could lead to deeper wrinkleslater on. "When the skin barrier is compromised, which is what we see when it becomes dry, there's actually a low-grade chronic inflammation that occurs in the skin," warnsdermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe. "Low levels of ongoing inflammation ultimately lead to a breakdown of collagen and accelerated aging."

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2. THE WRINKLES YOU ALREADY HAVE WILL LOOK EVEN WORSE.

Yes, going sans moisturizer can make your current lines look, well, less fine. "Dehydrated skin shows all the lines," says Dr. Bowe. Want them to be less prominent? Dr. Bowe recommends plumping up your skin with a moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid.

3. YOUR COMPLEXION WILL APPEAR DULL AND FLAKY—ESPECIALLY IF IT'S COLD OUTSIDE.

"In the winter, humidity levels plummet, and the dry air can dehydrate your skin and strip it of lipids, which are part of its protective outer layer — so irritants can enter more easily and cause redness and flaking," says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City and author of Skin Rules.

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4. IT WILL AGGRAVATE YOUR ACNE.

Sounds counterintuitive, but moisturizer really is your friend if you have blemishes. "Dryness can actually make your acne worse," says Dr. Debbie Palmer, dermatologist and founder of Replere Skin Care. If you're afraid of feeling too greasy, pick a moisturizer that suits your needs: "For patients with acne-prone skin, I recommend using an oil-free, fragrance-free, noncomedogenic moisturizer along with their acne regimen."

5. YOU LOSE A LAYER OF PROTECTION.

"Many of the most effective skin care ingredients like retinoids, salicyclic acid, and benzoyl peroxide tend to be very drying," says Dr. Bowe. So when you don't follow them up with moisturizer, you risk uncomfortable side effects like red, peeling skin. Dr. Bowe adds: "When this happens, most people stop using their powerful products regularly, so they wind up dealing with the side effects without reaping the full benefits."

6. YOUR MAKEUP WON'T LOOK SO FLAWLESS.

You know those little lines under your eyes where your concealer creases? Those will look worse if you don't hydrate your face before applying base makeup. "Makeup sticks to dry areas on the skin and even seeps into fine lines," warns Dr. Bowe. For best results, she recommends waiting about five minutes before using foundation so your moisturizer or primer can properly absorb. Bonus tip: Use a lip balm before putting on lipstick for long-lasting color.

7. YOUR SKIN WILL ITCH LIKE CRAZY.

You know that tight feeling your skin has when you've just gotten out of the shower? Imagine that—all day long. And if all the other reasons aren't enough for you to slather on some moisture, just thinking about this should do the trick.

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