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Hydrating vs . Moisturizing: What’s the Difference?

It’ s the known fact that as the largest organ in our body, the skin we have needs a lot of water to keep its youthful glow. For this reason we often see makeup and skin care products that are specifically formulated to moisturize and hydrate our skin. However , very few of us know that moisturizing and hydration, although often utilized interchangeably, are not exactly the same thing. While they both supply our skin with much-needed nourishment, knowing the difference will help all of us make the best choice for our skin’ s specific needs.

The Difference

Moisturizers and hydrators both address the importance of making sure that the skin we have is getting all the moisture it needs to fight dryness, indications of aging and environmental damage. The difference, however , lies mainly on how they go about achieving this result.

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Our skin has a natural lipid barrier that protects alone from damage and water loss. If you’ lso are prone to having dry, flaky skin, that’ s the tell-tale sign that your skin isn’ t producing sufficient lipid cells to form a protective barrier, making it unable to secure moisture. And that’ s where moisturizers come in. These people help trap the natural oils and lipids on the surface of the skin, prevents water from evaporating, and maintains a healthful moisture balance. Hydration, on the other hand, refers to the amount of water within the skin, and hydrators are specially formulated with elements called humectants for this purpose: to increase water content by getting moisture from the air and delivering it down to the particular skin’ s layers.

In other words: “ Dried out skin lacks water and therefore requires hydration, ” explains  Nicole Akers, head of education and training from SkinCeuticals . “ Dry pores and skin lacks oil and needs to be moisturized. It is important to distinguish between both of these skin conditions because they can often be treated incorrectly. ”

What your skin needs

So , you ask, if both lotions and hydrators aid in providing our skin with moisture, how can we know which of the two our skin needs?

“ Both are important to maintain healthy skin, ” states board-certified dermatologist Carole Aponte, co-founder and chief healthcare officer of PREP Cosmetic makeup products . “ If you have your hands in water all day, your skin will be hydrated but will likely have lost all of the natural lotions on the surface. It will become rough and scaly as soon as the drinking water evaporates. Similarly, if your skin is dehydrated, it will show up dull no matter how much surface oil you apply. ”

“ While hydration is what makes our skin gentle, this result is transient if there is no oil safeguarding that hydration from evaporating and exiting the skin, “ adds Akers. “ Conversely, to apply oil on top of currently dehydrated skin may smooth it, but it will nevertheless lack the hydration that makes it feel soft and flexible. Dehydrated skin that is moisturized without receiving the amount of hydration will still look dull and feel uncomfortably restricted.   Dry skin that is hydrated but not moisturized may still flake and have a rough texture. ”

How to choose a moisturizer and  the hydrator  for your skin type

Based on board-certified dermatologist Hadley California king , how naturally dry or oily our skin is certainly, and how humid or dry the environment your skin lives in, can determine which types of products will be best for our skin.

While drinking plenty of water is still the easiest way to hydrate the skin we have, those with dry skin will benefit from a hydrator with hyaluronic acid . “ Hyaluronic acid is by far the gold standard for hydrating, ” says Akers.   “   It is found normally in the human body and it can hold up to a thousand times the weight in water. ” Other ingredients to keep an eye fixed out for are glycerin, alpha hydroxy acids, urea plus propylene glycol.

As for your moisturizer, go for rich creams packed with essential oils, fruit extracts, shea butter, cocoa butter and beeswax to help your skin keep moisture.

If you have sensitive or mature epidermis, reach for hydrators with natural humectants like aloe, honies and marine extracts like seaweed and algae. These types of ingredients are not only milder, they also contain a host of minerals and vitamins that the body absorbs as nutrients. When picking out a  moisturizer, consider oils extracted from sweet almond, apricot and coconut, as well as moringa and jojoba, which are identified not only for their gentle moisturizing and nourishing properties  also for countering signs of aging and free radical damage.

When it comes to oily skin or acne-prone skin, including both steps in your skin care routine may seem unnecessary, yet according to Akers, oily skin could be a sign of lacks. “ Women usually associate oil with breakouts— this really is simply not the case. Stripping the skin of any oil with out replacing it can cause your skin to respond by producing extra oil.   This reaction can overwhelm the skin pores and cause congestion and breakouts.   It will also trigger your skin to age faster, ” she says. “ My advice? Continue to hydrate and moisturize. Skin cures faster and most efficiently in a moist environment. ” Light-weight gels and creams that are labeled “ non-comedogenic” would be your best choices as they won’ t clog your pores and are more unlikely to cause breakouts.

About the author

Gracee Tolentino