In my last post, I talked about how I recognised signs of dehydration in my skin and how important the oil-moisture balance is to maintain healthy, glowy, baby's bum-like skin.
Today, I want to talk briefly about the types of moisture and how knowing this can help in selecting the right kind of serum, day moisturiser, night cream for your skin type.
Broadly speaking, there are three types of moisture: humectants, emollients and occlusives.
These are ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin, hyaluronic acid or lactic acid, which draw moisture to the skin and keep it there on the outermost layer of the skin. They are the lightest type of moisture as they do not contain any oil element. Because of this, they are great to use on extremely oily skin types or for those who live in a highly humid climate. Serums often contain humectants.
Emollients are slightly heavy and often oil-based moisturisers that smoothen the skin to supply it with lipids (the natural oil of the skin). Some of them also act as barriers; ingredients such as mineral oil. Mineral oil (derived from petroleum and an excellent solvent), is a highly debatable ingredient to have in skincare but that discussion is for another day. Other types of emollients in skincare products are plant-based oils, which can sink into the skin. Examples of this include jojoba oil. Serums often contain emollients, apart from humectants.
As the name suggests, these act as true barriers that protect the skin from dryness, which can wreak havoc. Occlusive ingredients are often found in heavy night creams and the latest type of moisturisers to hit the market—balms. They form a heavy and oily layer on the skin as they comprise mainly oils. For this reason, they are sparingly used on the face, and are preferred more for the body, except for those who suffer from eczema on the face and hence require a layer of moisture + oil that won’t budge and therefore, protect the affected area. Petrolatum, also a derivative of petroleum, is an occlusive ingredient. So are silicones and waxes. If you’re suffering from eczema, look out for petrolatum as a good-to-have ingredient in your body/face moisturiser.