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ESC, Emulsions

Come this time of year, it's second nature to shed the protective layers of winter, shove coats into the recesses of our closets and gravitate toward lighter palettes. But as we lighten up for spring, should we also assuage our moisturizers as well?

According to Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist who treats celebs like Sofía Vergara, it's worth considering. While an ultra-thick moisturizer may have done a bang-up job of protecting skin against bitter winds, slathering on the same formula in warmer weather can feel too heavy for some and prompt shiny-face syndrome in others.

NEWS: Next-generation face oils are here

Enter emulsions. Like many skin-care products originating in Asia, this long-time staple in Korean routines is becoming more popular in the US. Lighter in consistency than many moisturizers, emulsions help keep skin hydrated and supple—and in many cases, deliver anti-aging benefits—without turning our faces into an oil slick.

"Emulsions are a great option for warmer weather and a great alternative for patients who are acne prone or who have oilier skin," Engelman said. 

ESC Beauty

Those with oilier skin should look for formulations that verge on gel-like consistencies such as the antioxidant-spiked La Prairie Swiss Ice Crystal Emulsion, which launched in February; it feels weightless and blends easily into the skin.

If looking to balance and brighten oily skin, the newly-released Erno Laszo White Marble Radiance Emulsion combines the oil-controlling powers of witch hazel and rice starch with the de-puffing power of caffeine and brightening niaminicide. Like many emulsions, this rendition doubles as a primer when prepping the skin for makeup.

ESC Beauty

For those with dry skin, Engelman suggested a thicker formula stocked with glycerin and squalene, such as iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion, due out next month. It's made with peptides (which are thought to help trigger collagen production and maintain elasticity in the skin) and yields a texture closer in consistency to a lotion than a gel.

If battling hyperpigmentation, Skinceuticals Metacell renewal B3 combines peptides and hydrating glycerin with niacinamide to help fade dark spots; the hydrator is a current favorite of Engelman's herself.

While emulsions make for a great lighter lotion alternative in sweltering months, Engelman reminded us that they often do not contain SPF and should not replace our sunscreen step in the AM. To amplify the anti-aging benefits that emulsions offer, apply a few pumps to clean, toned skin under SPF, then continue with your makeup routine.

As weather heats up, these lightweight hydrators may be the key to banishing shiny skin without sucking it dry. 

La Prairie Swiss Ice Crystal Emulsion, $300; Erno Laszo White Marble Radiance Emulsion, $175; iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion, $85; Skinceuticals Metacell renewal B3, $110