Humectants: Mandatory for your Skin Care Routine
Humectants are extremely common ingredients in anti-aging skin care and in moisturizing products. Many would argue that they are essential for moisturizing, but what exactly is a humectant? Although it may be a strange, alien-sounding word, a humectant is nothing to fear. Humectants are ingredients designed to help skin retain moisture and they can also pull moisture from the air to further moisturize dry skin.
Put simply, humectants moisturize the skin, and lock that moisture in. Moisturizing alone is important, but that moisture can be lost gradually as the day goes on due to the heat, dryness, and UV rays in the environment around you, making it crucial to retain moisture, too. Humectants are an essential part of your skin care routine in treating and preventing dry skin.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular humectants in skin care:
There’s a reason hyaluronic acid is cited so much in relation to skin care. It’s a very versatile ingredient with a wide range of benefits, including being a great humectant. When it is naturally occurring in our bodies, it serves to hydrate and lubricate our joints, eyes, and skin. When applied to the surface of the skin through a serum or cream, hyaluronic acid will help your skin to hold on to moisture, even in a range of humidity levels.
Propylene glycol is one of those ingredients that gets misunderstood and judged unfairly. Most of the criticism of this ingredient comes from the fact that it is commonly found in antifreeze – as is water. However, distrust based on this fact is unwarranted, as this ingredient has a record of being safe in small quantities of food, as well as in products applied to the skin. So, not to worry: It isn’t the same as putting antifreeze on your skin. Not only is propylene glycol a highly moisturizing humectant, it also helps other active ingredients absorb deeper into skin, significantly boosting the effectiveness of the serums it’s included in.
Glycerin is another natural humectant. It’s typically extracted from plants and vegetables and has a long history of being used as a food additive, as well as an ingredient in certain soaps and moisturizing products. Glycerin has proven its value in moisturizers time and time again. It is absorbed into the skin extremely easily, given that it occurs naturally in our bodies already, and is very effective at holding moisture in the skin. It also gives serums a smooth texture on the skin.
Silicones are a wide family of ingredients and come in many different forms. They hold moisture in the skin and give it a very silky feel. One of the most common silicones in skin care is cyclomethicone, a thin silicone liquid that has a smooth texture and is also a great delivery system for other ingredients. Serums that contain cyclomethicone tend to feel more luxurious and moisturizing and are also more effective at delivering vitamins and peptides into skin.
Saccharide Isomerate is a newer skin care ingredient and despite its scientific sounding name, it is naturally derived from plants. Also known under the trademark Pentavitin®, this ingredient is a complex of carbohydrates that bind with the skin and don’t wash off easily, giving them the ability to retain moisture in the skin all day and up to 72 hours in some instances. Skin care serums with this ingredient are some of the most powerful moisturizers on the market.
There are many other humectants out there; these are just some of our favorites. You can find these ingredients in many of our moisturizing skin care products.