Glossary of Terms

Emollients

Emollients are moisturizers that soften and condition the skin without actually adding moisture to it. They do this by filling in the gaps between skin cells to improve the appearance of dry patches and make the skin more flexible. They soothe dry skin and work particularity well on conditions like eczema and psoriasis. The most popular emollients used in skin care are Shea Butter and Aloe Vera.

Humectants

Humectants add moisture by drawing water molecules from the environment towards the epidermis in order to help re-hydrate the skin’s surface. They help to increase the amount of water within the skin and store it away until it is needed, making humectants a great moisturizer for the majority of skin types. The most popular humectants used in skin care are Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid but certain Alpha-Hydroxy Acids, such as Lactic Acid are also considered in the same category.

Occlusives

Occlusives focus more on preventing the skin from losing moisture by forming a protective film over the epidermis. They are mainly lipid (oil) based products that may leave a slightly greasy sheen over the skin, also known to block the pores if used on acne-prone skin types. They don’t increase the moisture level of the skin but prevent water reserves from being drained by external stressors. The most popular occlusive ingredients are petroleum based products (mineral oil) Lanolin, Cocoa Butter and Jojoba Oil, (this oil is actually a wax similar to the sebum found in our skin).

Phytosterols

Phytosterols (also known as ‘plant sterols’) are phytochemicals (certain plant-based chemical compounds), which have cholesterol-like molecular structure. Studies have found that their functions are also quite similar to cholesterol and hence, they are widely used as emollients in topical beauty products (especially lotions and creams). Apart from this, phytosterols have also been known for their wide range of health benefits. Some common sources of phytosterols are avocadosaw palmettopumpkin seedcashew nuts, beans, vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, wheat germ, rice bran, etc. However, the most important function of phytosterols in our body is to maintain the structure of our cell membranes. Studies have shown that these plant sterols can mimic cholesterol and prevent its depletion in human epidermal keratinocyte membranes, thereby reducing photosensitivity and providing protection from photo-aging. These make phytosterols indispensable in today’s skin and hair care products.

  1. They also possess great anti-inflammatory properties, which make them amazing immunity-boosters without much adverse effects. As a result, our skin can stay away from all sorts of itching, irritations and inflammations to look healthier anytime.
  2. Phytosterols have amazing positive impact on damaged skin. Whether the damage is caused by environmental influences or physical reasons, they can repair the broken or injured layers of the skin and encourage the method of healing. In short, phytosterols are a true natural remedy for scars, dermatitis, eczema, sunburn, psoriasis, wind chapping, keloids, damages resulted from radiotherapy, etc.
  3. Phytosterols can improve dry skin conditions to a large extent by reducing Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL). They also repair damaged skin barrier and make the absorption of cholesterol to keep the skin hydrated, moisturized and properly conditioned.

Surfacants

A molecule that reduces surface tension between two substances by decreasing the forces between them and rearranging the molecules giving them new properties and abilities. There are four different classes of surfacants depending on their electrical charge. This charge will determine their overall strength. Some surfacants are made from organic material such as coconut and other are derived chemically. They are primarily used in the cosmetic and “detergent” industry for cleansing, foaming, emulsifying, moisturizing, preserving, thickening, opacifying and conditioning. The surfactants that have been used in GS products are derived from coconuts and primarily found in toners and face wash that include both water and oil. The surfactant is needed to emulsify (combine oil and water) as these ingredients will not combine naturally.