Ditch moisturiser from your skincare routine, says A-List facialist

skincare routine | ditch the moisturiser, says expert

If there’s one element of a skincare routine that nearly all of us subscribe to, it’s moisturising.

Even the most low-maintenance beauty consumers probably use some form of hydrating face product in their skincare routine – hey, even our other halves like to dig their paws in a tub of cream these days. So, when a highly respected skin expert says it might be a good idea to ditch moisturiser, I’m all ears.

Facialist Kate Kerr, who is loved by beauty editors and celebs alike for her clinical, results-driven facials, says that hydrating face creams may be actually be hindering your skincare routine.

Intrigued? Read on to discover the three reasons you should overhaul your skincare routine with a ‘moisturiser diet', according to Kate.

skincare routine | ditch the moisturiser, says expert

Reason 1: Halt Accelerated Ageing

“There are anti-ageing benefits to not using a moisturiser, as they can inhibit the production of Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which are one of our skin’s natural moisturisers. GAGs are important for the production of collagen and the cushioning around it, keeping the skin plump and firm. Moisturising also prevents the skin’s natural exfoliation by smoothing the skin cells and stopping them from sloughing off.

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"So, by stopping moisturising, this actually stimulates cell turnover and encourages natural desquamation [skin peeling] which improves skin function and exposes the tightly packed plump fresh cells to effectively reflect light and leave the skin glowing.”

Reason 2: Strengthen skin

“When we see flaky dryness, our instinct is to apply moisturiser. The flakes are no longer visible, so we presume the moisturiser has worked. In reality, all we’re doing is compressing down that dead skin, stopping it from shedding naturally, and negatively impacting the skin’s barrier function. When the skin’s barrier function is impaired it becomes more sensitive, inflamed and dehydrated. Our skin is capable of maintaining its own hydration levels, so only a ‘true dry skin’ is in need of moisture supplementation.

"By using a moisturiser, our skin’s surface sends a signal down to its water reservoirs telling it that there is plenty of moisture and to halt production, which makes the skin sluggish and lacking in moisture, so we reach for more moisturizer thus exacerbating the problem. Once you stop moisturising in your skincare routine, this cycle is broken and the skin’s ability to moisturise itself increases over a period of 6-12 weeks. Don’t let that time frame put you off; I normally see client’s skin turn a corner at around 2-3 weeks."

skincare routine | ditch the moisturiser, says expert

Reason 3: Stop breakouts

"Another peril of moisturisers in a skincare routine is that when the skin becomes dehydrated, it often over produces oil. Then because the skin is sluggish and there is a build-up of dead skin cells it prevents the flow of this increased oil production, leading to blackheads, whiteheads and possibly even acne. Oils, balms and rich moisturisers can also exacerbate acne further as when sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells mix, they form a plug that clogs pores. When you use rich occlusives you prevent your sebum owing freely out of pores and becoming backlogged, which causes congestion.

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"Occlusive oils can also block the skin as a result which encourages bacteria which in turn exacerbates inflammation and acne. Waking up the skin’s natural moisturising processes helps to balance oil production thus preventing skin congestion, so one of the first steps to clearing the complexion of acne is to go au natural and banish moisturisers from your skincare arsenal.”

Fiona McKim

As woman&home's Senior Beauty Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant beauty find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair dye experiments and cute shih-tzus)

Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know about the industry (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). 


In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a magazine features writer, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz gossip pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine if it’s all the rage in Japan, loves fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.

When not slathering herself in self tan or squinting at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park.