Hyaluronic acid

Humectants can bring instant moisture to a dry skin

Hydration, hydration, hydration.

That’s what humectants bring to the mix.

They are wonderful for a dry skin type, but my clients, often get confused about the role of humectants in moisturisers.

So here is a little summary for you, to get know these ingredients better.

Role of Moisturisers

Our skin requires both oils, and water rich ingredients in order to be healthy.

Natural botanical oils found in skin care, mimic the skin’s natural oil, which is known as sebum.

Humectant ingredients are water rich, they mimic the skin’s sweat and work by hydrating the skin, the oils mimic the skin’s natural sebum.

Your moisturisers are made from a blend of different ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid,

All of which, have been specifically designed to prevent water loss, and protect the stratum corneum (the outer layer of skin).

The article the best moisturiser for dry skin is worth reading, if you’d like to find out more about the role of moisturisers.

Role of Humectants

Without getting to technical, the key functionality of a humectant is to form hydrogen bonds with molecules of water.

This is why humectants are considered an important ingredient for a dry, dehydrated skin.

The reason we at The Naked Chemist just love adding humectants to our dry skin formulas, is due to they’re amazing ability to attract water like a magnet, chemically binding water to them.

Some humectants are even capable of holding up to 1000 times their own weight in water.

Hyaluronic Acid is one such ingredient, that locks moisture onto the surface of the skin, making it moist and healthy.

Types of Humectants

The following are all humectants, groups of water loving agents, that are often referred to as hydrophilic ingredients in skincare.

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid molecule

Hyaluronic Acid 

This is a common humectant found in skin care.

Hyaluronic Acid has potent hydrating capabilities, it can hold anywhere between 600 and 1000 times its own weight in water.

Perfect for a parched, dehydrated skin. To find out more about this hyaluronic acid follow the link.

Butylene glycol This is an ingredient you will often find in skincare products for a dry skin.

It is more popular than propylene glycol, which can be irritating to a sensitive skin, due to its permeability.


This is a strong humectant and a very popular ingredient in our formulas.

It works really well as a hydrating agent and we love the fact it keeps on working, long after the cream has been rinsed off the skin.

So well in fact, that we created a complete article about Glycerin, which you can read all about here.


This is an ingredient that can be used to replace Glycerin.

It is a great hydrating agent, that has many of the same benefits as glycerin.

Sodium PCA

Like hyaluronic acid, this ingredient works really well as a hydrator, helping to attract water to the skin.

Sodium PCA is often used alone or within an oily formula, due to its lightweight properties.

Seaweed and Algae

These are fairly new ingredients that we love to use in our hydrating masks.

They work by creating a moist film over the surface of the skin, helping to retain water in the skins upper layers, these ingredients are extremely nourishing and moisturising.

Still confused about humectants and hyaluronic acids role on the skin, then you may find this article a useful read.

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