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Combination Skin: Balance Hydration

How to Treat

Humectants are important to dry, oily and combination skin types. Maintaining the skin’s natural moisture balance keeps dry skin from becoming dehydrated and uncomfortable, and oily skin from over-producing oil. Certain humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, do not penetrate the stratum corneum but work by drawing moisture upward. Ingredients such as glycerin and urea are able to penetrate the stratum corneum and travel through the skin cells’ aquaporins (water channels) to increase hydration within the cells. Occlusive agents are a class of ingredients that form a film on the surface of the skin to prevent moisture loss. Occlusives work in conjunction with humectant ingredients. Humectants draw moisture up from the dermis to hydrate the epidermis, and occlusives create a barrier to keep that moisture within the skin. All effective moisturizing products must contain both occlusive and humectant agents.

Here are a few examples of humectants and occlusive.


  • glycerin
  • hyaluronic acid
  • sodium PCA
  • urea
  • honey
  • sorbitole
  • AHA
  • oat milk
  • ceramide NP


  • silicones (dimethicone & cyclomethicone)
  • plant oils
  • squalane
  • shea butter
  • zinc oxide
  • niacinamide
  • petrolatum
  • lanolin