Humectants are substances that can attract water molecules and keep it in the skin.

Humectants are used as moisturizes. They give the skin a soft, hydrated feeling.

The most commonly used humectant is glycerin and its derivatives like glyceryl ascorbate or glyceryl gluconate. Another popular but not always well tolerable humectant is urea. Glucose, fructose and some other simple sugars belong here as well. Finally, collagen and elastin, which are contained in the skin itself, have humectant properties.

  • Some alcohols like ethanol or cyclohexanol counteract the action of humectants. So in combination with them, humectants are less effective.
  • Humectants might be added to the product to help dissolve and transport other useful ingredients.
  • Many humectants can serve as emollients, but this does not work vice versa