An ingredient that softens, smoothes and moisturizes the skin. Any ingredient that increases water levels in the epidermis. Synonym: moisturizer. A substance that softens the skin by slowing the evaporation of water. Moisturizing ingredients that can penetrate into the spaces between skin cells, which leaves the skin feeling softer and smoother. Face oils—such as squalane oil, argan oil, and jojoba oil—generally act as emollients and/or occlusives. A moisturizer, or emollient, is a cosmetic preparation used for protecting, moisturizing, and lubricating the skin. These functions are normally performed by sebum produced by healthy skin. The word "emollient" is derived from the Latin verb mollire, to soften. Moisturizers are used for the treatment of certain skin diseases, such as psoriasis, ichthyosis vulgaris, xerosis, and pruritus in atopic dermatitis. More often, they are bases or vehicles for topical medication, such as in Whitfield's ointment. They are often combined with humectants, such as salicylic acid and urea.
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