Hydration, hydration, hydration.
That’s what humectants bring to the mix.
They are wonderful for a dry skin type.
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
First I need to clarify the following point.
If your skin is dry it requires oil, but if your skin is dehydrated, it requires water.
Our skin requires a mixture of both oil rich, and water rich ingredients, in order to be healthy.
- Some natural botanical oils found in skin care such as jojoba or squalane, 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.They have been specifically designed to prevent water loss, and protect the stratum corneum, the outer layer of skin, from becoming dry and parched.
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 I like adding humectants to my formulas, is due to they’re amazing ability to attract water like a magnet, chemically binding water to them.
Some humectants, are 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 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.
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 my formulas, it works really well as a hydrating agent.
I really like the fact, it keeps on working long after the cream has been rinsed off the skin.
I 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.
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 perfect for hydrating mask formulas.
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.