Moisturizers are a category of skincare I generally regard as difficult to get right. It’s up there with sunscreen as one of the trickiest skincare items to tick every box of needs and wants.
And yet, it’s arguably one of the most important products we use. Look, moisturizers may not be the most exciting skincare item (hello, sexy serums) but it’s the final layer we use on our skin. The product we rely on to protect us from moisture loss, to keep all those other precious skincare layers put. And it’s the layer (sunscreen aside) that protects our skin from the elements. It has definitely got a big job to do.
Which is why I’m excited to introduce you to this week’s product for review, the Illiyoon Ceramide Ato Concentrate Cream. This cream ticks so many boxes for me that it has replaced my longtime favorite moisturizer, Cerave Moisturizing Cream!
My skin type: Combo/dry, dehydrated, sensitive
**Note** Illiyoon recently made a slight change to the ingredients in its Ato Concentrate Cream. I still absolutely love this moisturizer, and wanted to share that update with you. My recent “Top 5 Moisturizers of 2021” addresses this “blink and you’ll miss it” edit – AND my continued love for Illiyoon!
What Puts the Ato in Ato Concentrate Cream?
What’s an ato cream? In Korea “ato” refers to the word atopic and hence is describing sensitive skin (think atopic dermatitis). Many products that are aimed at sensitive skin types will use the term “ato” to help identify their product as being “sensitive skin friendly.”
Illiyoon describes its Ato Concentrate Cream: Contain[ing] Ceramide Skin Complex™, which is a patented ingredient jointly developed by Amorepacific and AESTURA, using world’s first Ceramide encapsulation technology. It encapsulates ceramides that form the skin barrier, helping to deliver and absorb valuable ingredients deep into the skin.
We have to start with the Ceramide Skin Complex. Amorepacific (Illiyoon parent company) and their affiliate brand Aestura have developed a pseudo-ceramide complex (lab made Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide MEA) that is delivered to your skin in an interesting way, through capsules.
These capsules appear in the cream as little white flakes which burst, or melt down, as you apply the cream to your skin. This is meant to get the ceramides to absorb into the skin at a deeper level and therefore making them more effective for skin repair and protection. The cream is dual use, meant for body and face and comes in a convenient flip tube packaging (larger 500ml size comes in a tub).
INGREDIENTS: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Stearic Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane, Palmitic Acid, Behenyl Alcohol, Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide Mea, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Magnolia Biondii Flower Extract, Cholesterol, Perilla Ocymoides Seed Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, C14-22 Alcohols, Glyceryl Caprylate, Dimethiconol, Mannitol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Silica, Arachidyl Glucoside, Arachidyl Alcohol, Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polysorbate 20, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Propanediol
Highlights: Fragrance, essential oil and alcohol free.
Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide MEA: Also known as Ceramide PC 104, is a lab-made ceramide that mimics the benefits of ceramide 3 (ceramide NP). Lab made, or pseudo-ceramides, are claimed to be easier to formulate and less expensive than traditional ceramides.
The effectiveness of Ceramide PC 104 has been studied and concluded to be effective for eczema treatment, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) reduction and improvement in skin smoothness. (Source)
The cream has also been formulated with our favorite ceramide helpers: fatty acid and cholesterol.
Yoon Complex — Traditional Herbal Extracts: Illiyoon is a brand that has a focus on combining skincare science with traditional Korean heritage ingredients. We can see this with the inclusion of ginseng extract, fermented soybean, magnolia extract and perilla ocymoides seed extract which all have anti-inflammatory benefits for skin.
This is a pretty standard medium-weight cream on first glance. When you start to spread this, you’ll see the difference — tiny white flakes or capsules which hold the ceramide power. You might be able to feel the capsules on your skin as you spread the cream; I personally wasn’t bothered or irritated by this sensation, it’s very subtle.
The cream spreads easily and absorbs very quickly. As stated before, this is a medium-weight cream that packs a nice moisturizing punch. What’s really special about this cream, in my mind, is that it has no hint of a greasy or shiny finish.
Most barrier-focused creams can leave a rich finish on skin, resulting in a semi-greasy looking face or a long “absorb time” before you can easily apply sunscreen and makeup over it. Not with Illiyoon, this has a most pleasant and easy wearing neutral finish!
The cream carries no scent to it.
I was recommended this cream by one of my YouTube subscribers, and I must admit I got really excited when I looked up the ingredients. As someone with sensitive skin and a keen interest in ingredients, you know I’m going into every purchase with loads of research. And this product hooked me in before I ever had it in my hands… or on my face!
Let’s fast forward to me using the cream. It might have been love at first use. Seriously, this cream just won me over so quickly with its silky and comforting feel on the skin, plus that neutral finish just made me so happy. I could get the nourishment and comfort I need without grease and a finish that wasn’t going to be too heavy for my oily t-zone. #comboskinproblems
This works perfectly with sunscreen and makeup layered over it. I never experienced pilling, slipping or a heavy feeling when using this.
While my skin has blessedly been free of any major irritation, I have had a few minor incidents of dryness or slight sensitivity that I was able to test this cream on.
I found this cream was perfect for alleviating any irritation related to dryness (dehydration, stripping products/ingredients/seasonal allergies, etc.). This totally comforts and nourishes dry, weak skin quickly and effectively. This is also protective enough for those concerned about dehydration, transepidermal water loss and environmentally caused dryness.
For areas of irritation due to reactive skin, I found this was OK on its own but did best paired with a specifically soothing product, like a cica cream.
I’ve used this both morning and night with success, and have found its moisturizing and protecting capabilities to be impressive enough that I don’t need to use a sleeping pack at night.
There’s very little I can fault this product for. It’s a simple and straightforward formulation that gets the job done, comforts and protects my sensitive, dehydrated skin and has a neutral finish that makes this easy to use in any routine without worry. I would totally be down for a huge pump bottle so I could slather my entire self, head to toe, in this silky cream!
I love it! This cream has many benefits to it:
- Nourishing and moisturizing for dry skin
- Non-greasy finish works for oily areas, combo skin win
- Protective enough to reduce TEWL for dehydrated skin
- Works well with sunscreen and makeup
- AM or PM appropriate
- Affordable and generous size, 200ml around $20
Recommended for: combo, dry, dehydrated and/or sensitive skin types
Illiyoon Ceramide Ato Concentrate Cream
(code KELLYDRIS saves 5% for new customers [2% for returning] on your next yesstyle order)*
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