I can’t live without it-Period! Moisturizers have become so very important in our lives today that they don’t seem like beauty products any more– they’re more like health products, one which protect our skin health.
But, do we know what goes inside that whipped cream or lotion, making our moisturizers indispensable? Here are five key ingredients present in our hydrators (there are more besides these; we’ll talk about them in Part II of this series):
- Water/ Aqua – It’s hard to imagine water as a solvent but in moisturizers water or aqua is a cosmetic ingredient used as a solvent. It works as a spreading agent helping the moisturizing ingredients to evenly distribute over the skin surface. Since water has no impurities it is perfect.
- Glycerin – This is a sugar alcohol that comes from natural sources and can also be produced synthetically. In moisturizers, it is used as a humectant thereby attracting moisture from the environment as well as the epidermis. However people with eczema, atopic dermatitis or very sensitive skin should avoid using a moisturizer with glycerin as it could cause allergic reactions or boost skin dryness.
- Mineral Oil – This is used as an Occlusive in hydrating products. Occlusives are meant to increase the water content of the skin and reduce the evaporation of water from the skin surface. The favorable texture of this ingredient makes it a good occlusive. Some misconceptions associated with mineral oil are that they can be carcinogenic, cause premature aging, prevent collagen absorption and even cause acne. But the FDA has approved use of mineral oil in cosmetics since mineral oil has no resemblance with petroleum from which it is derived. Mineral oil is non- irritating, soothing and is completely safe to use. Unless you have very oily skin there shouldn’t be a need to avoid mineral oil containing moisturizers.
- Lanolin – Lanolin is normally obtained from sheep and is the grease that is secreted by the sebaceous glands of these woolly animals. Lanolin is used both as an occlusive and emollient helping to provide intense moisturization to the skin and trap the water within the skin. There were concerns regarding the use of lanolin in moisturizers since it comes from animals. However pure lanolin has been approved for use by the FDA. Lanolin may cause skin irritation in some cases.
- Stearic acid – This ingredient acts as an emulsifying agent in moisturizers. It is derived from a naturally occurring fatty acid and may be derived from animals. However it can also be obtained from vegetable fat and coconut. The FDA rates stearic acid as safe for use in moisturizers as it is potentially non toxic and is not seen to be carcinogenic in humans.
When shopping off the beauty aisles for your next moisturizer – read the label, the ingredients, be an empowered consumer and buy right. Cheers to soft, supple, hydrated skin!