Hydrating vs. Occlusive

When it comes to skincare, understanding the difference between hydrating and occlusive products is crucial for maintaining healthy skin. While both play important roles in keeping your skin looking and feeling its absolute best, they work in totally different ways to achieve this goal.

Hydrating products are designed to increase the water content of your skin. These products typically contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides, which help attract and retain moisture in the skin. To generalize our prior blogs, ceramides are lipids that help to restore and balance the skin's barrier function, glycerin is considered a humectant that draws moisture into skin from the environment and hyaluronic acid forms a thin yet invisible film on skin to lock in necessary moisture. In general, hydrating products are essential for maintaining hydration levels, which is important for overall balanced skin health.

Occlusive products, on the other hand, work by creating a barrier on the skin's surface to prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Synthetic and natural ingredients like petrolatum, mineral oil, silicones, beeswax, candelilla wax, emulsifying wax, and squalene are commonly found in occlusive products. These ingredients help to seal in moisture along with protecting the skin from environmental aggressors like pollution and harsh weather conditions.

When a product is formulated to have both hydrating and occlusive properties, it is working to keep skin moisturized and plump. This can lead to an increase in overall suppleness and a reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This type of product also helps to improve the skin's barrier function which plays a crucial role in protecting against external aggressors such as bacteria, viruses, and environmental pollutants. We like to think of this duo as being the key to supportive skin health.