Humectants and Moisturizers: What’s the Difference?

These are two terms that you’ve likely come across when searching for anti-aging skincare products, but may not have been familiar with their true definitions. Although they might at first seem interchangeable, there are a few notable differences between humectants and moisturizers and what each does for your skin. While they can both be beneficial for a number of reasons, it can be helpful to understand how each works and when and why you might want to include these ingredients in your skincare regimen.

 

 

What Are Humectants?

Humectants are substances that absorb water from the air or underlying layers of the skin and draw those molecules toward the surface of the skin.

Humectants are substances that absorb water from the air or underlying layers of the skin and draw those molecules toward the surface of the skin.

Humectants are substances that absorb water from the air or underlying layers of the skin and draw those molecules toward the surface of the skin. This allows the skin to retain moisture and may also help other topical skincare ingredients to perform better.

Some examples of skincare ingredients that act as humectants include:

  • Aloe vera
  • Amino acids
  • Fatty acids
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Glycerol

What Are Moisturizers?

Moisturizers differ from humectants in that their primary function is to smooth and soften the outer layer of skin by increasing its water content.

Moisturizers differ from humectants in that their primary function is to smooth and soften the outer layer of skin by increasing its water content.

Although quite similar, moisturizers differ from humectants in that their primary function is to smooth and soften the outer layer of skin by increasing its water content. This results in the more pliable, less flaky texture that many women and men look for when using a hand, body or facial moisturizer. These substances may also help to prevent the evaporation of water molecules from the skin’s surface, thus prolonging their effects.

Some examples of moisturizing ingredients include:

  • Shea butter
  • Cocoa butter
  • Jojoba oil
  • Grape seed oil

Which Does Your Skin Need?

Triglyceride, which is comprised of glycerol and three fatty acids, is an example of a humectant in this formula.

Triglyceride, which is comprised of glycerol and three fatty acids, is an example of a humectant in this formula.

The best approach to hydrating your skin is to use a combination of humectants and moisturizers in your daily skincare routine. Many anti-aging products may contain one without the other, so it’s important to read the ingredients of a particular product to determine what kind of hydrating agents are included.

Daily Treatment Cream EYE by skinbetter science contains a lavish blend of humectants and moisturizers to help diminish dryness and lock in moisture in the eye area. Triglyceride, which is comprised of glycerol and three fatty acids, is an example of a humectant in this formula, and jojoba esters and cetearyl alcohol work as moisturizers. Jojoba esters are very similar to the natural oils of human skin, making it an excellent moisturizing ingredient that won’t clog pores or lead to skin irritation.

Similarly, skinbetter science AlphaRet™ Overnight Cream FACE and AlphaRet™ Intensive Overnight Cream FACE utilize a blend of humectants and moisturizers to help hydrate and smooth the skin. Squalane, niacinamide, ceramides and fatty acids help to provide deep moisture, while alpha hydroxy acids serve dual purposes as humectants and anti-aging ingredients. This proprietary and revolutionary formula combines a retinoid with lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, to assist in minimizing the appearance of lines, wrinkles, uneven skin texture and discoloration without leading to skin irritation.

In Summary

Humectants and moisturizers are important ingredients in anti-aging skincare, as skin dehydration and flaking can worsen the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. When combined in the perfect blend, however, humectants and moisturizers can help the skin to retain moisture and a smooth, soft look and feel for a complexion that appears more youthful, supple, and radiant.

If you’re interested in learning more about skinbetter science anti-aging products or how to purchase them, find a professional in your area to assist you. These products are only available through specialized physicians.

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