Which Occlusive Ingredients Can Transform Your Skincare Routine?

occlusive ingredients

A standard skincare regimen often includes numerous steps and products; adding occlusive products could be the game-changer that could elevate your regimen drastically. Occlusives are powerful substances that consist of chemical compounds that offer numerous benefits to the skin. Among them are skin hydration, skin moisture retention, and smoothing skin texture.

For many skincare enthusiasts looking to include occlusives as part of their day-to-day regimen, this article unlocks the full potential of these products by unveiling details that help you incorporate occlusive products to revolutionize your skin health and also discusses key points between occlusive vs. humectant. Alongside, this article discusses certain benefits of using occlusives such as repairing the skin barrier, promoting skin health, evening out skin complexion, and reducing wrinkles

What are occlusive ingredients? 

An occlusive ingredient is designed to produce a protective barrier over your skin surface to reduce or prevent the loss of skin moisture in the environment. These products also prevent the contamination of your skin by shielding it from dust, dirt, and germs. Often confused as moisturizers, occlusives perform an entirely different function as they lock in moisture in your skin by creating a thin layer, preventing the loss of your natural sebum or applied moisturizer. 

Occlusives are helpful to those who suffer from dry skin, or people whose natural moisture trans-evaporates easily. In today's skincare, occlusives are incorporated in virtually many makeup products, lotions, and even hair products. They are combined with humectants and emollients to improve their features, reducing the occlusive vs emollient debate on which component is beneficial to the skin. For instance, occlusive ingredients such as oils and dimethicone help prevent water evaporation from the skin, a condition popularly called Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL). Although occlusives offer numerous benefits, one of its disadvantages is that they are only effective as long as they remain on your skin. Once removed, your skin becomes unprotected and TEWL can occur.

occlusive ingredients

What ingredients are commonly found in occlusive skincare products? 

Among the ingredients commonly found in occlusive skincare products are:

Argan Oil

Argan Oil is another occlusive that is preferred for its ability to heal traumatized skin, reduce smile and fine lines, lock in skin moisture, and leave the skin smooth and silky. 

Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is a popular occlusive used in sealing the skin barrier and retaining moisture. It may promote the risk of acne breakout if applied to dirty skin. 

Castor Oil

Castor Oil is obtained by squeezing the castor oil plant seeds. This oil is entirely steady, sober, fatty oil, which contains over 90% Ricinoleic acid. It is additionally one of the most popular of all regularly based Occlusives at present sold.


Squalane is a dual product, that is, it is an occlusive and emollient. It is particularly helpful in preventing TEWL as it traps moisture. 

Shea Butter

It is found in many skincare and hair products for its excellent properties. It is a skin-conditioning agent that can repair dull and dry skin, hence, it is recommended you incorporate it into your regimen.

Alongside the above-mentioned products, there are additional occlusive ingredients such as mineral oil, silicones, vegetable oils, and sterols. Mineral oil and petrolatum are two effective products, however, they are byproducts of gasoline production. Hence, their use may impact the environment negatively. If you would love to use an eco-friendly occlusive agent, you can try out natural occlusives like Mango Butter, Candelilla wax, Lanolin, Jojoba oil, and Safflower oil.

Moreso, olive oil ranks low in use because it is one of the few occlusive products that contain a high amount of oleic acid, which is responsible for creating tiny holes in the skin. This destroys the skin barrier and exposes it to irritants. A better alternative to olive oil is argan oil which contains linoleic acid. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and high amount of Vitamin E.

How does an occlusive skincare routine benefit your skin? 

An occlusive skin care routine involves the inclusion of one or more occlusive products into your regular skincare regimen to develop a barrier around the skin surface. An occlusive skincare routine can perform wonders on the skin and enhances product absorption. Since they create a barrier across the skin surface, it aids in the absorption of skincare products applied before them. They also reduce the evaporation of these products and promote contact between the ingredients and the skin, improving their effectiveness and benefiting your skin. 

occlusive ingredients

Likewise, your skin is shielded from external factors that can contribute to skin damage. Hence, dirt, pollutants, pollen, allergens, and dust are prevented from penetrating your skin barrier. Occlusives can also repair damaged skin barriers. For those whose skin barrier was destroyed by dangerous chemical components or excessive exfoliating, consistent application of occlusive agents can help maintain healthy skin and prevent TEWL from occurring. This promotes healing and recovery. Many occlusives for skin care can lead to smoother and softening skin as it enhances hydration, and provides protection. It also helps in reducing dullness, dryness, and flakiness, and improves one's overall complexion. 

Can an occlusive skincare routine help with specific skin concerns? 

Occlusive skincare offers numerous benefits asides from maintaining skin hydration and moisture. It can also help with specific skin concerns, for instance, Squalane possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can help in managing specific skin conditions like eczema and dry skin. Thus, they are particularly useful for old, mature, and dry skin that requires intense hydration.

They are generally not recommended for people with oily skin and are often recommended with humectants to improve their effectiveness. For those with sensitive skin, it is important to choose occlusives with little to no excessive additives such as preservatives and fragrances as they may trigger adverse reactions.

When is the best time to incorporate occlusive products into your skincare routine? 

We recommend you incorporate occlusive products into your skincare routine as the final step, after applying all other skincare products. Doing this allows the occlusive to create a protective barrier on the skin's surface, sealing in the benefits of the previous layers. Occlusive products are often favored for nighttime use because they tend to be heavier and can leave a subtle sheen on the skin. 

During the nighttime, these occlusives can effectively work their magic while you sleep. However, if you prefer to use occlusives during the day, keep in mind that they may be more noticeable on the skin and could potentially affect the application of makeup. It's important to know that certain choices of occlusives affect moisturizers. 

For instance, if a product contains a significant amount of dimethicone, a synthetic occlusive, could potentially impede the effectiveness of tretinoin if applied before it. To ensure the best results for your specific skin type and concerns, it is always advisable to consult with a dermatologist or skin care professional who can guide you on the appropriate occlusive products and routine.

Can occlusive skincare be combined with other skincare products?

Occlusives can be combined with other skincare products. Many dermatologists recommend other products that improve the efficiency of occlusives on the skin. However, when choosing moisturizers, it is possible that your moisturizer already contains occlusive ingredients. You should switch to something else like Dermaclara's Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer

During application, it is important to layer your skincare properly as a combination of well-layered skincare products can improve the benefits you stand to enjoy. Hence, the careful selection of different skin products is important as certain products may not blend and can thus hinder the absorption of other products. It can also cause an undesired texture or film on the skin, inhibiting the skin texture and aesthetics. 

Occlusion plays a vital role in keeping water-based ingredients and hydration within the skin, promoting supple and moisturized skin since water-based formulations can penetrate the skin and evaporate moisture. Hence we recommend the occlusives should always be the final step in your skincare routine to create a physical barrier that helps retain moisture.

Concerning moisturizers, the choice of moisturizer depends on your skin type and personal preference. People with oily skin should choose lightweight and water-based moisturizers, while those with drier skin types should use creamier textures rather than gels. 

occlusive ingredients

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