Occlusive Ingredients Found in Dry Skin Moisturisers

Occlusive Ingredients Found in Dry Skin Moisturisers

Do you have dry skin?

Is it often parched, flaky, and suffering 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 literally trap water in the upper layers, reducing trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).

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 skin’s tissues, slowing evaporation from the skin’s 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. This is often why legs will seem particularly dry.

Types of Occlusives

  • Propylene glycol
  • Squalane
  • Lecithin
  • Silicone derivatives, such as dimethicone and cyclomethicone
  • Allantoin helps to improve the water content of the epidermis
  • Cocoa, mango, and shea butters stick on the skin, helping protect it from the outside world
  • Mineral oils, lanolin, and paraffin are all ingredients that we don’t use, but 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. It can be found in our Nectar Treatment Balm.


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

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

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

4 thoughts on “Occlusive Ingredients Found in Dry Skin Moisturisers

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi natasha, your skin is the largest organ on the body, it’s an expression used in the beauty industry to mean, let it function without covering it in occlusive ingredients like petroleum, that block bores and prevent oxygen getting into pores which kill harmful bacteria such as p.acnes

  1. Tony says:

    I have 4 areas that I think are dehydrated and damaged. Forearms, underarms, back of neck and above knees. No lotions work and I have tried oils also. Lmk what I can do. Feels like skin us tight and dry under but oily on top at times. Then other times it is just dry feeling. After washing it is very tight and dry. Thanks.

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