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What Are Humectants in Skin Care?

by YEOUTH Team 14 May 2021 0 Comments
What Are Humectants in Skin Care?

We have all used some type of moisturizer at one time or another, whether as a cosmetic or a dermatological treatment. A moisturizer, after all, is the most prescribed dermatological product that aims to hydrate the skin and protect from dryness that causes irritations and skin aging.

Humectants are a type of moisturizer.  Moisturizers hydrate the skin to prevent dryness. The other types of moisturizers are emollients, occlusives and protein rejuvenators.  

The types of moisturizers

To moisturize is to increase the water content in the skin and to restore lost moisture. This is to prevent dry skin and improve skin function. The skin must be kept hydrated and moisturized in order to function properly.

Moisturizing also functions as a treatment for medical conditions like atopic dermatitis.  It is therefore important to choose the right moisturizers for your skin and to apply them properly in order to be able to reap their full benefits.



Occlusives are substances composed of oils and waxes that serve as skin barriers to prevent water loss and protect the skin from external elements. They function to prevent or block the evaporation of water and moisture from the skin.  Occlusives basically form a barrier to allow the replenishment of water in the skin and to trap water in.  Examples of widely used occlusives are:

  • Petrolatum - It is the most effective occlusive moisturizer, but is not generally used cosmetically because of its greasiness.
  • Beeswax
  • Mineral oil
  • Silicones
  • Lanolin
  • Zinc oxide
  • Shea Butter - It balances oil in the skin and promotes cell regeneration.¬†¬†

Our Yeouth Anti-Aging Moisturizer L22 is formulated with Shea Butter for its moisturizing and skin healing properties. The natural occurring fatty acids from shea will help you achieve a smoother, more even skin tone while helping to fade the look of hyperpigmentation and scars.



Emollients are hydrocarbons which are composed mainly of lipids and oils.  They help with skin barrier function and at improving the skin texture and appearance.  Emollients help improve the smoothness, softness and flexibility of skin, but do not really affect the water content in the skin. The more widely used emollients used in different products include the following:

  • Cholesterol
  • Squalene - These are lipids produced by our skin cells but its production is reduced by the time we reach 30 years old, thus, our skin becomes drier.¬† Squalene can also be derived from animal and plant sources.
  • Fatty acids
  • Fatty alcohols
  • Pseudo Ceramides¬†


Protein rejuvenators 

Protein rejuvenators are small molecules that help replenish essential proteins in the skin.  This results in skin rejuvenation, and in the reduction of skin aging due to photodamage.  The known protein rejuvenators in skin care are Elastin, Keratin and Collagen.

Collagen is a protein consisting of amino acids that contain carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.  Increased collagen levels result in more skin elasticity and improved skin hydration.

Yeouth formulated the dietary supplement Regenotin Advanced Collagen Generator, a patented choline-stabilized formulation of orthosilicic acid (OSA). Through a protected process, Regenotin allows silica to be absorbed, and when you maintain good silica levels, your skin will stay supple, nails will harden, and hair will look fuller.  It is clinically proven to increase collagen levels and reduce wrinkle depth and skin roughness by 30%. At the same time, it promotes keratin and elastin formation to improve skin elasticity.



Humectants are compounds with low molecular weight that attract water to the skin from the environment, and also from the inner layers of the skin.  Aside from attracting water, humectants also bind water to the skin, thereby keeping the skin moisturized, plump and hydrated.

Most of the humectants contain emollient properties. Water content in the skin increases with the use of a moisturizer that contains humectants.  Humectants are usually combined with other compounds and substances to maximize water retention needed in the skin.  

These are the various humectants used in skin care:

  • Glycerin
  • Sodium pyrrolidine carboxylic acid
  • Propylene glycol and Butylene glycol
  • Urea
  • Panthenol
  • Aluminum lactate and Sodium lactate
  • Gelatin
  • Sorbitol
  • Honey
  • Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) - AHAs are water-soluble acids and molecules that can be sourced from various natural products that aid in dermatological diseases and are effective skincare treatments.¬† AHAs are widely used¬† for their exfoliating effects.
  • Hyaluronic Acid - It is a superstar ingredient used in skincare known for its hydrating properties.¬†


Our Pure Hyaluronic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid Plus and Day / Night Cream are full of Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate thirsty skin!


Skin benefits of humectants

Exfoliation of old surface skin cells

Exfoliation allows the elimination of dead skin cells to reveal a younger-looking, smoother and healthier skin.  Exfoliation paves the way for other skincare ingredients to perform their work more effectively on the skin.


Increases skin hydration

The skin must be infused with water and kept hydrated to function properly.  Aside from drinking lots of fluids that the body needs, skin rehydration with the use of cosmetic products also works to protect the skin. Dehydration results in dry skin and the loss of skin elasticity.  It is very important that the skin’s moisture levels are retained to help plump up the appearance of dry and aged skin.


Minimize dryness and flakiness

Dull and dry skin can be reversed with the use of humectants. Glow, vibrance and skin integrity are restored.  Healthier, smoother and a more plump looking skin can be revived with exfoliation by sloughing away dry, flaky skin and locking in moisture with the proper humectant.



Natural humectants vs synthetic humectants

Some humectants being used in skincare products derive water from the inside layers of skin but fail to replenish the loss of water in the skin.  They only provide temporary hydration because the skin becomes dry once the water in the skin surface evaporates. 

Synthetic humectants are cheaper and do not provide sustained hydration to the skin.  Some of the synthetic humectants used in skin care include: urea, silicones, and propylene glycol.  Our Yeouth products and formulations do not contain these ingredients.

However, not all synthetic ingredients used for skincare harm the skin. Some provide more benefits than harmful side effects.



Natural humectants sustain the hydration and moisture levels of the skin not only on the surface but in the inner skin layers as well.  This keeps the skin hydrated regularly to avoid dryness and minimize rapid skin aging.

The natural humectants that are best used for skin care include aloe vera, glycerin, honey, AHAs, salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid. 

We should always remember that it is still best to sustain the body and skin’s natural moisture levels by drinking lots of water and other liquids!  We cannot simply rely on the moisturizing and hydrating effects of skin care ingredients and products to keep our bodies and our skin healthy and hydrated!


Natural humectants that are best for skin care


1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera provides a plethora of skin benefits.  It improves skin hydration because of its humectant component. Aloe vera is scientifically proven to retain moisture in the skin, help heal wounds and is also widely used for various medicinal purposes. Additionally, aloe vera increases the production of collagen in the skin. This makes the skin more elastic which helps to reduce wrinkles.


Our newest formulation the Niacinamide Serum not only contains Hyaluronic Acid but also Aloe Vera.  With these two natural humectant ingredients, you can now achieve healthy skin hydration for a complexion that is poreless, soft & dewy!  


Aloe vera is an important ingredient formulated in our Yeouth products!  Our Vitamin C Facial Cleanser, Retinol Serum, our newest formulation Niacinamide Serum and our Dead Sea Mud Mask all contain aloe vera.  That is how essential and beneficial aloe vera is in skin care.


2. Glycerin

Glycerin is one of the major ingredients used in skin care.  It provides maximum hydration to the outermost layer of the skin, and it aids in how the skin barrier properly functions.  Glycerin is derived from animal fats and or vegetable oils and also from artificial sources.  It lubricates the skin, makes it soft and improves skin texture.

It functions to draw water into the skin from the nearest source, which is the inner layers of the skin itself.  Sometimes, this also causes skin dehydration when the water that is lost is not replenished.  That is why glycerin is usually formulated with some occlusives to sustain the loss of water in the inner skin layers, to ensure that the skin is hydrated all the time.

It was discovered that when glycerin is combined with Hyaluronic acid and Centenella asiatica,  skin hydration is significantly improved for up to 24 hours and skin barrier function is improved. 

3. Honey

Honey is a bee-derived solution that contains vitamins, proteins, minerals, enzymes and other components to keep the skin young-looking and to reduce the formation of wrinkles.  It is widely used to treat dry skin, and provide deeper hydration into the skin and not just surface hydration.  

Honey is a rich source of AHA that provides gentle exfoliation, which then helps the skin better absorb moisture on a deeper level.  It holds onto water instantly and locks it into the skin.  Even better, honey does not leave any greasy or oily effects on the skin.



4. AHAs

AHAs are used as chemical exfoliators.  They are sourced from natural products and are known for their exfoliating effects.  AHAs include the following acid compounds: 

  • Lactic Acid - fermented milk products¬†
  • Citric Acid - citrus fruits¬†
  • Mandelic Acid - bitter almonds
  • Glycolic Acid - sugarcane¬†
  • Tartaric Acid - fermented grapes
  • Malic Acid - apples¬†

AHAs are great anti-aging ingredients used in skin care.  They are classified according to the strength or concentration of their acid content when used or applied to the skin.  As exfoliators, they encourage cell regeneration and skin cell turnover to reveal a smoother and younger looking skin without the signs of aging. 

5. Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is derived from the barks of willow trees and is considered a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHAs). BHAs are oil soluble acids that are sourced from natural products and used as chemical exfoliators.

Salicylic acid is known for its exfoliating effects while retaining moisture in the skin.  It gently slough off dead skin cells that clog the pores. Salicylic acid decongests pores of excess oils, bacteria and other harmful substances which make it an effective treatment against acne and breakouts.


Our Yeouth Salicylic Acid Gel Peel effectively dissolves dirt and oil trapped in the pores that cause acne, whiteheads, and blackheads, and it supports healthy collagen production.  Our Balancing Facial Toner likewise contains Allantoin which is a known humectant that holds top skin cells together!

6. Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acids are compounds found in our bodies, more particularly in the skin. Hyaluronic acid is a moisture-binding ingredient that lubricates and helps the skin retain water, keeping it healthy, plump, and hydrated. It absorbs and holds moisture in the skin while preserving its elasticity and firmness because of its moisture retention properties.

Hyaluronic acid is Yeouth’s favorite skincare ingredient and is found in twelve of our Yeouth formulations!  Hyaluronic acid is an essential formulation of our serums.

This super ingredient is also found in our moisturizers and creams, Retinol Eye Cream,  Day / Night Cream, Hyaluronic Acid Cream, and also in our Retinol Moisturizer, all because of its hydrating powers that are essential in highly formulated skin care products. Our Radiance Eye Gel and the Yeouth Dead Sea Mud Mask cannot work properly without hyaluronic acid!

That is how powerful and effective hyaluronic acid is as a humectant.  It is the most hydrating ingredient in the beauty market right now! 

The takeaway

Humectants are necessary for proper skin care, especially natural humectants which have minimal side effects on our skin and bodies.  They are indispensable and essential components and ingredients to make skin care products work effectively and properly.  They help moisturize and hydrate our skin to fight dryness and prevent and minimize the signs of aging we try to prevent or avoid like wrinkles, fine lines, sagging and so on.

You can safely use humectants in your skincare routines to enhance skin’s moisture levels for your healthiest skin ever!


Complete Anti-Aging Skincare System  ($79.95)

Our Yeouth complete set of anti-aging systems are carefully formulated with the highest quality medical grade ingredients.  Formulated to hydrate and moisturize skin, fill fine lines and wrinkles, even skin tone, and reduce crow’s feet, bags and puffiness around the eyes.  All of these products contain the natural humectants your skin needs! 

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