How Moisturizers Work

How Moisturizers Work

Traditional moisturizers typically use one of three types of ingredients to moisturize the skin:

  • Emollients are ingredients that make the skin feel soft and smooth, and are designed to maintain skin condition. However, they do not improve the skin barrier. Common emollient ingredients include ceramides, oils, lipids, and fatty acids (linolenic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid).
  • Humectants are ingredients that draw moisture from the air. Common humectants include glycerin, sodium lactate, hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate.
  • Sealing agents shield the skin with a thin film or layer to protect the skin and hold moisture in. Commonly used ingredients include beeswax, dimethicone, glyceryl stearate, and lanolin.

A New Way To Moisturize

A new and much more exciting class of moisturizers are those that increase hydration and moisturization by nourishing and repairing the skin and moisture barrier.

A strong moisture barrier naturally results in better hydrated skin, by helping your skin retain its own water content - which is actually quite high on its own. Active ingredients that we’ve found effective in supporting your skin’s moisture barrier include: Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Retinoids (Vitamin A actually increases cell turnover and, contrary to common belief, increases the thickness of your skin), Vitamin C (ascorbates), Vitamin E (tocopherols, tocotrienols, fruit seed extracts), and lactic acid.

Traditional moisturizers provide a temporary solution to hydration, but require repeated daily use to be effective. In essence, they cause your skin to become addicted to using the moisturizers to maintain healthy hydration levels. Conversely, the moisturizers that support a strong and healthy skin barrier don’t require long-term use except for in the most difficult climate conditions – dry heat and extreme cold.