What does moisturizer do, what does it contain? Which Moisturizing Cream is good for which skin type?
the ingredients of Moisturizing Cream can be divided into 3 basic categories:
1. Humectant: attracts moisture from the air to the skin. they are a must-have ingredient for a moisturizing product, but they are not preferred to be applied alone due to their sticky feeling. they have a water-like structure and are absorbed by the skin in a short time. They work well if you live in an area with high humidity, but if you live in an area with very low humidity or when the humidity drops during the winter months, they can damage the skin by trying to take the moisture that needs to be bound from the lower layers of the skin when it cannot get the moisture from the air.
In such cases, it may be healthier to use products that act as both emolient and occlusive. some of the commonly used humectants: (natural ones) aloe vera extract, honey, glycerin, aha (alpha hydroxy acids), hyaluronic acid, (synthetic ones) panthenol, propylene glycol, urea, sodium pca, etc.
2. Occlusive: a substance that forms a barrier on the skin to prevent the moisture drawn into the skin from the air by humectants from evaporating back into the skin. Large molecule occlusives stay on the skin longer than small molecules and trap moisture better. However, the structure of large molecules can feel more dense and can leave the skin feeling heavy and oily, so they should be used in small quantities. In addition to retaining moisture, the barrier they create prevents environmental toxins from penetrating the skin and being absorbed into its further layers. some of the commonly used occlusives are: beeswax, cocoa butter, lanolin, petroleum, mineral oil, etc. petrolatum is an occlusive.
3. Emollient (emollient): fills the spaces between the cells in the skin and softens the skin, giving it a feeling of smoothness. they can be included in moisturizers or sold as a stand-alone emollient because of how they feel. they are generally lightweight oil-based substances. common emollients: almond oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, etc.
Some substances can do double duty. for example, substances such as lanolin, petroleum, mineral oil, dimethicone, silicone are both emollients and occlusive.
Moisturizing Cream suitable for oily and/or acne-prone skin contain no or very few occlusive or emollients. since these substances will clog pores, they cause more oil to accumulate on the skin and increase acne formation. since the oil produced by the skin itself will prevent moisture from evaporating, the ingredients are mostly humectants. therefore moisturizers sold for oily skin are transparent, water-like or gel-like and leave a sticky feeling after application.
Emolients and occlusives are very important for dry skin, sensitive skin, mature skin or those who use anti-aging products. they provide the barrier needed for the skin to repair itself. this is why vaseline, the most popular, is used in cases where the skin is damaged by rubbing against the skin, such as diaper rash. it is necessary for the treatment of inflammation.
When occlusives are applied after serums with various properties, they force the serum ingredients to be absorbed by the skin. this is called slugging the skin or slug.
Argan oil is widely used and advertised as an emollient in moisturizers because it also has a skin repairing effect. olive oil, on the other hand, is an oil that is not preferred because the oleic acid in it creates small holes in the skin.
Moisturizing Cream are made up of various combinations of different ingredients depending on the skin type and/or the problems they aim to solve. one of the points to be aware of is that even if the ingredients on the products sound good (for example, argan oil), if they are at the bottom of the ingredient list and synthetic substances such as dimethicone, paraffin, petroleum are at the top, the moisture retention is largely provided by these substances. The reason why argan oil is added is to attract customers. this is usually done by cheap brands. in this way, the ingredient list can give information about whether the product deserves its price.