The 5 Best Occlusive Moisturizers (Hydration-Locking)

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The 5 Best Occlusive Moisturizers (Hydration-Locking)
In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

BEST FOR CLEAN SKINCARE

ZELEN Life Moisturizer

After applying an occlusive moisturizer to your skin, not a lot is either getting in or out.

An occlusive coats the skin and creates a barrier from the outside world. It seals in moisture by preventing water from escaping. This keeps your skin soft despite the harsh weather and dehydration you’re experiencing. Your thirsty skin is made to look soft and dewy.

In this article, we will review the best occlusive moisturizers that you can use to keep your skin soft and shielded this winter.

For all the moisturizers that made our list, a detailed analysis will be provided. We will highlight their best features and who they are most suitable for. We will also share their pros and cons.

There are many things to think about when purchasing an occlusive moisturizer. This is why we will address the most frequently asked questions.

Let’s start with the considerations you should make before you buy:

Quick summary

Before you buy: 6 Things to consider when purchasing an occlusive moisturizer

It might sound wonderful to just go and pick up an occlusive moisturizer.

In which case, a tub of good old Vaseline will suffice. Yet, Vaseline is sticky and greasy and can feel a bit weird. So why not get a better occlusive moisturizer that doesn’t stick?

There are a few things you do need to know before you decide to buy one.

1. Skin type

Your skin type is very important as you buy an occlusive moisturizer. Even more so with occlusives as these are dense, thick creams that can feel greasy and heavy. This is especially the case with oily or combination skin.

The best occlusive moisturizer acts as an additional layer or barrier that prevents moisture from escaping from the skin. On its own, it adds no moisture or hydration. It just prevents you from losing any moisture.

It’s the best for dry to normal skin types. For oily skin, quick-absorbing occlusive moisturizers with a lightweight formula are the best way to go.

2. Frequency

Occlusive moisturizers typically are applied at night as they can take their time getting absorbed into the skin. You can’t just slap some on and head out the door.

This isn’t the typical moisturizer that you can wear for your nine to five, either. Simply because while it retains moisture, it can also prevent your skin from breathing if it is used with layers of makeup.

Many makeup products also cannot adhere to an occlusive moisturizer, especially if they are water-based.

3. Skin issues

These occlusive moisturizers tend to be great for people with eczema, atopic dermatitis, and other dermatoses where the skin is dry and experiencing inflammation. The oils slide into spaces between cells and give them a plump appearance.

Many occlusives also have antioxidants and are great for aging skin. For those who have acne or are struggling with clogged pores, you might want to be careful with this moisturizer as it can seem like it aggravates breakouts.

4. Weather

Occlusive moisturizers are typically used only in winter when the skin needs to retain moisture. However, many occlusives are now designed to be lightweight and rapid absorbing so that you can wear during any season.

So you may want to check out those if you’re looking for a year-round moisturizer.

5. Texture

The occlusive moisturizers come as lotions and thick creams. Depending on the ingredients, it can come in these two textures. Some may sit on the skin and have to be massaged into the epidermis.

Others may be applied and sink effortlessly without much work. Read each product to find out what texture you’re looking for. Water-based formulas are absorbed faster.

6. Finish

Occlusive moisturizers usually give you a light sheen thanks to all kinds of butter, oils, and paraffin. Occlusive ingredients can make you look greasy, so it’s important to note what finish each moisturizer has.

If you want a glowing, dewy look, these moisturizers are the way to go. Alternatively, some occlusive moisturizers have a matte finish.

The 5 best occlusive moisturizers

ZELEN Life Moisturizer (Best for clean skincare)

ZELEN Life Moisturizer


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Organic formula–natural occlusives
  • Handmade
  • Premium matte-silver packaging, featuring an airless pump

The best occlusive moisturizer for:

All skin types (particularly sensitive skin), and those who are clean skincare enthusiasts.

Notable ingredients:

Jojoba, Sunflower, Clary Sage

Overview:

What is there not to like about clean skincare?

The ZELEN Life Moisturizer features an organic formula that comprises of natural occlusive ingredients. As well, as a range of skin benefits thanks to its high concentration of vitamins and antioxidants.

These active botanicals deserve some attention:

Jojoba is a beloved ingredient with a whole host of skin benefits. Where do I start? The high content of wax esters in jojoba oil makes it a good repair option for people with altered skin barriers, like seborrheic dermatitis, eczematous dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and acne, according to various studies.[1] Now, regarding acne. Jojoba oil comprises of a similar composition to that of our skin’s natural oil (sebum).  For acne sufferers, usually, an over-production in sebum leads to clogged pores and is responsible for their breakouts. When applied to the skin, Jojoba helps balance the skin’s production of sebum and helps control the development of blemishes.

Jojoba is also a powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory with demonstrated benefits in skin infections, skin aging, and wound healing.[2] It helps to control inflamed skin, improve wrinkles, and energize the skin to speeds up its healing process. Calendula is a natural skin soother and antiseptic, which helps to reduce redness. This promotes fast healing and regeneration of the skin. Clary sage also tightens the skin and reduces skin irritations.

This is a lightweight cream with a non-greasy texture, yet it provides soothing and nourishing benefits that you would expect from a thick cream. Using the matte-silver airless pump bottle, just a dime-sized amount on your fingertip is enough to provide that protective layer the skin needs to feel hydrated and calm.

The moisturizer coats the skin easily and as a result, absorbs fast to provide that instant protective layer and seal of moisture expected from a good occlusive. It makes for an effective winter and summer moisturizer. Although it does not contain sun protection, so you should combine it with an SPF.

Does it have any weak areas?

Well, no product is perfect in every department. Plus, we all have different requirements based on our skin type and goals. This moisturizer is not the cheapest on our list. If you are budget conscious, then URIAGE’s Thermal Water Cream is a comparable product but in a lower price bracket.  Although, the ZELEN Life Moisturizer is a slightly larger size and more premium packaging.

If you are looking for a thicker texture, perhaps with an intense occlusive like shea butter, then in this list you will find L’Occitane’s Ultra-Rich Cream more up your street. If you are looking for an occlusive moisturizer for the body, then skip down to Bioderma’s Cream. If you are looking for an occlusive moisturizer for acne-prone skin, the ZELEN Life Moisturizer is a good natural option. But if you are happy to spend a bit more, you should consider PRIORI’s Barrier Restore Complex on our list.

The good:

  • Contains vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids
  • Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin
  • Chemical-free, cruelty-free, and vegan-friendly.
  • Non-comedogenic–coats the skin without clogging pores

Things to think about:

  • Offers a matte finish, perhaps not your preference
  • No SPF

Bottom line:

The ZELEN Life Moisturizer is a great organic occlusive moisturizer that enhances the skin’s natural barrier without blocking the pores. It hydrates and soothes, making it suitable for sensitive/acne-prone skin.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

PRIORI Barrier Restore Complex fx140 (Best for acne)

PRIORI Barrier Restore Complex fx140


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Formulated with lactic acid (LCA complex)
  • Can be used around the clock – as a daytime moisturizer and night cream
  • Water-based emulsion texture

The best occlusive moisturizer for:

Those who are prone to acne or inflamed skin.

Notable ingredients:

Lactic acid, Ceramides, Chamomile, Allantoin, Bisabolol

Overview:

This moisturizer by PRIORI is a premium “emulsion”, made to restore the natural skin barrier.  Exactly what you would wish for in an occlusive.

A compromised skin barrier that is thin and fragile means that it is does not efficiently protect the deeper layers from irritants and skin is generally more easily irritated. It is, therefore, super important to build up this surface layer and improve its resilience to reduce skin sensitivity levels. This is where PRIORI’s Barrier Restore Complex fx140 can be very beneficial.

It is ideal for inflamed skin that requires some natural soothing agents and a stronger skin barrier.

Let’s consider the ingredients:

Among its many skin benefits, lactic acid firms the skin. It is useful in a moisturizer as it is an intense hydrator that helps the skin retain its moisture. It also has the ability to stimulate collagen renewal. This combined with its firming properties helps improve signs of aging, as firmer, thicker skin results in fewer fine lines and wrinkles.

Ceramides also assist in preserving the skin barrier by preventing moisture loss and creates a protective layer that is difficult to be penetrated by skin-damaging environmental aggressors.

It is a great choice for sensitive and acne-prone skin, which I put on par with the ZELEN Life Moisturizer. It also matches up in other areas, such as being very lightweight and non-greasy. If you are looking for virtually no scent at all, then this moisturizer is probably more suitable. Similar to ZELEN Life, it has a plastic pump bottle that prevents contaminants from entering the product. However, the pump bottle does not look as premium.

So, the cream. I really like the lightweight texture. The manufacturer describes it as “silky-smooth”, which I would have to agree with. When comparing with L’Occitane’s Ultra-Rich Cream on our list, which rivals it as being an intense hydrator, this moisturizer by PRIORI is less greasy. I’d consider it a versatile product suitable for all skin types, and the anti-irritant benefits from the chamomile, allantoin extracts make it ideal for red, inflamed skin.

Another quick mention of the price. It is the most expensive option on the list. At this price level, I would expect a higher quality pump bottle that took center stage in my skincare collection. But if you are not bothered about the aesthetics of a product, then there is no reason to rule this one out. The value is absolutely in what the cream can do for you.

The good:

  • Contains vitamins and natural extracts
  • Skin-soothing and strengthening in one
  • Promotes skin barrier restoration
  • Softer smoother complexion

Things to think about:

  • Claims to be oil-free but contain sucrose cocoate, which comes from coconut oil
  • Higher price point

Bottom line:

PRIORI’s Barrier Restore Complex is a high-quality occlusive moisturizer. If you are looking to calm irritated acne-prone skin and redness, then give this anti-inflammatory, skin strengthener cream a whirl.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

L’Occitane Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream (Best for deep hydration)

L’Occitane Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • 25% Shea butter formula
  • Very enriched, thick cream
  • Comes in a jar

The best occlusive moisturizer for:

Those with dry or very skin.

Notable ingredients:

Shea butter, Chestnut, Sunflower

Overview:

L’Occitane’s Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream, as the name suggests, is the thickest cream on our list. So it is to be expected it will naturally be a bit more on the heavy and greasy side compared to the others. However, this is not necessarily a negative.

If you have dry or very dry skin, this highly effective occlusive moisturizer could be the answer to your prayers. So is it a “comforting cream?” I’d say yes. It is extremely nourishing so it can greatly reduce that tight feeling associated with dry skin. Less tightness means more comfort. Shea butter is an emollient, which means that it traps moisture into the skin.

Therefore, at a 25% formula, you can well-hydrated skin, for longer. Potentially all day, although I would recommend using this cream twice a day if you have very dry skin.

Apart from the shea butter, another it contains another notable ingredient in sunflower seed oil. As mentioned above in the ZELEN Life Moisturizer, sunflower is an excellent natural occlusive and emollient. Its high concentration of linoleic acid makes it a skin-barrier protector. Preserving the integrity of the topmost layers of the skin, it supports its ability to retain moisture. It is also an excellent anti-inflammatory.[6]

A moisturizer packaged in a jar is less common these days, but for those who prefer it, this one has it. I prefer a pump bottle for my moisturizer, however taking into account the viscosity of this cream, the jar is the best option. Otherwise, we might be looking at a big plastic tube-style packaging, which would not suit L’Occitane’s style. The jar itself is a nice-looking unit, and it’s neatly housed in a premium carton. It reminds me of a perfect gift to give to a loved one.

Well, we should remember to spoil and pamper ourselves too, and this product certainly fits the bill for that. The downside of a jar, of course, is a risk of contamination. So remember to use a spatula, cotton bud, or at the very least, wash your hands well before use.

There is much to love about this product but let’s look at some talking points:

Due to its thicker nature, I would say this is not an ideal product for oily skin. There are more lightweight occlusives on our list, such as the ZELEN Life Moisturizer and PRIORI’s Barrier Restore Complex which serve oilier skin better. Even those with dry skin may be a little put off by the inclusion of shea butter for fears that its thick properties could clog pores and lead to an acne breakout.

This view is supported by the American Academy of Dermatology, however, you may be surprised to know that shea butter up to 25% scores 0 on the comedogenic scale.

If you are growing to like the product as much as I do but have this little niggling feeling about the shea butter content, you may be interested to know that L’Occitane does a “lighter” version of this cream. The L’Occitane Shea Light Comforting Face Cream contains 5% shea butter in its formula. Although, you will lose some of its occlusive powers compared to the 25% version. Another option would be to consider URIAGE’s Thermal Water Rich Water Cream from our list. This also contains shea butter but the texture is not as heavy.

Now you know about shea butter and that it is non-comedogenic in smaller percentages. If you have acne-prone skin shea butter has good anti-inflammatory properties and skin lightening properties that help heal blemishes and fade acne scars. However, for acne, I’d still say PRIORI’s remains at the top of my list.

Pro tip:

Take your time and really massage this rich cream into the skin. It can also be used on the body.

The good:

  • Creates soft and supple skin
  • Deeply moisturizing
  • Rich in vitamin E, omega 6 and karitene

Things to think about:

  • Strong scent. If you prefer a lighter scent, consider any of the others on our list.

Bottom line:

L’Occitane’s Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream is an excellent occlusive moisturizer that is great for blemish-prone skin that needs intense hydration. With a 25% shea butter formula, you’ll either love it or hate it.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

URIAGE Thermal Water Rich Water Cream (Best for on the go)

URIAGE Thermal Water Rich Water Cream


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Contains thermal water from the French Alps
  • Easy to use
  • Tested under dermatological control

The best occlusive moisturizer for:

All skin types, and for those quickly on the move.

Notable ingredients:

Thermal water, Shea butter, Urea, Glucose

Overview:

URIAGE’s Thermal Water Rich Water Cream is a budget-friendly occlusive moisturizer that offers reliable moisturization.

Its unique thermal water formula is worth a mention. According to URIAGE, its water has traveled through the heart of the French Alps for 2000 years and as it flows through the rocks over time, it has become enriched with vitamins and minerals.

Sounds great but let’s get down to the nitty-gritty:

The texture is a little on the heavy side, which is to be expected with the inclusion of shea butter. However, it is not as heavy or greasy when compared to L’Occitane’s Comforting Cream. I do like the texture and I give it top marks for being nourishing and hydrating.

It also contains urea. Studies have shown that at lower doses of ≤10%, urea-containing topical formulations act as a skin moisturizer.[9]

My skin felt like it kept its moisture all day, and stayed well protected. The manufacturer states that the thermal water cream creates a film on the surface of the skin and gradually releases the moisturizing agents throughout the day. I’d have to agree with this. This is why I think it is a solid choice for those who have hectic lifestyles and are constantly on the move.

This moisturizer is quick and easy to apply, and with one application (for example, in the morning), its occlusive qualities keep the skin’s moisture balanced all day long. Whatsmore my skin stayed looking refreshed. If you are looking for a skin barrier rebuilder that feels almost instantaneous, then this product does the trick.

Sniff test:

It has a scent that is not super appealing or super unappealing to me. I’d say it’s very balanced, so no issues here. If you looking for a moisturizer with a scent on either end of the spectrum, then consider ZELEN Life Moisturizer (light scent) or L’Occitane’s Ultra-Rich Cream (strong scent).

It should be noted that this moisturizer is the smallest (in terms of size/quantity) on our list. Whereas, the other options are 1.7 fl / 50 ml and upwards, this moisturizer is 1.35 fl oz / 40 ml. Again, might be useful if you are on the go or traveling around in colder climates.

The good:

  • Restores the skin’s barrier quickly and easily when applied
  • Gradually releases moisture over time
  • Improves hydration and keeps it at its optimum throughout the day

Things to think about:

  • Smaller size
  • Scent is nothing special

Bottom line:

URIAGE Thermal Water Rich Water Cream is a useful occlusive moisturizer for those who are price and time-sensitive.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

Bioderma Atoderm Cream (Best for body)

Bioderma Atoderm Cream


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Bioderma’s Skin Protect Complex™ promotes a healthy skin barrier
  • Claims to be “for the whole family”
  • Body cream

The best occlusive moisturizer for:

Use on the body. Or for those who experience dry, patchy areas of skin.

Notable ingredients:

Mineral oil, Glycerin, Vaseline

Overview:

If you are looking for an occlusive moisturizer for your body, then the final product on our list is “last, but by no means least”.

Let’s talk about Bioderma’s Atoderm Cream:

With ingredients such as mineral oil, vaseline, and glycerin–This is a powerful occlusive, emollient, and humectant moisturizer all-in-one. This product feels extremely nourishing and hydrating right from the get-go! Plus, in my view, does provide the long-lasting moisture and softness that is claimed by the manufacturer. I applied it in the morning and it lasted all day without topping it up with further applications.

Is it suitable for the whole family?

Sure. Firstly, Bioderma is a reputable brand in the Dermatological world and is recognized by certain bodies, such as the National Eczema Association and the National Psoriasis Foundation, which certainly gives credibility. But now more about the product itself. It is fragrance-free, paraben-free, and suitable for sensitive skin types. Bioderma claims that this product was subject to a usage test of 20 volunteers aged 16 to 65, with dry to very dry and sensitive/damaged skin, for 7 days.

This indicates the wide age range. Also in their marketing, they present an image of a mother and a baby. I trust that Bioderma has performed the necessary tests to present this image. However, if you planned on using this product on a little one (or any product for that matter), I would always recommend performing a small patch test.

If it is intended for multiple users then one of its advantages is it is kind on the pocket. The low price tag makes this moisturizer a great budget option. With this in mind, it will be of no surprise that the pump packaging is pretty basic. Some users online have mentioned that they had issues with dispensing the pump, however, I did not experience any such problems. In fact, I think it can be conveniently used for all ages.

So, who is not suitable for?

Some of you out there will not be the biggest fans of the mineral oil inclusion. Let’s quickly look at both sides of the coin. Mineral oil is very good at sealing in moisture and softening the skin. However, due to its excellent occlusive properties, there are concerns that it could be clogging to the skin. This is understandable. Therefore, if you have acne-prone skin and plan to use this product on your face. It is probably best to skip it. If Mineral oil is a concern to you from a chemical and health standpoint, then consider the ZELEN Life Moisturizer from our list, as it is free of mineral oil.

I also found the product left my skin a little shiny after use. Perhaps not such an issue for body use but again, those with oily skin looking for a facial moisturizer can find a better option from our list.

The good:

  • Unfragranced
  • Non-sticky and fast-absorbing
  • Provides long-lasting hydration
  • Suitable for a range of ages and use in all-weather seasons

Things to think about:

  • Can leave your skin shiny

Bottom line:

Bioderma’s Atoderm Cream is a highly durable, multi-purpose occlusive moisturizer for dry, patchy skin. Being fragrance-free makes it a good choice for sensitive skin and people of all ages. Best to keep it for body use, though.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

How we chose these products

Our choices were shaped by the primary occlusive molecule. To suit everyone, we chose products with a variety of primary occlusive ingredients. This included paraffin, mineral oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter, among others.

We also covered various skin types. During the winter, irrespective of skin type, everyone is looking for a powerful occlusive moisturizer. So we covered moisturizers for all skin types, including those with sensitive and combination skin.

We considered people who suffer from acne and have inflamed red skin, blemishes, and scars so that multiple issues would be targeted. Since occlusive moisturizers need to last all day long, we added formulas that last 24 hours and do not need multiple applications.

Many of our choices can be applied at bedtime and last all day long. Some of them can also be worn under makeup, and some can be applied all over the body.

Many of them are lightweight and rapidly absorbing, making them suitable for just about any season. And we covered a range of budgets too.

Frequently asked questions

frequently asked questions

What is an occlusive moisturizer?

An occlusive moisturizer physically prevents or retards water loss. They effectively form a film or barrier to keep you from losing moisture. They also decrease itching and burning and make the skin feel smooth and soft.

What are some examples of occlusive ingredients?

Candelilla wax, beeswax, brazil wax, palm kernel, hard oils like almond oil, and castor oil, and cocoa butter are all examples of occlusive ingredients.

Lecithin, a fat that is essential in the body’s cells and found in many foods like soybeans, chickpeas, and egg yolks, is another example. Others are like mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin, which come from refining crude oil.

The oils fit between the dry skin cells and make them feel soft and smooth. Some are nature-like but still artificial, like allantoin and urea. The most famous occlusive moisturizer is petrolatum or Vaseline.

Lanolin, mineral oil, and silicones, such as dimethicone, are also examples of effective occlusive moisturizers.

When should I apply an occlusive moisturizer?

Apply an occlusive moisturizer immediately after bathing to trap additional water in the skin. Do it at any time of your day, depending on the texture and finish of your formula. Select a formula that lasts 24 hours.

How should I apply an occlusive moisturizer?

Because of their ingredients and texture, many occlusives need to be massaged into the skin and can take minutes to be fully absorbed. Though there are many lightweight formulas, these tend to require being worked into the skin.

Are occlusive moisturizers suitable for oily skin?

Yes, many lightweight formulas are created specifically for oily skin. Be careful, though, as they can clog pores and can worsen acne. Oily and combination skin types can benefit from humectant and occlusive moisturizer combinations.

Can I use another moisturizer with an occlusive?

Typically, occlusive moisturizers come with humectant or emollient ingredients. Several of them are now water-based as occlusives by themselves add no moisture to the skin. And so additional ingredients lend humectant properties to these formulas.

See if your moisturizer already has these ingredients. If not, then you can always use another moisturizer as a base and then use an occlusive moisturizer to seal it all in.

Can I use an occlusive moisturizer with makeup?

Occlusives tend to be dense, thick creams. Even lightweight formulas tend to form a barrier. You can use some that are designed to be worn under makeup. However, many don’t allow makeup to adhere, and they can also prevent the skin from breathing.

This is why many people choose to use it at night. Some companies tend to have an entire ranger built around an occlusive moisturizer because other products may just not work it.

Can I use an occlusive moisturizer after treatments?

If you’ve had laser or peels, it would be better to use the occlusive moisturizer lightly. Some are designed to reduce inflammation. If you’re using acids or retinol, you may want to skip that as this will trap any chemicals in your skin and exacerbate the inflammation.

Are occlusive moisturizers suitable for sensitive skin?

Yes. There are many formulas designed for sensitive skin. You may want to be careful as it can clog pores, and this can cause a breakout. This may not necessarily be acne but rather a clogged blackhead or whitehead, which might seem like a breakout or allergic reaction.

Alternatively, people with atopic dermatitis tend to have more bacteria on the skin, so it won’t take long for a clogged pore to turn into acne. Usually, these moisturizers tend to be very neutral substances.

What to do if I develop a reaction?

As always, do a patch test before using any product. See if you develop a breakout. Exfoliate once a week, and make sure you always apply an occlusive moisturizer on clean, damp skin. Discontinue the product if you develop a severe breakout.

How to clean up occlusive moisturizer?

Occlusives tend to stick to clothes and skin. Think Vaseline. The ones that do not get absorbed immediately tend to require soap or a cleanser for removal. While a scrub is not necessary, exfoliation needs to be part of the skincare routine.

The lightweight formula helps in this regard. Every company out there is trying to recreate the occlusive effects of petrolatum while being easier to clean up. Some of the newer formulas handle this issue well.

Conclusion

There are many wonderful occlusive moisturizers with various base ingredients. Keep in mind some of the pointers from our ‘before you buy’ section, and select an occlusive that is most suited to your needs.

Have you found your favorite occlusive moisturizer from our list?

Do share your choices with us. We’d love to know!

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References

  1. Meier L., Stange R., Michalsen A., Uehleke B. Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne—Results of a prospective, observational pilot study. Forsch Komplementmed. 2012;19:75–79. doi: 10.1159/000338076.
  2. Ranzato E., Martinotti S., Burlando B. Wound healing properties of jojoba liquid wax: An in vitro study. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2011;134:443–449. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.12.042.
  3. Araújo LU, Grabe-Guimarães A, Mosqueira VC, Carneiro CM, Silva-Barcellos NM. Profile of wound healing process induced by allantoin. Acta Cir Bras. 2010;25(5):460-466. doi:10.1590/s0102-86502010000500014
  4. Agero A.L., Verallo-Rowell V.M. A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis. Dermatitis. 2004;15:109–116. doi: 10.2310/6620.2004.04006.
  5. Agra L.C., Ferro J.N.S., Barbosa F.T., Barreto E. Triterpenes with healing activity: A systematic review. J. Dermatol. Treat. 2015;26:465–470. doi: 10.3109/09546634.2015.1021663.
  6. Danby S.G., AlEnezi T., Sultan A., Lavender T., Chittock J., Brown K., Cork M.J. Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: Implications for neonatal skin care. Pediatr. Dermatol. 2013;30:42–50. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2012.01865.x.
  7. Chen K, Liang Y, Zhang Y. Study on reflection of human skin with liquid paraffin as the penetration enhancer by spectroscopy. J Biomed Opt. 2013;18(10):105001. doi:10.1117/1.JBO.18.10.105001
  8. Hu L, Tan J, Yang X, et al. Polysaccharide Extracted from Laminaria japonica Delays Intrinsic Skin Aging in Mice. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:5137386. doi:10.1155/2016/5137386
  9. Celleno L. Topical urea in skincare: A review. Dermatol Ther. 2018;31(6):e12690. doi:10.1111/dth.12690
ZELEN Life Moisturizer
BEST FOR CLEAN SKINCARE
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PRIORI Barrier Restore Complex fx140
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URIAGE Thermal Water Rich Water Cream
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Bioderma Atoderm Cream
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About The Author

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Doctor and Seasoned Medical Writer

Doctor of Medicine MD (Angeles University College of Medicine)

United States

Pamela Q. Fernandes is a doctor and medical writer. Born and raised in Kuwait, she graduated from Angeles University College of Medicine, Philippines in 2007. Soon after that, she started her career as a medical writer and physician. Pamela is an advocate of preventive health, rural medicine, women’s health and tele-medicine having been active in these roles for the majority of her decade long career in medicine. As a seasoned medical writer, she has worked with many medical publishing houses and doctors, as well as pharmaceuticals, hospitals and practices. She specializes in training material for doctors and patient education material. As an academic writer, she is a qualified writer of articles for medical journals, case reports and medical presentations.

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