The Skin, Moisturizers

Another basic skin care product that I can guarantee all of my readers have in their bathroom right now is a moisturizer. There are all sorts of moisturizers, from ones formulated for the body, the feet, the hands, your cuticles and face to the eye area. All of them work on the same principles, but they are formulated to provide the best performance in that particular body area.

Quick, go and check out the Epidermis Post again.

Why the body needs moisture
The body's "waterproofing" mostly consists of that lipid in between the cornified cells. There are quite a few different kinds of lipids in this layer including cholesterol (25%), free fatty acids (10-15%), ceramids (40%) and the rest is triglycerides, stearyl esters, and cholesterol sulfate. Some have suggested that the balance of all these particular lipids within the epidermis is very important for the function of the cells of the epidermis. All of these lipids are made by the cells of the epidermis as they move upwards through the epidermis, stored in the cells in little packets and then released out into the space between the cells. After release, a lot of the lipids are transformed through chemical reactions into slightly different lipids, and disruption of this process can harm the barrier function of the skin and lead to water loss.

Studies have shown though, that you can have all of the lipids in the world, but without a bit of moisture the skin loses its pliability, and becomes dry, hard and scaly. Within the epidermis (which is about 30% water), the water content is lower closer to the surface and about 1/3 of this water is within the lipid layer. The water is very important for the health of the epidermis, which needs to protect itself against water loss to the environment.

Types of Moisturizers
I've already mentioned some of these moisturizers with brief explanations in the past, but we'll go into what these are and their most common examples in more detail now.

Moisturizers basically help to trap, attract and redistribute moisture within the epidermis and most importantly within the cornified layer. By creating a temporary barrier, the skin below is allowed to take care of all this on its own. As this happens, the cells within the cornified layer and the layer itself will swell, creating the feeling of smoother skin.

Humectants are great little things that attract moisture, helping to transfer water from the dermis into the epidermis. When the humidity is greater than 70-80% the humidity can even be pulled out of the air. However, there must be a balance, because humectants can also result in too much water loss from the dermis, into the epidermis and then out of the skin. When this happens, there is a feeling of tightness and dryness to the skin.

Acetamide MEA
Ammonium lactate
Arginine PCA
Butylenes glycol
Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Copper PCA
Corn glycerides
Diglycereth-7 malate
Dimethyl imidazolidinone
Glucuronic acid
GlucuronolactoneGlutamic acidGlycereth-12
Honey extract
Hylauronic acid
Hydrololyzed wheat starch
Hydroxyethyl sorbitol
Lactic acid
Mineral oil
Polyglucuronic acid
Propylene glycerol
Saccharide hydrolysate
Sea salt
Seasame amino acids
Sodium aspartate
Sodium lactate
Sodium malate
Sodium PCA
Sodium polyaspartate
Triglycereth-7 citrate

Emollients are very interesting moisturizers. They typically are water that has been mixed into a lipid, and the lipid can actually replace any areas of missing lipid within the cornified layer! As well, they provide an occlussive barrier, and allow the skin beneath to adjuct moisture levels on its own. The spreadability of an emollient often determines its application, whether it is an eye cream or a body cream for example.

Acetylated lanolin
Acetyl trihexyl citrate
Avocado sterols
Butyl myristate
C 14-15 alcohols
C 12-13 alkyl ethylhexonoate
Caprylyl glycol
Castor oil
Cetyl acetate
C 14-16 glycol palmitate
C 12-20 isoparaffin
Decyl oleate
Diethylhexyl adipate
Diethylhexyl malate
Diisodecyl adipate
Diisopropyl dilinoleate
Dimethicone copolyol
Dipropyl adipate
Ethylhexyl palmitate
Ethyl linoleate
Glyceryl dioleate
Glyceryl ricinoleate
Glyceryl stearates
Glycol palmitate (palm oil)
Glycine Soja (soybean oil)
Glycol stearate
Helianthus Annuus (sunflower) Seed oil
Hexyl laurate
Isocetyl alcohol
Isodecyl steararate
Isohexyl palmitate
Isopropyl isostearate
Isopropyl myristate
Isopropyl palmitate
Isosteryl alcohol
Jojoba oil
Methyl palmitate
Myristyl propionate
Octyl octanoate
Octyl stearate
PEG-4 lanolate
PEG-5 tristearyl citrate
PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate
Polyglyceryl-6 oleate
Plyclycerol-2 triisosterate
PPG-20 cetyl ether
PPG-4 laureth-2
Propylene glycol linoleate
Sucrose oleate
Sunflower seed oil glycerides
Tall oil glycerides
Tridycyl stearate
Wheat germ glycerides

Occlusives may be the oldest form of moisturizer, and lanolin was one of the first used. Petrolatum is very commonly used today. Obviously, what they do is provide an occlusive barrier over the skin, helping the moisture within the skin to stay there and redistribute itself. Most occlusives also act as emolliants.

Acetylated Castor Oil
Acetylated lanolin alcohol
Behenyl isosterate
Canola oil
Caprylic/capric triglyceride
Cetearyl methicone
Cetyl ricinoleate
Cholesteryl oleate
Decyl myristate
Disteryl ether
Glycol dioleate
Hexyldecyl isostearate
Hydrogenated castor oil
Hydrogenated lanolin
Isocetyl myristate
Lanolin linoleate
Lauryl Cocoate
Mineral oil- very frequently used due to it’s pleasant texture
Myristyl myrisstate
Neatsfool oil
Octyldodecyl stearate
Oleyl linoleate
Palm kernal wax
Petaerythrityl tetracocoate
Propylene glycol dioleate
Shark liver oil
Soybean lipid
Stearyl stearate
Tall oil
Trihexyldecyl citrate
Vegetable Oil

Other Ingredients
Obviously, in order to make a stable lotion ready for sale you need other ingredients.
Emulsifier: Helps to keep the ingredients mixed together well.
Preservatives: Again, we don't want bacteria to grow in our product.
Fragrance: This one should be obvious, but you should know that if you are sensitive to anything in a lotion, the fragrance is pretty high on the list of things for people to react to.

Things to avoid
If you have sensitive skin (meaning, you break out in a rash, not that you decided its sensitive) you might want to avoid these ingredients that are more likely to cause you problems.

Irritating Ingredients
Cinnamic aldehyde
Benzyl salicylate
Balsam of Peru
Lemon oil
Methyl heptane carbonate
Methyl anisate
Jasmine oil
Cananga oil
Ylang-ylang oil
Balsam of tolu
Bergamot oil
Lavender oil
Cedar wood oil
Neroli oil
Petigrain oil
Essential oils
Almond oil
Sesame oil
Olive oil
Corn oil
Peach kernel oil
Peanut oil
Imidazolidinyl urea
Sorbic acid
Stearamido diethylamine
Vitamin E
Sulfated alcohols
Sodium lauryl sulphate
Phenylmercuric acetate
Alcohol or SD-alcohol followed by a number (Exceptions: Ingredients like cetyl alcohol or stearyl alcohol are thickening agents)
Citrus juices and oils
Excessive fragrance
Sodium lauryl sulfate

Using Moisturizers
It should be obvious to you by now that you should definitely be using a moisturizer, whether your facial skin is dry or oily, you likely need a moisturizer somewhere on your body. Keeping your skin moist helps with the skins suppleness, keeps you looking young, and most importantly maintains the barrier function of the skin.

Note that dry skin can not be helped by eating more oily foods or drinking more water (did you think it was selectively going to your skin?), and it can be made worse by bathing too often, using harsh soaps, and low humidity in the environment.

Notice that none of the above moisturizer types took moisture and just put it into each cell in your skin. Emollients have water mixed with them, which is the closest that you come! Moisturizers typically help with the water you already have in the skin, by creating a barrier and reducing water loss which then in turn allows water to relocate from the dermis and into the epidermis. So, the best way to get the most out of your moisturizer is to use it when you have the most water in your skin, which is right after cleaning! Try to seal in and keep any moisture in the skin by applying lotion less than 3 minutes after bathing (this is the time when the epidermal water loss is starting), so you can keep that moisture in the skin. Don't apply too often (remember that bit about humectants working against you and increasing water loss?), but in cases of very dry skin you might want to consider a very occlusive moisturizer that you use extremely often.

Note that your skin also does not enter a "reconstruction" or "healing" mode at night. The skin acts exactly the same while you are asleep as it did during the day. Therefore, you really don't need a different night cream. Having said that, your day cream should have sunscreen, but the night is a great time to take advantage of not being seen in public or having to wear makeup, so that's a great time to take advantage and have special ingredients in a thicker cream!

Product Reviews:
Bioelements Cremetherapy Mask
Olay Regenerist UV Defense Regenerating Lotion- SPF 15
Olay Deep Hydration Regenerating Cream
Bioelements Sleepwear
Skin MD Natural Moisturizer
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer
Kiehl's Light Nourishing Eye Cream
Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Become Age Resistant Rejuvenating Hand Cream
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Gloves in a Bottle


  1. I agree with what you have written. Your site is very informative.

    Squalene Lady

    Shark Liver Oil

  2. Thanks for sharing this great information! Very helpful! :D


I love comments! Please ask away, provide info on how you liked something, etc. Note that spam, comments with random links (which I count as spam), anything not in english (again, spam) and comments that are completely unrelated to anything will all be deleted.

Never miss a post
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...