An emollient is a term that is recurrently used in the cosmetic industry. Surely you have read or heard it on more than one occasion, associated with creams or moisturizers. Emollients are substances that have the property of moisturizing the skin.

What is an emollient?

We know that one of the key elements to prevent the skin from showing signs of aging is hydration. And we also know that with age this function is lost, due to the degradation of the organism.

Emollients, which can be natural or artificial and of different textures, are capable of slowing down water loss.

Thanks to this hydration capacity, they are included in many of the products marketed for skin care. If you look closely, we find them in moisturizers, lotions, oils and lip balms.

What products are used as emollients?

Some of the substances used as emollients are:

  • Glycerin has a moisturizing action, since it attracts water and retains it.
  • Vegetable oils such as coconut, almond, jojoba, olive and rosehip oil are rich in lipids and fatty acids. They retain moisture and prevent water loss.
  • Shea butter is a vegetable fat also rich in unsaturated fatty acids, as well as vitamins and antioxidants. When used on the skin, it creates a layer that protects it from water loss.
  • Some waxes such as beeswax or candelilla wax are also used as ingredients in all types of cosmetics to create a barrier on the skin that helps prevent dryness.
  • Silicones create a protective layer that not only helps keep the skin hydrated, but also protects it from external agents. Dimethicone and cyclomethicone are commonly used.
  • Urea is an organic ingredient that acts as a humectant, absorbing and retaining water from the skin.
  • Hyaluronic acid is one of the most used organic ingredients in cosmetic products, thanks to its great capacity to retain water.
  • Propylene glycol is a synthetic ingredient that helps retain moisture in the skin and absorb other ingredients.

When manufacturing an emollient product, manufacturers usually carry out extraction and pressing processes of the natural ingredients to refine them. In the next phase, the substance obtained is mixed with other ingredients to give the product the final appearance, texture and color.

What products contain emollients?

As already indicated at the beginning, emollients are used in a multitude of products dedicated to cosmetics and skin care. Almost all brands rely on this type of products, since they provide hydration, softness and tension to the skin.

You can find emollients in moisturizers, skin oils, lotions, lip balms, hair care products, and hand care products.

One of the most used emollient products is Dexeryl cream, which is used in cases of atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and ichthyosis. Although it can also be used with skin without special effects. It is composed of glycerol and liquid paraffin.

Who should use emollients?

The skin always needs hydration. If it is not hydrated it becomes dry and wrinkled. So, although emollients can be of great help for people with dry or sensitive skin, it is a product that anyone can use.

It must be taken into account that some emollients can clog pores and cause acne, so, as always, it is advisable to consult specialists before choosing a product that may be incorrect depending on your skin type.

Commitment to quality

This text on emollience has been prepared by professional writers and reviewed by the Sisneo medical-aesthetic team. In addition, we have relied on experts in medicine, engineering and aesthetics as a source of information, as well as specific studies to maintain the quality of what we publish.

At Sisneo Bioscience we are committed to publish truthful and contrasted information. And to update or correct it as soon as new knowledge becomes available.