Water – The main ingredient of moisturizers. Water is the ingredient that hydrates the skin. The other ingredients help keep water in the skin.
Moisturizers – Moisturizers work by trapping water in the skin. It can do this in two ways. It can cover the skin with a waterproof layer so that the water cannot escape or it can bind the water and keep it in the skin. These two types of moisturizers are known as lubricants and humectants;
i- Lubricant or emollients – Mineral or vegetable oils; cholesterol; petrolatum (petroleum jelly); vaseline; lanolin; silicone such as dimethicone; fatty acids such as strearic acid and isotearic acid; fatty alcohols such as cetyl alcohol, strearyl alcohol and myristyl alcohol; esters such isopropyl myristate; spermacetti, octyl palmitate, isodecyl neopentanoate, butyl stearate and isoprpyl isostearate.
ii- Moisturizers – Examples include polyols such as propylene glycol, glycerin, sorbitol, gelatine, lecithin, pyrolidone; urea; lactic acid; sodium pyrrolidonecarboxylic acid (NCA-PCA); phopholipids.
Emulsifiers – Allow water and oil to be mixed together without seperating. Fatty alcohols; quarternium 15; sodium lauryl sulphate; steatic acid; trolamine.
Preservatives – This prevent growth of micro-organism. e.g Alcohol, benzyl alcohol, disodium EDTA, methylisothiazoline, parabens (methyl-,propyl-or butyl-paraben), quatenium-15, imidazolidinyl urea.
Antioxidants – These prolong the shelf-life of the product. E.g ascorbic acid, butylated hydozyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), citric acid, EDTA, propyl gallate, sodium bisulfate, tocopherol (vitamin E)
Fragrance – Mask odours or gives the product a pleasant odour.
Source: Taken from Dr Lim Kah Beng ‘Steps to Skin Beauty – A dermatologist’s guide’