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Humectant

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Updated February 12, 2014

Humectant

Definition:

Humectants are a key ingredient in moisturizers and cleansers. They benefit the skin by:

  • Attracting water from the dermis into the epidermis, increasing the water content in the epidermis
  • When humidity is higher than 70 percent, humectants can also attract water from the atmosphere into the epidermis
  • Increasing the pliability and flexibility of the skin, preventing it from cracking
  • Promoting consistent desquamation (shedding of the outer layer of skin) by degrading the corneodesmosomes that hold skin cells together
  • Reducing skin irritation caused by dry skin
  • Preventing outside chemicals from contacting the dermis.

 

Sources:

Del Rosso, James. "Cosmeceutical Moisturizers." Procedures in Cosmetic Dermatology - Cosmeceuticals. Ed. Zoe Diana Draelos. Elsevier, 2005. 99-102.

Johnson, Anthony. "The Skin Moisturizer Marketplace." Skin Moisturization. Ed. James J. Leyden and Anthony V. Rawlings. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2002. 7-16.

Rawlings, Anthony, et al. "Humectants." Skin Moisturization. Ed. James J. Leyden and Anthony V. Rawlings. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2002. 248-257.

Pronunciation: hyoo-MEK-tent - (noun)

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