Moisturizing Moisturizing

Posted on by Jackson Fung

Lotion, cream, ointments, butter and oil are all moisturizers and they all work to keep the skin moist, soft, and smooth.  In general, they are made up of humectant, emollient, and occlusive agent ingredients.

Humectants, Emollients, & Occlusive Agents

Humectant ingredient draws water from the lower level of the skin to rehydrate the epidermis.  Examples: Glycerin, a by product of soap making is a natural humectant.  Hualuronic acid, a synthetic humectant ingredient widely used in commercial moisturizers nowadays.

Emollient ingredient smooths the layers of the skin, making the skin feels soft and smooth.  Most vegetable oils are emollients.

Occlusive agent ingredient coats the skin with a thin film to prevent water loss.  Examples: Jojoba oil, olive oil, and castor oil are some examples of occlusive agent ingredients.  Other synthetic ingredients are petrolatum, mineral oil, and lanolin (wool oil).

Lotion, Cream, Ointment, Butter, & Oil

Generally speaking lotion, cream, and ointment are all an emulsion (mixture of water & oils).  It is just a matter of the oil-water ratio.  There is no definite ratio but this is how I define these mixtures myself.

Lotion, is water based meaning mixing oil into higher content of water .  It is thin, absorbed quickly and easily spread on hairy areas.  An synthetic emulsifying agent is required to bond oil & water together.

Cream, is oil based meaning mixing water into higher content of oils.  It is thicker and commonly used on hand.  An synthetic emulsifying agent is required to bond oil & water together.

Ointment, is 80% oil and 20% water. 

Butter, the Body Butter I make contains only oils & butters meaning it is water free.  It is only suitable in winter because it melts in high temperature.  When applied on the skin the butter melts quickly and easily absorbed by the skin.  It gives a slight oily feeling initially but after awhile it leaves the skin smooth and soft.  Suitable for dry skin.

Oil, pure vegetable oils or blend of various carrier oils & essential oils.  Some people have a misconception of oils that are messy, sticky, waxy, and oily, because they only heard of Olive Oil and Coconut Oil.  Olive Oil and Coconut Oil are both sticky, it is best used in small amount in combination of other oils.  Choosing the right oils is very important there are 20-30 commonly used carrier oils, each has very distinctive characteristics.

Serum, is not moisturizer.  Serum is more about getting the concentrated nutrients into the skin.  It is usually water based made of smaller molecules to penetrate into the skin quicker and deeper.  Most serums use lab made very concentrated synthetic ingredients.  Serum may not fit everyone, people with sensitive and skin problems should pay extra attention when using serum.

Lotion, cream, ointments, butter and oil are all moisturizers and they all work to keep the skin moist, soft, and smooth.  In general, they are made up of humectant, emollient, and occlusive agent ingredients.

Humectants, Emollients, & Occlusive Agents

Humectant ingredient draws water from the lower level of the skin to rehydrate the epidermis.  Examples: Glycerin, a by product of soap making is a natural humectant.  Hualuronic acid, a synthetic humectant ingredient widely used in commercial moisturizers nowadays.

Emollient ingredient smooths the layers of the skin, making the skin feels soft and smooth.  Most vegetable oils are emollients.

Occlusive agent ingredient coats the skin with a thin film to prevent water loss.  Examples: Jojoba oil, olive oil, and castor oil are some examples of occlusive agent ingredients.  Other synthetic ingredients are petrolatum, mineral oil, and lanolin (wool oil).

Lotion, Cream, Ointment, Butter, & Oil

Generally speaking lotion, cream, and ointment are all an emulsion (mixture of water & oils).  It is just a matter of the oil-water ratio.  There is no definite ratio but this is how I define these mixtures myself.

Lotion, is water based meaning mixing oil into higher content of water .  It is thin, absorbed quickly and easily spread on hairy areas.  An synthetic emulsifying agent is required to bond oil & water together.

Cream, is oil based meaning mixing water into higher content of oils.  It is thicker and commonly used on hand.  An synthetic emulsifying agent is required to bond oil & water together.

Ointment, is 80% oil and 20% water. 

Butter, the Body Butter I make contains only oils & butters meaning it is water free.  It is only suitable in winter because it melts in high temperature.  When applied on the skin the butter melts quickly and easily absorbed by the skin.  It gives a slight oily feeling initially but after awhile it leaves the skin smooth and soft.  Suitable for dry skin.

Oil, pure vegetable oils or blend of various carrier oils & essential oils.  Some people have a misconception of oils that are messy, sticky, waxy, and oily, because they only heard of Olive Oil and Coconut Oil.  Olive Oil and Coconut Oil are both sticky, it is best used in small amount in combination of other oils.  Choosing the right oils is very important there are 20-30 commonly used carrier oils, each has very distinctive characteristics.

Serum, is not moisturizer.  Serum is more about getting the concentrated nutrients into the skin.  It is usually water based made of smaller molecules to penetrate into the skin quicker and deeper.  Most serums use lab made very concentrated synthetic ingredients.  Serum may not fit everyone, people with sensitive and skin problems should pay extra attention when using serum.