Ingredients | Dry Skin

This is Why Emollients are a Dry Skins Best friend

Is your skin dehydrated, dry, and flaky?

Or maybe it’s prone to inflammation?

Then emollients could be your new best friend.

Often referred to as protectors, they form an invisible film on your skin.

They shield it from environmental damage,

And because the molecules are large, they don’t penetrate easily.

This is why they make your skin feel lovely and soft.

What Are Emollients?

We assume they will hydrate and moisturise our skin when looking for moisturisers.

Sadly, it’s not so straightforward—they contain several different ingredients, which work metabolically in slightly different ways when treating dryness.

And in this area of personal care products, emollients are one of the key players, helping to moisture and soften your skin,

As a clinical esthetician, I am here to help you understand everything you need to know about introducing emollients into your skincare routine.

First, let’s look at the different types of emollients for your skin.

Types of Emollients

Butters, oils, lipids, and esters are all classed as emollients.

Natural options include cocoa, mango butter, coconut oil, jojoba, squalane, and lecithin.

Natural silicone alternatives such as ‘coco-caprylate’ are readily biodegradable light emollients that provide great slip and feel like silk on your skin.

They also act as conditioners, film-formers, moisturisers, and thickeners.

Then, there are synthetic silicones, which we will discuss below.

Benefits of Emollients

  • heals dry skin
  • soothe burns
  • replenishes skins barrier
  • re-texturise rough skin
  • reduces sensitivity
  • prevents flaky skin
  • lessens scar tissue
  • keeps skin moisturised

Emollients help reduce skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema; this study (1) showed how a ceramide-rich emollient helped relieve atopic dermatitis in patients.

Barrier Repairing Emollients

When your skin is dry, sensitive and flaky, there are gaps between your skin cells, allowing moisture to escape quickly and irritants to get in.

Here at the Naked Chemist, we often discuss your barrier function because. It’s super important; it keeps your skin lovely and healthy.

Emollients help to fill the gaps between those spaces and smooth out your skin, repairing an impaired barrier, as this study shows (2).

Both Fortify barrier repair cream and Xcell skin shot contain natural occlusive ingredients, which are skin-identical, that prevent moisture loss and rebuild your skin’s protective barrier.

Synthetic Emollients

Many synthetic emollients are available.

However, as a natural and organic skincare company, we prefer not to use them in our formulas because they are biologically inert.

Still, they’re worth a mention, as they are found in many moisturising formulas.


These include Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, and Cyclopentasiloxane; they are the most commonly used to form a nice texture on the skin.

They are also used to deliver performance cosmetic ingredients effectively into your skin.


These are relatively new synthetic silicones that work as spreading agents.

They impart a silky feel to your skin, helping with slip and glide.

They are called breathable barriers because they leave a protective film on your skin’s surface.

Because of their nice texture, they have replaced many traditional emollients that are considered too thick.


We avoid this ingredient in our formulas, whether purified or not.

Why? The question has to be asked: Do we want our clients smearing their skin with something that has come into contact with sheep dip?

Especially when you consider several natural substitutes available.

Mineral Oil

Emulsifiers to avoid are the ones that have a mineral oil base.

Polyethene glycol ether is usually combined with paraffin; this could include trideceth 3, 6, 10, and tricetheareth, which are petrochemical-based.

Mineral oil works by trapping water in the top layers of your skin, creating a protective barrier that helps keep skin plump and moist and invading bacteria out.

To conclude. The naked truth

You must get on the emollient train if you’re a dry skin sufferer.

They are also highly beneficial for sensitivity, rough skin and conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and keratosis pilaris.

The only two caveats are:

  1. You must ensure they’re natural.
  2. If your skin is oily or acne, they can block your sweat glands, creating blackheads, whiteheads, and more breakouts, so avoid anything too heavy on your skin.


  1. Role of topical emollients and moisturisers.
  2. The Role of Moisturisers in Addressing Various Kinds of Dermatitis,

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