An occlusive is a type of skincare ingredient or product that creates a physical barrier on the surface of the skin, preventing transepidermal moisture loss and helping to protect the skin from external irritants. Occlusives work by forming a protective layer on the skin, which helps to lock in moisture and prevent it from evaporating. Common examples of occlusive ingredients include petrolatum, mineral oil, beeswax, and lanolin. These ingredients are often used in skincare products such as moisturizers, balms, and ointments, and are particularly beneficial for those with dry or dehydrated skin, as well as those with sensitive skin. Occlusives can be particularly useful during cold, dry winter months when the skin is more prone to dryness and irritation. They can also be helpful for those with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, which can cause dry, flaky patches of skin.
However, it is important to note that occlusives are not for everyone. For those with oily or acne-prone skin, occlusives may exacerbate these conditions by clogging pores and causing breakouts. Those with very sensitive skin may also experience irritation or allergic reactions to certain occlusive ingredients. When using occlusives, it is important to choose products that are formulated for your skin type and to follow the instructions carefully. Generally, occlusives should be applied as the final step in your skincare routine, after other products such as serums or moisturizers.