When searching for the perfect moisturizer for your skin type, it is important to understand what a moisturizer exactly is. Moisturizers don’t add moisture, instead they attract and trap existing water in the skin. Three main ingredients in a moisturizer are humectants, emollients and occlusives. Together their properties keep the skin healthy and hydrated by holding onto water, reducing evaporation and sealing in moisture.
These are the moisture absorbers, they draw water to the skin cells from the air and from your dermis to keep skin hydrated. Common Ingredients: Glycerin, propylene glycol, Butylene glycol hyaluronic acid, Sodium PCA and Sorbitol Allantoin.
Emollients moisturize your skin directly, instead of just attracting moisture to your skin like humectants do. They fill in the gaps and cracks in skin’s surface with droplets of oil, providing a smoothing and softening effect. They also coat your skin so it can retain its moisture. Some emollients also absorb into skin’s surface layers, helping to replenish moisture. Common ingredients: Shea butter, Cocoa butter, Mineral oil, Lanolin, Petrolatum, Paraffin, Beeswax, Squalene, Coconut, jojoba, sesame, almond, and other plant oils; Cetyl alcohol, Olive oil (oleic acid) and Triethylhexanoin
These are the sealers. They are oily substances that form a film on the top of skin, which seal in cracks and prevent moisture from escaping. If your skin is reactive or blemish prone it’s best to stay away from occlusive moisturizers as they clog your pores. Common Ingredients: Petroleum, Mineral Oil, silicones, beeswax, cocoa butter, dimethicone and paraffin.
Obviously, when you are looking for a specified moisturizer such as for anti-aging or hyperpigmentation you are looking for additional ingredients such as AHA, peptides, retinol and so on. Keep an eye out for recommendations and reviews on my favorite skincare products!