How Occlusive Ingredients Can Benefit Dry Skin

October 14, 2021 by L'Oréal
By: by L'Oréal | by L'Oréal
How Occlusive Ingredients Can Benefit Dry Skin

Have you ever used a moisturizer only for it to leave your skin feeling dry and taut minutes after application? Chances are you aren’t using the right moisturizer for your skin type. If you have dry skin, for example, look for a moisturizer with occlusives, which are known to lock in hydration. Here, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, helps us explain how occlusive ingredients work and where to find them.

What Is an Occlusive?

Moisturizing ingredients can be classified into three groups: humectants, which draw in moisture, emollients, which can help soften the skin, and occlusives. Occlusives are a class of ingredients designed to provide a protective seal over skin and lock in hydration. 

How Do Occlusives Work?

“An occlusive ingredient provides a protective seal over the surface of the skin to prevent loss of hydration into the environment,” says Dr. Zeichner. They also help keep irritants, allergens and other harmful particles from being able to enter your skin.

Popular Occlusive Ingredients 

Popular occlusive ingredients include waxes, petrolatum, dimethicone, silicone and mineral oil, which are commonly found in moisturizers. 

How Should You Incorporate Occlusives Into Your Routine?

It’s likely that your moisturizer already contains occlusive ingredients, 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,” says Dr. Zeichner, and should be the last step of your routine. If you don’t want to use a formula that’s as thick as petroleum jelly but still want to reap the benefits of an occlusive, try the SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm. It contains pure petrolatum, plus aloe vera and squalene, both emollients.

SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm

Who Shouldn’t Use Occlusives?

Because products with occlusives often have a heavy consistency, Dr. Zeichner recommends staying away from them if you have oily or acne-prone skin. 

Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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