The 3 types of skincare ingredients and what they do

Skincare ingredients and what they do
Skincare ingredients
Understanding skin care ingredients

We all know that cosmetic ingredients analysis is quite a wide, but important topic. Depending on your skin type or your current skin issues, there might be some skin care ingredients you want to avoid.

In this article you will learn about the 3 main groups of skincare ingredients and what they do to your skin once applied.

How to read cosmetic ingredient labels

To know for instance what are the skincare ingredients to avoid when pregnant or while breastfeeding, or the skincare ingredients to avoid for an oily skin, it is neccesary to know how to read cosmetic ingredient labels.

The most popular skincare ingredients are found in the mayority of the skin care products, and to have

If you are interested in understanding skin care ingredients and what they do at least a little bit, you have definitely already encountered names such as humectants, emollients and occlusives. But if you weren’t sure what exactly these names meant and what their function was, read on. These are some of the essential skin care ingredients in cosmetics you will come across quite often.

And you need to know the function of these 3 main groups of essential ingredients for skin care to be able to know how to read skin care ingredients.

Common skincare ingredients

As I mentioned before the most common skin care ingredients are:

  • Humectants
  • Emollient agents
  • Occlusive agents

Humectants in skin care

Transepidermal water loss is one of the reasons why the skin elasticity decreases. Reduced skin elasticity can cause visible wrinkles, but it can be increased by applying moisturizer with natural humectants for skin. How do humectants work? You need to get this question answered to understand what is a humectant.

Humectants in skin care

Humectants are skincare ingredients that hydrate the skin  by attracting water molecules like a magnet. Chemically speaking, humectants are hygroscopic substances that form hydrogen bonds with water molecules.

Humectants in skin care are important for any skin type, but dry skin will benefit the most from them (dry spots on the skin along with a feeling of tension are not super pleasant).

Best humectant moisturizers for face will work best in combination with emollients and occlusives. A moisturizer with humectants will attract water into the skin and occlusives will lock it inside and won’t let it go.

Examples of humectants

The most common humectants examples you’ve definitely come across are:

  • Urea
  • Glycerol
  • Sorbitol
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Ceramides
  • Lactic acid (alpha-hydroxy kyselina)
  • Glycerin
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Propanediol

Is glycerin a humectant or emollient?

Some humectants also act as emollients, such as glycerin. So yes, glycerin is both a humectant and an emollient. However, not all emollients have the same properties that humectants do.

Glycerin is a humectant and a moisturiser, which drives moisture from the deeper layers of the skin and the air into the outer layers.

Is glycerin a humectant or emollient
Is glycerin good for your skin?

Is glycerin a good humectant?

It is one of the most common humectants used in skincare for a good reason. Glycerin helps the skin retain moisture, minimizing water loss which leads to reduced skin irritation.

What is an emollient moisturizer?

Emollients in skin care are usually added to the product to soften and smooth the skin by filling the upper skin cells, which then make the skin look healthier and softer.

Emollient creams also improve the skin elasticity and calm down any irritation.

Emollient agent is especially suitable for those who suffer from sensitive or dry skin on face, because they can lubricate the skin and thus soothe it.

However, this does not mean that those with oily skin should avoid emollients. It is true that some types of carrier oils with a high amount of oleic acid can leave a feeling of occlusive layer, and already oily skin does not need this.

This means that you can choose from carrier oils which contain a higher percentage of linoleic acid. These usually non comedogenic oils are usually absorbed faster, so they do not form this occlusive layer on the oily skin.

Types of carrier oils

List of fast absorbing carrier oils:
  • Sunflower oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Rosehip oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Hemp oil
  • Apricot oil
  • Almond oil
  • Squalan
Carrier oils with slow absorption rate
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Argan oil
  • Meadow foam oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Moringa oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Sesame seed oil

In emulsions, these agents make up to 5-30%. Emulsion is a product that contains both water-soluble and oil-soluble substances. These include, for example, your creams, serums and cleansing milk. The quantity and chosen emollient affects the sensory properties of the final product.

non comedogenic oils for acne prone skin
Jojoba oil comedogenic rating is low

A very good choice is jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is one of the many natural carrier oils. It is a very light carrier oil that is quickly absorbed and leaves the skin silky smooth. Our natural sebum is very similar in composition to this carrier oil. Therefore, it is an excellent choice for the skin, which suffers from clogged pores and acne.
I used to use it when I got some pimples and it really helped me so much. It calmed down the inflammation around my pimples. Overall, the skin looked much more satisfied.

Examples of emollients

The most common emollients are:

  • Carrier oils
  • Beeswax
  • Petrolatum
  • Mineral oil
  • Butyl stearate
  • Glycol laurate
  • Caprylic/capric Triglyceride
  • Fatty alcohols
  • Dimethicone

Occlusives in skincare

Occlusive agents in cosmetics are generally made up of large molecules that are unable to penetrate the skin. Therefore, it creates a thin layer on the skin that protects the skin from external environment, cold wind and frost.

Occlusives in skincare
Occlusives in skincare

Occlusive skincare products create a barrier that actually prevents the water in your skin from evaporating and escaping into the air.

Examples of occlusives

List of occlusive agents you will come across in cosmetics:

  • From fatty acids it is stearic acid, butters high in this acid are cocoa and mango butter
  • Squalane
  • Mineral oil
  • Dimethicone
  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Candelilla wax, carnauba wax, beeswax
Shea butter occlusive
Shea butter occlusive

How to moisturize your face naturally?

These are the 4 rules you need to follow to moisturize the skin:

  • Get a moisturizer that contains all three groups of skincare ingredientsemollient agents, occlusive agents and humectant for skin.
  • Choose a product with a non comedogenic oils. Carrier oils that are easily absorbed will be more suitable for oily skin.
  • Dry skin and sensitive skin, on the other hand, won’t mind the thin occlusive layer formed by heavier carrier oils.
  • Both oily and dry skin types will love a good moisturizer with humectants.

How to learn more about skincare ingredients.

You say you want to know more about how to learn about skincare ingredients? Then you need to read this web where you can check cosmetic ingredients online, so you can analyse the most common ingredients in skin care products.

And this is it. Now, I’ll be happy if you let me know what are the most common skincare ingredients that you use in your skincare routine. I hope you enjoyed this reading!