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Humectants Skin Benefits (The Multi Secret Ingredient)

November 18, 2023

Humectants Skin Benefits (The Multi Secret Ingredient)

The humectants draw moisture from the deeper layers of your skin and even from the surrounding environment when the humidity is above 70%.

Your skincare routine will be complete when you incorporate products with humectants because your skin will become softer and more hydrated. It also functions as a barrier to improve your skin texture. Therefore, it makes itself a versatile addition to your daily regimen. 

It's now time to find out about humectants.

Fast Facts

Definition Humectants are water-attracting ingredients that draw and bind moisture into the skin to keep it hydrated.
Potential Benefits Effective hydration, strengthening skin barrier, relief for dry skin, promotes wound healing
Drawbacks May potentially increase dryness in very low humidity environments
Recommended Usage Best used in preformulated skincare products, beneficial for various skin types, including oily skin
Precautions Use in combination with other moisturizing ingredients, be cautious in extremely dry environments
Works Well With Emollients and occlusives in skincare routines, suitable for all skin types

What Are Humectants?

Unique ingredients in Humectant attract and bind the water to your skin, keeping it moist, soft, and supple. Imagine the skin that not only retains its moisture but also attracts moisture from its surrounding environment. 

That's precisely what humectants do.

Humectants skin benefits

Here's what humectants can do for your skin:

Strengthen the Skin Barrier

The outermost layer of your skin, the stratum corneum, is a protective barrier. It decreases the rate of water evaporation from your skin and protects it from pathogens. 

Urea, known as a potent humectant, can enhance the stratum corneum and increase the hydration of the skin barrier. Hence, it proves an excellent ingredient for dry skin, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

Ease Keratosis

Humectants can be helpful for conditions such as hyperkeratosis. It causes thickened skin, especially on the feet. Humectants remove scales, increase skin hydration, and reduce hyperkeratosis.

Reduce Dry Skin

Dry skin becomes familiar with age. Numerous experiments have proven the effectiveness of leave-on products containing lipophilic humectants. It happens especially in older adults above 50 to counter flaky skin and itching.

Stimulate Wound Healing

A well-known humectant is hyaluronic acid, which could speed up the healing process and minimize scars. It accomplishes this by stimulating the growth of new blood vessels and the formation of fibroblasts, which is vital for collagen production and tissue repair.

Types of Humectants

Here's a quick look at the types of humectants:

  • Glycerin: A clear liquid found in both the human body and plants. Glycerin is a superstar humectant that effectively locks in moisture.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: This sugar molecule is a skin savior, naturally occurring in our bodies. It keeps our tissues cushioned and lubricated. It's also found in joints and connective tissues. In skincare products, it's often called sodium hyaluronate.
  • Urea: Urea is an invisible crystallized compound that is part of your skin's NMF that keeps moisture in your skin. It can also synthesized for use in skincare products.
  • Sorbitol: It is a natural sugar naturally occurring in plants and fruits.
  • Propylene Glycol: A colorless synthetic liquid is used in various products.
  • Honey: Natural delicacy and excellent Humectant.

Products Containing Humectants

You can find humectants in a wide range of skincare and hair care products, including:

  • Face Washes: Try and use mild facial cleansers with humectants. It allows your skin to maintain moisture while cleansing.
  • Face SerumsSerums generally contain higher quantities of hydrating humectants.
  • Moisturizers and Lotions: They are a staple in any skincare regime and for a reason. They seal the moisture in your skin and keep it smooth and plump.
  • Face Masks: Use facemasks with humectants for an additional dose of hydration as well as a spa feel.
  • Shampoos and Conditioners: Humectants work well not only on your skin; they do good magic for your hair, too. Go for shampoos and conditioners that nourish your locks.
  • Lip BalmsRemember your lips! The humectants make your pout soft and kissable.
  • Nail Care Products: Even nails can enjoy the effects of humectants. Make them healthy and hydrated by using suitable products.

Humectants vs. Emollients and Occlusives: What's the Difference?

Humectants are suitable for attracting moisture, but it is not the end of the game in skin care. There are also emollients and occlusives.

Let's take a closer look at how they compare:

  • Emollients: Some ingredients, like natural oils and waxes, are directed towards softening the skin. They make your skin soft, moistened, smooth, and flexible. People searching for more moisture will find that emollients are excellent. However, they are on the heavier side.
  • Occlusives: Unlike the Humectant, which, on the other side, creates a barrier in the top layer of your skin. This barrier keeps the moisture from evaporating to keep your skin hydrated so as not to dry out and develop eczema.

Therefore, which one is better for you? It depends on your skin type.

Those with oily skin may opt for lighter, non-oily humectants. However, to have healthy skin, you require a combination of a humectant, emollient, and occlusive.

Are humectants bad for the skin?

Humectants are not harmful to the skin, but their impact can vary depending on environmental conditions and individual skin type. Humectants are water-attracting ingredients that draw moisture into the skin. Therefore, it is beneficial for keeping the skin hydrated.

However, in dehydrated environments with low humidity, humectants can draw moisture from the skin since there is little moisture in the air. It could lead to increased skin dryness in such conditions.

It's important to note that the potential drawbacks of humectants in dry environments are relatively minor compared to their benefits. Humectants are essential for effective moisturization, especially for those with dry skin.

Even in dry environments, when combined with other moisturizing ingredients like occlusives and emollients, humectants can provide valuable hydration and overall skin benefits.


What is the main function of humectants?

The main function of humectants is to attract and bind water. In skincare, they draw moisture into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated and prevent dryness.

What is the most effective Humectant?

Hyaluronic acid is the most effective Humectant. It is a sugar molecule naturally found in the body, known for its exceptional water-attracting properties.

What are the disadvantages of humectants?

Humectants can draw moisture from the skin in dry environments with low humidity. It could lead to increased skin dryness in such conditions.

Is Humectant good for oily skin?

Humectants are suitable for oily skin. Oily skin can still benefit from hydration, and humectants provide moisture without adding heaviness or oiliness.

Final Thoughts

Humectants are skincare heroes, drawing moisture into your skin and making it look and feel incredible.

With their ability to fortify your skin barrier, provide relief against various skin conditions, moisture lessening, and wound healingyou cannot miss your skincare arsenal without them.