Are Natural or Store-Bought Moisturizers More Effective?

By Wynn Brown
Junior Category (Grades 7-8)
Experiment | Biology

For my science fair experiment, I tested the effectiveness of different moisturizers on a gelatin skin model. To find out which one would retain the most moisture over a set period of time. I tested four different moisturizers, two natural moisturizers Pure Aloe Vera (from an Aloe Vera plant) and Coconut Oil and two store-bought moisturizers; Eucerin which claims to moisturize for forty-eight hours and Aveeno which claims to moisturize for twenty-four hours.

Before my experiment I researched “Why humans get dry skin?” and “How store-bought moisturizers work?”. Human’s skin becomes dry when the sebaceous glands covering our skin age. These glands produce an oily substance called sebum which covers our skin and retains moisture. When sebaceous glands age they produce less sebum and our skin dries out. Moisturizers work by supplying our skin with a small amount of moisture and oils replicating sebum.

I tested the different moisturizers by spreading a sample of each moisturizer on individual gelatin skin models. I left one model bare as a control to gauge moisture loss. I weighed the models at intervals of six hours, twelve hours, twenty-four hours and forty-eight hours. I repeated the trials 3 times.

I predicted that the two natural moisturizers would be the most effective in retaining moisture. I predicted that Coconut Oil would be most effective because it supplies the skin (model) with rich and fatty oils that best replicate sebum. I predicted that Aloe Vera would be effective because it has a 95% water content and will supply the skin (model) with moisture. The remaining 5% in Aloe Vera is made up of different substances including proteins found in plants used to retain moisture.

I found that my hypothesis was partially correct. Coconut Oil lost the least moisture in all 3 trials, losing fewer than 5 grams of moisture during each trial. Aloe Vera lost the most moisture through all 3 trials. I observed that the Coconut Oil was the richest in consistency and felt the greasiest. hereas Aloe Vera was liquid like. This led me to believe that the key to a moisturizer’s effectiveness is the grease substance that retains the moisture by covering the skin and preventing moisture loss. Although the two store bought moisturizers made different claims, they shared very similar results. Both moisturizers contain similar ingredients and share a similar consistency.

To conclude, my experiment results show me that the Coconut Oil was the most effective moisturizer. The results also showed me that the effectiveness of a moisturizer is dependent on the oils found in a moisturizer that provide an effective covering to prevent moisture loss.

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