Decoding Moisturizers: Humectants, Occlusives and Emollients

Decoding Moisturizers: Humectants, Occlusives and Emollients Pure Harmony Moisturizer cream
Some basic knowledge about  your moisturizer’s composition helps make a more informed decision when buying for your skin care needs.


Reading skin care labels can be confusing.  Therefore, let me share the basics on decoding moisturizers.  Once you are better understanding of humectants, occlusives, and emollients when shopping for your skin care products, then you can better address your particular skin care needs.

Humectants are the ingredients in the product that attract water from the surface to the skin cell itself. For example, some common ingredients to look for are hyaluronic acid, glycerin, panthenol, urea, lactic acid, ammonium lactate, butylene glycol, sodium PCA, sorbitol, PCA, diglycerin, and sodium lactate among others.

Occlusives are the ingredients that trap the hydration to keep the water from evaporating.  Occlusive agents are ingredients like squalene, dimethicone, cyclomethicone, cocoa butter, shea butter, beeswax, propylene glycol, mineral oil, and lanolin are just some names they you might come across.

Emollients, on the other hand, are the ingredients that do the actually softening and smoothing lubrication of the outer layer of the skin.  Ingredients such as plant oils like coconut, jojoba, sesame, and almond oils are wonderful emollients.  Others include olive oil, cetyl alcohol, and paraffin.  Shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax and squalene are multitasking ingredients that are both emollient and occlusive in how that function.

When you have an idea of how these types of ingredients work for decoding moisturizers, it is much easier to pinpoint what to expect from how those moisturizers might work for you when they appear together in combination.


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