What Is an Occlusive? And Should You Be Using One?
In a world where 10-step skin care routines have become the norm and application order is more important than ever, we’ve become a little more than obsessed with the types of products we’re adding to our routines. We want all of the moisture and glow and are willing to try almost anything to get and sustain it. Cue: occlusives — a class of ingredients designed to provide a protective seal over skin and lock in hydration. Occlusive ingredients can be found in a wide range of moisturizers and pair well with other skin-nourishing ingredients like humectants (which draw in moisture) and emollients that help soften the skin. We spoke to NYC-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner about all things occlusives to help you figure out if you need to add one to your routine.
Why should you use occlusives?
According to Dr. Zeichner, “An occlusive ingredient provides a protective seal over the surface of the skin to prevent loss of hydration into the environment.” They’re one of the main types of ingredients found in moisturizers and work well for for dry skin. Popular occlusive ingredients include petrolatum and dimethicone, commonly found in moisturizers.
How should you incorporate occlusives into your routine?
It’s likely your moisturizer already has occlusive ingredients in it, but if you want to double up on the protection, you can add a “straight occlusive” into your routine. “Straight occlusives like petroleum jelly can be used just as regular moisturizers are,” says Dr. Zeichner, and should be the last step of your routine.
Who shouldn’t use occlusives?
Dr. Zeichner recommends staying away from occlusives if you have acne-prone skin. These can promote acne breakouts due to their heavier consistency.