When is a water ball really full? Sure, if it's closed. It looks similar with plump skin. Here, occlusive ingredients in skin care provide the necessary seal against moisture loss. Which ingredients have this effect and what should be considered? Quite a lot, because there is also too much of a good thing.
Plump skin: This is the role played by occlusive skin care
Plump like baby skin - what makes it so tight
Babies have really nice plump skin. Everything is round and soft. This is due to an abundance of collagen, elastin and moisture in the skin. And of course the baby fat, which cushions everything nicely from below. But the chubby cheeks grow together and the once tight contours sag a little with age. The skin can look tired and at the latest when the first fine lines appear, we want the baby skin back. The process is completely normal and cannot be prevented entirely, but it can be slowed down.
Why does the skin lose firmness?
The skin produces less collagen and elastin over time. She begins to lose more than she can make. In addition, their ability to store moisture is reduced. We have often highlighted the role of hydrophilic, i.e. water-binding, substances such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin in our blog. But just as important are occlusive, i.e. sealing materials. They reduce the transepidermal moisture loss (TEWL), i.e. water escaping through the skin barrier. Because if the skin becomes slack, it also happens faster.
📸 On Instagram we often see +40s that look like they just hatched. What care do they use? They probably also invest in this, but sensational results usually result from reaching deep into the beauty bag of tricks: soft focus, contouring and also popular: injections. So be gentle with your skin in real life. Do you really have to be considered your five year old's "big sister" at 40?! Come on …
get plump skin
Good skin care cannot do magic, but it can make a big difference. Especially if you start early and are consistent. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, it is your most sustainable remedy against skin aging . Two things are needed for plump skin: hydration & occlusion.
Supply your skin with moisture (aka water) and moisture-binding substances like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Then the skin can perform its functions better, including regeneration . This is why moisture balance is so important to slow down aging. In addition, well-moisturized skin appears plumper because it simply stores more water. That's why you look fresher and more youthful immediately after a moisturizing mask. But moisturizing alone is not enough, you must also keep it. This is where the occlusives come into play.
Occlusive ingredients prevent water from evaporating from the skin : keyword TEWL. Oils and waxes have this effect. They form a thin physical film on the skin through which water cannot escape, or less quickly.
Occlusion synthetic versus natural - a huge difference
There are big differences between conventional and natural cosmetics. Conventional products rely on mineral oil-based substances such as paraffin oil, silicone or vaseline ( petrolatum ) - it is by far the most occlusive substance in skin care. However, apart from sealing, i.e. the look, they have absolutely no value for the skin. Instead, natural cosmetics rely on vegetable oils and waxes that interact with the skin. They also improve the look, but can do even more. Let's see the difference.
Visible effects of occlusive
The skin is sealed by fats and water is trapped in the top layer of skin. Then something happens that you know from chia seeds: If you add water, they swell and result in a taut, elastic mass. The same happens in the skin. Water gets trapped and accumulates. The skin appears fuller and smoother due to the swelling effect . Small wrinkles are optically reduced.
If you add extra moisture to your skin along with the occlusives , this effect will be enhanced. It is therefore important to combine an oil-based care product with hydrosols, moisturizing serums or gels. This helps to stabilize the skin barrier and is the be-all and end-all of healthy skin.
☝️ Vaseline increases the thickness of the top layer of skin by about 32% 1 . But the swelling effect is always temporary . As soon as the layer is removed again, i.e. the cream containing Vaseline or silicone is washed off, the effect also disappears.
How much occlusion is good for the skin?
Well, if the wrinkles disappear, then the more the merrier, right? Unfortunately, no. A slightly occlusive effect in skin care is desirable, especially for dry and mature skin. But there is also too much water in the skin. A healthy stratum corneum , ie the upper layer of skin, has a water content of 10-20% 2 . Strong occlusions can exceed this value by far and increase the water content by up to 50% 2 - keyword Vaseline . Problems can arise if they are used over a long period of time.
If there is too much water, the skin barrier is destabilized and therefore more permeable. We sometimes really notice that after swimming. The skin is soaked like a sponge, but doesn't necessarily feel good. What's more: germs like to settle in swollen skin and can trigger skin diseases 2, 3 . Therefore, occlusion must be approached with caution.
👍 Natural oils ensure a dosed occlusion . They seal less tightly than mineral oils, but have a longer lasting effect. The skin can process vegetable fats and waxes. They help repair the skin's barrier, making it less dependent on an outside seal.
For which skin types is occlusion useful?
External occlusion is not equally important for everyone. Because the skin has its own effective occlusive at hand: sebum . She produces this lipid mix herself. However, her production is not always equally lavish. Who should help out and who should use greasy care sparingly?
Occlusion makes sense
- For dry skin : it produces too few lipids to protect itself.
- For mature skin : it becomes increasingly dry and loses moisture more quickly.
- In winter : The skin's own lipid production is severely restricted in cold temperatures. However, lipids protect against cold and dry heating air, so a go for all skin types at this time of year.
Dose occlusive ingredients carefully
- With young skin: Its functions are usually all intact.
- For oily skin : It naturally produces (more than) enough sebum.
- For rosacea : Mineral oils are taboo, as there is a risk of heat build-up! You should simply dose vegetable oils and natural cosmetic facial oils sparingly.
☝️ This does not mean that you have to avoid oils in care products with these skin types in general. But focus more on hydration with light serums or gels. We often have a good sense of what our skin needs at the moment. Your subjective feeling and observation is worth a lot here. Nothing beats trying it out!
Occlusive substances are a no go
- In perioral dermatitis : In perioral dermatitis , the horny layer is abnormally swollen and particularly susceptible to colonization by germs. Here the horny layer has to dry out so that the disease can heal!
Expand your skin care expertise now!
Receive useful skin care tips twice a month for a better skin balance and relaxed skin.
You can also benefit from exclusive discounts that we have for our readers.
Occlusion and the FIVE products: what does your care routine look like?
As we now know, plump skin needs moisture and occlusion. We developed the FIVE facial serum to hydrate the skin. The rose water contained in the product is bound by hyaluronic acid and glycerin. It forms a hydrating film on your skin and feels light as a feather.
And now the occlusive component: Combine the FIVE facial serum with one of our oily facial products.
- The FIVE facial oils have a slightly occlusive effect due to the vegetable squalane.
- The FIVE Shea Cream offers a little more occlusion thanks to its rich texture with shea butter - ideal for dry to very dry skin and of course in winter.
Dry and mature skin
Normal skin, oily skin and combination skin
→ Use our FIVE facial serum to hydrate your skin and use the FIVE facial oil – impure skin . In midsummer you can do without the oil if you have very oily skin. Then your skin produces a particularly large amount of sebum.
All the best!
1 C. Choe et al., "Stratum corneum occlusion induces water transformation towards lower bonding state: a molecular level in vivo study by confocal Raman microspectroscopy", 21 July 2020; https://doi.org/10.1111/ics.12653
2 Hongbo Zhai et al.: "Occlusion vs. skin barrier function", 2002 Feb;8(1):1-6. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0909-752x.2001.10311.x
3 "Occlusion (Pharmacy)", Wikipedia; Last viewed: Oct 30, 2021; https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okklusion_(Pharmazie)