Do you have a dry skin?

Is it often parched, flaky and suffers from bouts of inflammation?

Then occlusive ingredients are going to be your new best friend, these coupled with emollients, will help to keep your dry skin well lubricated.

Dry skin lacks moisture, it requires ingredients that help to reduce trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). That literally traps water in the upper layers.

As water moves up from the dermis (the deepest layer of the skin), it brings hydration to the outer layer the epidermis.

With a dry skin, water is often lost through the cells of the epidermis to evaporation.

The Role of Occlusives on Your Skin

Occlusives create a thin film over the skin, helping to create a barrier against water loss.

They lock in moisture and prevent TEWL from occurring in the skins tissues, slowing the evaporation of water loss from the skins surface.

This is important, especially when we are thinking about formulating for a dry skin, especially on the body, where there are less oil glands than on the face, which is often why legs will see particularly dry.

Types of Occlusives

  • Propylene glycol
  • Squalaene
  • Lecithin
  • Silicone derivatives, such as dimethicone and cyclomethicone
  • Allantoin helps to improve the water content of the epidermis
  • Cocoa butter, mango and shea stick on the skin, helping to protect it from the outside world
  • Mineral oil, lanolin, paraffin are all ingredients that we don’t use, but they are common occlusives found in skin care. They literally cover the skin and won’t let it breathe
  • Beeswax is a wonderful occlusive ingredient, especially for dry, chapped lips found in Naturlene treatment balm


The only real downside to using occlusives is that they can be greasy and cause inflamed breakouts, papules and in some cases even acne breakouts.

I always avoid using occlusives in my formulas for oily skin, or skin types that are really prone to spots, pimples and breakouts.

If you want to learn about the best oils for skin, click here to read my comprehensive glossary on botanical oils.

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