Occlusives perform the primary function of forming a protective layer over your skin’s surface.
The term occlusive was borrowed from the English word ‘occlude’, which means ‘to block’ or ‘to stop’. In skincare, occlusives block the entry of foreign particles such as dirt and their way into the skin.
They also hate water and do not mix with it. This keeps all the moisture in the skin sealed in.
Think of an occlusive as a barrier or gate that prevents (or blocks) entry of nasties and exit of the ‘good stuff’ in your skin.
Key features & benefits:
– Are moisturizing
– Prevent TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss)
– Prevent entry of foreign bacteria and toxins into the skin
– Typically, are perceived as ‘oily’ or ‘waxy’
Ideal and most effective way of usage:
Pair them with a humectant. The humectant would deliver moisture and hydration to your skin, while the occlusive would keep it ‘trapped’ inside of your skin for long, slowly releasing moisture on your skin as needed and preventing it from drying out.
Best work for: people with dry skin but I feel everyone should possess sufficient hydration in their skin bed and this can only be achieved by using a combination of occlusive + humectant (+ emollient, if desired) for their skin.
Best examples: plant oils and waxes.
Misconception: Occlusives prevent the skin from ‘breathing’. This is not true and we will discuss why at a later stage.