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Emollients are substances that soften and soothe the skin. They are used to correct dryness and scaling of the skin. They are a key component in the manufacture of lipstick, lotions, and other cosmetic products.

The terms "moisturizer" (something that adds moisture) and "emollient" (something that softens) are sometimes used interchangeably, as they describe different effects of these agents on the skin. However, the term emollient is most often used to describe single ingredients, whereas "moisturizer" describes finished products.

Emollient can also be used to describe a person as soft and soothing

Mechanism of action

Emollients have three basic properties:

  • Occlusion - providing a layer of oil on the surface of the skin to slow water loss and thus increase the moisture content of the stratum corneum
  • Humectant - increasing the water-holding capacity of the stratum corneum
  • Lubrication - adding slip or glide across the skin.

See also








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