Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Moisturizing Your Skin: The Terminology

Emoillient, Humectant....what does it all mean to you? Maybe a slightly better way to put that, what does it mean for you skin? You hear those words thrown around a lot when referring to skin care products, but how many of you actually know their definitions or can give an example of one?

Let's start with Humectant. A simple, straight-forward answer: a substance used in cosmetics (and food) products to help retain moisture. These substances actually absorb the water from the air and hold the moisture in the skin. They are also very useful in skin care products for softening thickened or scaly skin. It goes to reason then, that for a humectant to be effective, it needs high humidity levels. Honey and glycerin are two examples of natural humectants.

Emollients are subtances that soothe and soften the skin. Sometimes the word "moisturizer" and "emollient" are used interchangably. However to be more correct, the term emollient should be used to identify individual ingredients and the term moisturizer should be used to describe the end (finished) product. For a substance to be considered an emoillient, it must do two things: 1)Prevent dryness and 2)protect the skin by acting as a barrier. Believe it or not, water is actually the best emollient. However, it evaporates too quickly to be effective. Natural emollients are metabloized by the skins own enzymes and are absorbed into it. They are also readily biodegradable and are of edible quality. Some natural emollients are avocado, shea and cocoa butters.

Check back tomorrow to lean how to choose a moisturizer that best suits your skin type.


  1. Hey Muddy Moose -

    I have a question. I am currently in love with Philosophy's Hope in Jar. And I mean, in love. I would love to switch to a homemade facial moisturizer, but am scared to death to switch. Any suggestions?


  2. Hmm...let me do a little research and see what I can come up with. I'll get back to you. I'm not familiar enough with that particular product to be able to suggest a natural alternative. But I will look into it!