humectants plural of hu·mec·tant
A substance, esp. a skin lotion or a food additive, used to reduce the loss of moisture.It’s time for a science lesson! Before you scoff, science is awesome!
Humectants are substances that are used within skin/hair care or food products that are used to retain moisture. These substances are hygroscopic, meaning that they draw moisture from the air.
Glycerol (or glycerin) is a common humectant found in skin care products likes lotions or moisturisers. Humectants help by drawing moisture from the dermis to the epidermis. When we find ourselves in a humidity of 70% or greater, humectants will then draw moisture directly to the epidermis which is great news for those of us with dryer or dehydrated skin. This doesn’t mean you should stop having your 6-8 glasses of water though 😉
When the skin has been plumped up with water it increases in flexibility which means less cracking and more pliability. It also means that there will be a reduction of irritability caused by dry skin.
There’s a great in depth post on naturallycurly about humectants and what they do for your hair. Check it out!
Some examples of natural humectants are: Lecithin, Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), Glycerin,Honey
Synthetic humectants: Propylene Glycol, Ethylene/Diethylene Glycol, PEG compounds (eg Polyethylene Glycol), Synthetic alcohols (eg Glyceryl Coconate, Hydroxystearate, Myristate, Oleate)
Did I miss anything out? What are your thoughts? Do share!