Emollients the performance ingredients

What if we were to tell you, that without emollients chances are you would have really dry skin.

We use a lot of natural emollients in our formulas, to help to improve the suppleness of the skin and the barrier function.

They are often referred to as protectors, because they lie on top of the skin shielding it from environmental harm, repairing, and restoring the skin keeping it supple.

The molecules are large and don’t penetrate easily, which is why they make skin feel lovely and soft.

Barrier healing emollients

Natural emollients include Jojoba, Squalane, and Lecithin – which are rich in fatty acids and naturally found within our skin.

Natural silicone alternatives such as ‘Coco-caprylate’ is a readily biodegradable light emollient and ‘Silybum marianum ethyl ester’ we prefer to use in our formulas. They have unique properties and are superb emollients providing great slip and can feel like silk on the skin. They can also act as skin protectants, conditioners, film-formers, moisturisers, and thickeners.

Both Fortify barrier repair cream and Bio lipid complex contain natural occlusive, skin-identical ingredients, that prevent moisture loss and rebuild the skin’s natural protective barrier.

Synthetic emollients

There are many synthetic emollients available, but we as a company choose not to include them in our formulas because they are biologically inert, but they are worth a mention as they are found in many moisturising formulas on the market today:

Silicones include Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, and Cyclopentasiloxane, they are the most commonly used to create a nice texture in skincare products, they also help to deliver performance cosmetic ingredients effectively.

Polymers: These are relatively new synthetic silicones, which work as spreading agents. They also work by imparting a silky feel on the skin, helping with slip and glide; they are often referred to as breathable barriers because they leave a protective film on the surface of the skin. Because they have such a nice texture, they have replaced many of the more traditional emollients that are considered too thick.

Lanolin: This is an ingredient that whether purified or not, we choose to avoid in my formulas. Why? Because the question has to be asked, do we reslly want our clients smearing their skin with something that has come into contact with sheep dip? Especially when you consider, there are a number of natural substitutes that are available.

Mineral oil: Emulsifiers to avoid are the ones that have a mineral oil base. Polyethylene glycol ether is usually combined with paraffin; this could include trideceth -3, -6, 10, tricetheareth, which are petro-chemical based.

Mineral oil works by trapping water in the top layers of the skin, whilst creating a protective barrier, thus helping to keep skin plump and moist and invading bacteria out, this is a subject I discuss in greater detail in the chapter on occlusive ingredients, which you can read all about here.

So as we can see emollients really do have their place in skincare, but you just have to make sure they’re natural.

Why? Because everything touches you matters.

Yours in skin health. Samantha


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