What are the common humectants found in moisturizers?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Cosmetic manufacturers use a variety of humectants to make moisturizers. A humectant is a substance that attracts and retains water molecules. Humectants in moisturizers draw water molecules from the air and from underlying layers of skin. Humectants offer other important qualities, such as prolonging a moisturizer's shelf life. Glycerin and glycerol are common humectants found in moisturizers. Others include alpha hydroxy acids, panthenol, carboxylic acid, sorbitol, sodium hyaluronate, sodium and ammonium lactate, sodium pyrrolidine, urea, propylene glycol, gelatin, and honey.
Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD

The common humectants (attract water) found in moisturizers are:

  • Glycerin
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Propylene glycol
  • Butylene glycol
  • Sodium PCA
  • Sorbitol
  • Allantoin
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.