When we think of moisturising the first thing that comes to mind is the tube sitting on your dressing table. It is hard to think of a skincare routine without our all time favourite moisturiser. It works to keep our skin nourished and hydrated through one of its key players - Emollients! Emollients are a type of moisturiser that are used to hydrate skin by trapping water inside. Read on to learn all about them!
What are Emollients? What is their role in our skincare routine? How are they different from humectants?
Emollients form a layer on the skin to prevent water loss, thus allowing the skin to repair itself. Its fatty and oil rich contents lubricates the skin making it soft and smooth. Often they are used in skincare and cosmetics to give the products a smooth and silky texture, thicken their consistency and leave a type of film on the surface of your skin. It is an integral part of skincare as it helps to:
1. Reduces dryness
The main benefit of Emollients is its ability to trap in water helps to prevent moisture loss without allowing it to evaporate into the environment. This helps to reduce dryness and strengthen the skin’s barrier.
2. Soothes irritated skin
Emollients have the ability to comfort the skin and reduce inflammation. They help to treat flaking, scaly skin, rough texture and itchiness.
3. Anti ageing
Unmoisturised, dry skin can accelerate the ageing process as it loses the elasticity to bounce back after stretching. Applying Emollients can balance the moisture levels and make the face look plump, reducing signs of ageing.
4. Treats medical conditions like Eczema
Eczema is a common skin condition that leaves the skin with inflamed, red patches. It makes the skin bumpy and causes intense itching. Other conditions like Psoriasis are caused by the excess build up of skin cells and demonstrated symptoms similar to Eczema. Emollients can prevent dryness thus helping to protect the skin from irritants that cause itching and flare ups.
5. Prep skin for makeup
Due to its rich and creamy texture, Emollients make great products to prep your face before starting your makeup routine. They leave a thin film on the surface of the skin giving you the perfect canvas to apply products.
Humectants on the other hand, act by drawing water into the skin, when it is humid they attract water from the environment and when it is dry they draw water from layers beneath the skin. Their main job is to bring water to the surface of the skin from both ends. While Humectants attract water molecules like magnets, it is important to prevent this water from evaporating immediately into the air and that is where Emollients come to play.
What are the different types of emollients?
There are many different types of Emollients you can find. You can apply them about three to four times a day by using the right amounts. However, longer acting Emollients can be used twice. The Emollient you choose depends on how your skin feels after application. Read on to learn more about them:
This contains Oleic Acid that makes oils richer and heavier making them perfect for night creams along with Linoleic Acid perfect for those with oily, acne prone skin. We recommend Etsley Argan Oil Facial Serum With Silver Flakes - Skin Repair to improve skin cell regeneration, unclog pores, treat redness, sunburns, irritations, reduce dark spots and reduce visible signs of aging.
his is a great Emollient to turn to if you have a broken skin barrier as it is quick to repair and restore damaged skin. It contains Saturated Fats, Vitamin E, essential Amino Acids. Though they are lightweight they can be highly comedogenic. This makes it perfect for those with excessive dry skin or to use on thicker skin as found on the body. However, it should be avoided by those with acne prone or sensitive skin. Try the Petal Fresh Smoothing Coconut Body Butter with its rich, creamy formula and of Certified Organic Argan Oil and Shea Butter extract to leave your skin feeling silky smooth to the touch.
It is formed by pressing the seeds of a shrub rich in restorative properties. Rich in Fatty Acids and known to soothe the skin. Skog Jojoba Oil is rich in vitamins and minerals including antioxidants, Vitamin E, A and D. It also contains the minerals and Omega Fatty acids.
Its lightweight and hypoallergenic properties make it a great choice for those with sensitive skin. It is quick to absorb and works to soothe and soften the skin. The Swisse Hyaluro Natural Skin & Facial Hydration Serum with Senna Plant Extract & Almond Oil delivers intense and immediate hydration making it a great natural botanical Emollient.
1. Cocoa and Shea
Both Shea and Cocoa butter contain Fatty acids and antioxidants that provide immediate relief for dry and irritated skin. They help to heal rashes and inflammation. The only difference between the two, apart from the way they are extracted and other aesthetic properties is that Cocoa can clog the pores while Shea is non - comedogenic. The Arata Moisturising Body Lotion for Dry Skin with Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter & Coconut Oil presents the perfect blend of both to deeply nourish the skin.
It has the perfect consistency to coat the skin and prevent Transepidermal Water Loss. Commonly found in chapstick and other products to prevent skin from cracking in harsh weather. It contains Vitamin A and other antibacterial properties that help to protect the skin and prevent infections. TreeWear Beeswax Lip Balm - GrapeFruit is a fun and fruity lip balm with essential oils and antimicrobial effects to keep moisture in the skin while still allowing it to breathe.
What forms can you find them in?
The form of Emollient is determined on how much oil content it has. The type of emollient you choose to use can be determined by the weather conditions, dryness levels of your skin, time of the day and other factors depending on how you feel.
These have less oil content that makes it much easier to leave on the skin due to its light weight consistency. For this reason, it is best to use them during the day. Try the Disguise Cosmetics C+C Sorbet Cream that intensely nourishes and calms the skin while recharging your skin barrier.
These have the least oil content and are not as effective for dry skin. However, it is best recommended for those with oily to normal skin. Moveda Almond Oil & Shea Nourishing Body Lotion is enriched with a mix blend of cold-pressed Almonds and Jojoba Oil. The lotion is an elixir for dry skin.
These work well for places that are hard to reach and areas that feel sore. It is recommended to use on infected areas that should not be touched in order to prevent spreading.
4. Ointments/ Medical treatments
These have the highest oil contents, therefore are most effective for those facing severe dryness or other types of skin conditions. Including them in your night routine is a great way to deeply hydrate your skin to prevent dust and pollution from sticking on the surface of your skin.
Soaps are a great way to incorporate Emollients into your everyday routine. Swapping out harsh chemical soaps with moisture intense soaps such as the Alanna Rose & Geranium Soap can hydrate and revitalise the skin. It is the perfect blend of Oils to smoothen your skin and promote emotional wellness for the entire day.
What are the steps to follow while applying an emollient and how often should you use it?
Applying your products in the right order following the recommended procedure will help you achieve the results you desire. It is very important to apply your emollients in the correct way for your treatment to be effective.
Before you begin, always remember to wash your hands and face. Applying emollients to dirty skin will trap the dirt in the pores leading to acne development inflation and irritation.
i) Avoid using your fingers directly to scoop out the product, this could introduce bacteria and contaminate the rest. Always use a spatula to remove the Emollient from the tub.
ii) Emollients are most efficient when applied after a bath or after washing your hands, as this is when the pores are open and skin most needs moisture.
This will help to get rid of any debris, dirt or dead cells on the surface of the skin. It is not necessary to exfoliate every time before applying your Emollient, however exfoliating 2 to 3 times in a week can prevent bacteria from developing. It will ensure that dirt does not get trapped between the skin and protective barrier formed by Emollients. Bliscent Strawberry & Shea Butter Body Polish is made with real Sugar, Olive Oil and Shea Butter to give your skin a gentle scrub making it smooth, clean and moisturised.
Take a blueberry size amount and apply a few dots all over the face. Then use gentle, small strokes to spread it. Avoid rubbing the product into the skin as harsh movements can break down the skin's barrier and cause irritation. Remember to use simple dabbing or stoking motions as you do not need to rub it in completely. Regular application will ensure better results.
Although Emollients and moisturisers are often confused to be the same thing, it is important to shed light on how Emollients work differently. And while they both work towards a common goal- to make the skin soft and smooth, Emollients work by preventing water loss while moisturisers work by bringing water to the skin. It is common to find Emollients in moisturisers and vise versa, but they both perform distinct and equally important functions. Now that you know the power of Emollients, free your skin by trapping in moisture!
- Howrah Lookhmanji