Soft-Skin Secrets: A Guide to Moisturizer Ingredients

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You know moisturizers come in many forms (lotions, creams, gels, and balms, to name a few), but they all fall into three basic types, explains Ron Robinson, a cosmetic chemist in NYC and founder of BeautyStat.com:

Occlusives
Likely the first kind of moisturizer you ever used (think diaper balm), these create a barrier so moisture can’t escape. (It’s like shrink-wrapping a muffin so it stays moist.) What you’ll see on the label: petrolatum, dimethicone, lanolin, mineral oil

Emollients
These softeners smooth your skin by preventing moisture loss from cells. What you’ll see on the label: keratin, ceramides, stearyl alcohol

Humectants
This type of super-moisturizer acts like a sponge, attracting water from deeper layers of skin into the top layer to boost moisture. What you’ll see on the label: hyaluronic acid, glycerin


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