Women's Health GLOW - What's in Your Moisturizer?
Soft, hydrated skin feels and looks beautiful. But what is actually in the moisturizers that make it possible?
Here’s a look at the primary components in moisturizers, the best natural sources, and the synthetic ingredients that you might want to avoid. So grab your moisturizer and let’s get started.
Emollients in moisturizers give a protective moisture barrier and help heal skin.
Natural | Plant oils are the most nourishing natural emollients. Apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, rosehip seed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and shea and cocoa butter are some of the best curative and moisturizing emollients.
Synthetic | Synthetic emollients work by forming a barrier on the skin, kind of like plastic wrap, to seal in moisture. However, these emollients don’t allow the skin to breathe and can clog pores and trap toxins, which can cause irritation and actually dehydrate the skin. They can also contain impurities from manufacturing that are anything but healthy. While synthetic emollients are generally derived from petroleum, others are silicone-based or pack synthetic alcohols.
Emulsifiers hold together substances that don’t naturally co-mingle, such as water and oil. Many moisturizers contain a balance of water-based and oil-based ingredients to maximize absorption of other ingredients.
Natural | Plant waxes are some of the most effective natural emulsifiers. Jojoba oil (which is technically a wax, not an oil), carnauba wax (derived from a tropical palm), and rice bran naturally forge an alliance between water and oil, and also condition skin.
Synthetic | Synthetic emulsifiers are typically a combination of petroleum and hydrocarbon derivatives, which is a formula probably better suited to put in your car than on your skin. Many of them are a customary cause for irritation and allergies and can be contaminated with potentially harmful compounds during manufacturing.
Humectants help the skin hydrate itself. They draw moisture from the deeper layers of the skin to the surface and attract water from the air.
Natural | Glycerin, lecithing, panthenol, and sodium PCA are some of the best natural humectants to hold hydration in the skin where it’s needed most...