Even if you have never heard of the ingredient ceresin before, chances are you have used it. Ceresin is an emulsifier used as a wax to help certain products, such as salves and balms, bind and maintain their consistency. It can be a suitable substitute for kerosene and beeswax, as it helps stabilize skin care products. Ceresin also helps to make the less brittle products by adding strength and stability to cosmetics in stick form, such as lipstick. As a thickening agent, it prevents the liquid and oily parts of an emulsion from separating.
"A mineral wax from coal or shale, or synthesized from petroleum, ceresin can be used in place of beeswax and kerosene and works in the same way as both by stabilizing the consistency of a product," says board-certified cosmetic dermatologic surgeon Howard Sobel, MD. "Typically found in lip care products (lip balms and masks), ceresin is also used in skin creams thicker and repairing and medical ointments. It is also used in color cosmetics and hair care.
In other words, ceresin is much more common than you might think, as it's found in everything from lipsticks to eyeliner, lip gloss, mascara and skin care. "Since it's in so many personal care products, chances are you've used it before," says Tracy Evans, board-certified dermatologist, MPH. Ahead, Evans and Sobel break down everything there is to know about ceresin, from its benefits to the best products that include the ingredient.
Meet the expert
Ingredient Type: Texture enhancer
Key Benefits: A natural mineral wax, it is mainly used as a thickening agent in cosmetics.
Who should use it: It is a common and safe binding ingredient for most, as it is unlikely to irritate the skin or cause rashes. Discontinue use if you experience irritation or itching, as you may be allergic.
How often to use it: Ceresin is safe for daily use.
Works well with : Primarily a thickening ingredient, ceresin works well in formulas that need help with binding and consistency. It is useful in emulsions of a range of make-up and skin care products.
Do not use with : Ceresin is not a particularly reactive ingredient, so it works well with most routines. However, if you experience irritation or if it seems to alter the effectiveness of your other products, you may want to stop using it or change the way you use it.
What is ceresin?
Ceresin is a white or yellow wax derived from ozocerite, a natural fossil wax found near soft shale, Evans explains. She notes that it is valued for its stability and high melting point and often replaces beeswax.
"Ceresin is a derivative of clay and is used as a thickening and emulsifying agent in skin care products "Sobel explains. "It is used as a hardening wax for stick cosmetics. It is common in skin care and color cosmetics. Because of its waxy texture, ceresin is primarily used to help a formula achieve consistency. Because of its waxy constitution, it can be used as a protective barrier in skin care, creating an occlusive film to hold ingredients in the skin and block harmful pollutants.
Benefits of Ceresin for the skin
"He is used to improve the productsThe main purpose of ceresin is to be a thickening agent that keeps the oil and liquid parts of an emulsion from separating. "Its main purpose is as a thickening agent that prevents the oil and liquid parts of an emulsion from separating. As a wax, it helps harden lipid (oil) based solutions such as ointments or balms.
Ceresin works well with oil-based creams, hair care products or balms and allows oils and liquid ingredients to emulsify without separation. "Ceresin wax is compatible with a wide variety of solvents, oils, fats, resins, petroleum jelly and other waxes," says Sobel.
Got thirsty skin? You may want to look for products with ceresin. "It's best for non-sensitive, thicker, drier skin that can be rough and flaky," says Sobel. "This will help revitalize the skin and speed up the healing time of dry, cracked skin. It works by protecting the skin barrier and sealing in water and other restorative ingredients. It should only be avoided on sensitive skin that develops a reaction.
Side effects of Ceresin
Ceresin is not an ingredient that will keep you up at night wondering what it might trigger in your skin. "It has low irritation and low comedogenicity, which means it won't cause acne," says Evans. However, Sobel warns that some skin types may have an allergic reaction to ceresin. "It can be used daily unless irritation or itching occurs," he says.
How to use it
"It's not an ingredient you would use on its own," says Dr. Sobel. "Products containing ceresin should be used last to seal in other products-such as serums and boosters-applied beforehand."
The best products with Ceresin
One of Sobel's choices for its relief Impressive for dry skin, this rich cream will soothe even the thirstiest of complexions. Safe for sensitive skin, it's free of fragrance, dyes and parabens, making it a great choice for everyday use.
Evans says this clean beauty favorite is ideal for use on the entire face to add a touch of color to eyes, lips and cheeks. The balm gives off a gorgeous glow and makes monochromatic makeup foolproof.
Another Sobel favorite, this ointment is so soothing that cracked skin doesn't stand a chance. It creates a protective barrier to optimize healing and hydration. Spread it anywhere dry skin needs attention, including hands, feet, lips, elbows and even minor wounds.
For a pencil that stays put, you'll want this Lorac eyeliner, which comes in a range of shades, in your arsenal. Designed to last, the waterproof pencil is packed with pigment and won't budge, but it stays super smooth.
Sobel selected this three-in-one cleanser for its ability to remove makeup, cleanse and moisturize in one step. Best of all, there's no need for water-it liquefies as soon as it touches your skin, so you can wipe it off.
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