Hydration, hydration, hydration!
This is what valuable humectants bring to your skin
They are wonderful for dehydrated and dry skin.
All Skin Types Require Water
Any skin can require hydration – even oily skin – if we remember dry skin lacks oil, and dehydrated skin lacks water.
This is a subject I discuss in the article, “The Clear Skin Difference: It Begins With Hydration.”
Achieving Healthy Skin Requires Balance
Therefore, our skin requires a mixture of both oil-rich and water-rich ingredients to be healthy.
- Some natural botanical oils found in skincare products, such as jojoba or squalane, mimic the skin’s natural oil, 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 the epidermis, from becoming dry and parched.
The Role of Humectants
Without getting too 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 dry and dehydrated skin.
The reason I like to add humectants to my formulae is due to their ability to attract water like a magnet, physically binding water to them.
Some humectants are capable of holding up to 1000 times their own weight in water.
Hyaluronic Acid, found in our H₂O Hydrating Complex, is one such ingredient. It locks moisture onto the surface of the skin, keeping it moist and healthy.
Types of Humectants
Humectants are groups of water-loving agents that are referred to as “hydrophilic” ingredients in skincare.
Hyaluronic Acid has potent hydrating capabilities.
It can hold anywhere between 600 – 1000 times its own weight in water; perfect for parched, dehydrated skin.
This is an ingredient you will often find in skincare products for dry skin.
It is more popular than propylene glycol, which can be irritating to a sensitive skin due to its permeability.
This is a powerful humectant that works really well as a hydrating agent. I personally like the fact that it keeps on working long after the product has been rinsed off the skin.
You can read more about Glycerine here.
This is an ingredient that can be used to replace Glycerine.
It is a great hydrating agent that has many of the same benefits as glycerine.
Like Hyaluronic Acid, this ingredient works really well to hydrate by helping to attract water to the skin.
Sodium PCA is often used alone or within an oily formula due to its lightweight properties.
You can read more about Sodium PCA here.
Seaweed and Algae
These are perfect for hydrating mask formulae.
They work by creating a moist film over the surface of the skin, helping to retain water in the skin’s upper layers.
These ingredients are extremely nourishing and moisturising.