water-binding agent. Wide range of ingredients that help skin retain water (moisture). Glycerin is one of the more typical and effective water-binding agents used in cosmetics. One group of water-binding agents can mimic the skin’s actual structure and can be of benefit in a formulation; these include ceramide, lecithin, glycerin, polysaccharides, hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, mucopolysaccharides, sodium PCA, collagen, elastin, proteins, amino acids, cholesterol, glucose, sucrose, fructose, glycogen, phospholipids, glycosphingolipids, and glycosaminoglycans. No single one of these is preferred over another because even though they are all effective, none of them can permanently change the actual structure of skin. Seenatural moisturizing factor (NMF).