Moisturizers 101: How Humectants Hydrate Dry Skin

All skin moisturizers work the same, right? This is something we commonly hear men saying when they are perusing the checkout line at the drugstore or the grocery store looking for any old moisturizer to keep on the nightstand. Us guys tend to ignore skin health, which is a shame when we are actually more prone to develop a number of skin related health issues including dry skin, psoriasis, and even deadly melanoma. When the solution to many common skin problems is a simple once-daily moisturizer, why not pick a moisturizer that keeps your skin healthy and strong?

All high quality moisturizers contain the three following components: occlusives, emollients, and humectants. Today, we will focus on humectants and how they actively draw water to the skin for unparalleled hydration.

What are Humectants in Skin Care?

What are Humectants in Skin Care?

As incredible as it might sound, humectants actually function by actively drawing water molecules to the skin. This process works almost like a magnet for moisture, which can attract moisture from both the exterior (the environment) or from within one’s own body. This is particularly effective for skin moisturization as humectants work with other skincare ingredients to bring moisture to the epidermis where it can remain for long periods of time.

While all humectants serve the same basic purpose, different humectants may play different roles. Humectants are commonly found in hair conditioners, frizz serums, lip balms, soaps, and much more. 

How Humectants Work to Hydrate Dry Skin

So how does this process actually work? The key to effectively harnessing the power of humectants is a multi-step process.

  1. Utilize a moisturizer with humectant ingredients. As soon as the moisturizing product is applied, the humectants will begin the process of attracting water from the air and from the lower layers of the skin.
  2. The moisture drawn towards the surface of the skin must be locked in. This is where combining multiple, powerful ingredients comes into play. Humectants can actually lose effectiveness if skin is damaged. To offset this, occlusives work to seal in moisture which has been drawn to the skin. This allows for moisture to be attracted to, and remain on the surface of the skin.
  3. Humectants facilitate cell regeneration. Lastly, humectants may actually aid in our skin’s process of shedding dead skin cells. This is vital for skin regeneration and removing dry, dead debris from the skin’s surface.

Common Examples of Effective Humectants

Common Examples of Effective Humectants

Here are some real life examples of humectants which are found in nature and those which are synthesized specifically for use as a skincare ingredient.

Glycerin: also known as glycol, glycerin is a naturally occurring humectant. Glycerin is a type of alcohol which was discovered in the late 18th century. Perhaps the most well researched and well documented of all modern humectants, glycerin is commonly used in moisturizers and other skincare products.

Glycol: much like glycerin, glycol is a naturally occurring organic compound in the alcohol family. There are several forms of glycol such as propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, butylene glycol, hexylene glycol, and many more. In skincare, glycol ingredients are recognized for being safe and effective humectants.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs): a well known skincare ingredient most commonly associated with acne treatments, alpha-hydroxy acids are actually most effective when used to treat dry skin and sun damage. AHAs work as humectants and they work to strip away the top layer of dead skin cells to promote natural regeneration.

Urea: an extremely powerful humectant, urea is not recommended for use on skin which is cracked or damaged. This is due to urea’s properties which can sometimes irritate already compromised skin. Due to this, urea is often available via prescriptions rather than over- the-counter.

Why Moisturizer Ingredients are so Important for Dry Skin Relief

Why Moisturizer Ingredients are so Important for Dry Skin Relief

In the introduction we referenced men’s propensity to just pick any old moisturizer and call it a day. What many of us fail to realize is just how differently moisturizers can impact our skin health based on their ingredients. Humectants play a key role in this process, but they are only as powerful as their surrounding cast. At HEFF, we pack our once-daily moisturizer with all of the following:

  • Potent humectants: glycerin, butylene, glycol, hexylene glycol, caprylyl glycol, and more. The power of drawing moisture to the surface of your skin cannot be overstated.
  • Occlusives to lock in moisture: cetyl alcohol and stearic acid work to form a watertight seal on the exterior of the skin. This is critical for locking moisture in and from preventing outside irritants to break up the moisturization process.
  • Emollients for skin restoration: glycerin and other amino acids are used to penetrate the skin and restore, repair, and renew from within. When skin becomes dry it may also become cracked and damaged. Emollients address cracks and gaps in the skin by filling those voids.
  • Amino acids: amino acids are like a booster shot for your skin. They promote protein synthesis, strengthening of the skin, and a host of other benefits to keep your skin strong.

HEFF Daily Moisturizer with Powerful Humectants

HEFF cream for hands, elbows and feet has been specifically formulated for working men. Harnessing the power of amino acids, our lotion is ideal for even the most dry, cracked skin. Think of once-daily HEFF as routine maintenance for your body. Shower, shave, apply daily moisturizing cream, and you are all set for a day of hard work or hard play. 

For every tube of HEFF sold, we are proud to donate a tube to Operation Gratitude. This is a small way of giving back to the men and women who keep our country safe.To find HEFF, shop on Amazon, find us at any of these national retailers, or contact us directly for more information today!