Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF)



Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) description

Substances within skin’s uppermost layers that help keep it smooth, hydrated and healthy-looking. Topical application helps reinforce skin’s surface so skin takes on a younger, replenished appearance. NMFs make up an expansive group of ingredients that include amino acids, lactic acid, sodium PCA, various sugars and minerals, and peptides. Together with the naturally-occurring lipids in skin (examples would be ceramides, cholesterol, and glycosaminoglycans), NMF’s work to keep skin’s surface intact and supple.It is worth noting that routine exposure to sensitising ingredients like drying cleanising agents and denatured alcohol cause serious depletion of skin’s natural moisturising factors, leading to visibly dry, tight-feeling, flaky skin.

Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) references

  • Acta-dermato Venerologica, November 2016, pages 880-884
  • Journal of Cosmetic Science, January-February 2010, pages 13-22
  • Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, September-October 2004, pages 207-213
  • Progressive Lipid Research, January 2003, pages 1-36
  • Journal of Lipid Research, May 2002, pages 794-804
  • Clinical Geriatric Medicine, February 2002, pages 103-120
  • Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, November 2002, pages 587-594
  • Journal of Investigative Dermatology, May 1996, pages 1096-1101
  • British Journal of Dermatology, November 1995, pages 679-685

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.