Difference Between Hydrating and Moisturizing?

You might think you know the difference between “Hydrating” and “Moisturizing,” but many users of skincare products commonly use these terms back and forth, insinuating that they have the same meaning. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In order to achieve the most efficient skincare routine, it’s crucial to know which ingredients to look out for, the order to use products, and what each step’s purpose is in treating your skin.

The same rules don’t apply to everyone. Each individual’s skin is different and some users need more maintenance and in-depth routines than others. Whether your skin is oilier or drier, or you need a normal amount of attention to your routine, there is often always a way to determine which steps to take.

But first, how exactly is “hydrating” the skin different from “moisturizing” the skin?

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What is Hydrating for your skin?

“Hydrating” the skin essentially means using products that help provide the skin with essential moisture. No, this doesn’t mean you are “moisturizing” the skin. That’s a different process! By hydrating the skin, it is being given enough water so that it can absorb the moisture and nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy balance.

Ultimately, this prevents the skin from getting dehydrated, which can cause dull-looking skin. By providing the skin with enough hydration, it will also start to appear plumper, and bouncier, and have more elasticity, which is lost over time through various factors such as aging and external conditions.

People with all types of skin are susceptible to dehydration. Factors such as lack of water consumption, an unhealthy diet, inefficient sleep, and stress can lead to dehydrated skin. This is why certain cosmetic products contain hyaluronic acid, an aiding ingredient that adds water to the skin and helps the skin to absorb that water source.

Humectants, which are hydrating ingredients, aim to draw water from the deepest layers of the skin, the dermis. They then bring the water to the outermost layer, the epidermis. These include common cosmetic sources such as honey, gelatin, and alpha hydroxy acids. If you see humectants included in a product, chances are it’s going to work well for water absorption.

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What is Moisturizing for your skin?

When dermatologists talk about “moisturizing” the skin, they are not referring to the skin being provided with essential moisture. This process helps the skin to retain the moisture provided while hydrating it. While you want to keep your skin hydrated with dehydrated skin, for those more prone to dry skin, moisturizing regularly is important to maintain healthy skin. Particularly in winter months, when the air is drier, it’s even more crucial to not forget this step in your skincare routine.

When people are more prone to dry skin, this means the skin isn’t producing enough oil. By moisturizing regularly, further water loss is prevented, all the while reinforcing the skin’s barriers so that it is well protected from external agents and factors.

Skin that isn’t moisturized enough often appears dull, similar to dehydrated skin. It can also appear tighter and flaky, which is why many experience skin peeling in the dry winter months. Dry skin can be caused by many components, including old age, hormones, and genetics.

When it comes to moisturizing, ingredients such as glycerin and ceramides are your best friend. These ingredients lead to thicker substances than hydrating products and help to retain more moisture in the skin.

Humectants, which also help with hydration, have their own category of moisturizing humectants as well. Occlusives, which can work in the form of oils and lipids, create a layer on the skin to further prevent the loss of water in the skin. These can be found in ingredients such as beeswax, mineral oils, and petrolatum.

Emollients are also moisturizing humectants to look out for when browsing for a skincare product. These help to strengthen the skin’s outermost protective barrier. They also improve your skin’s overall appearance and texture.

Protein rejuvenators, including keratin, elastin, and collagen, are some of the best ingredients to pursue when it comes to efficient skincare. These essential proteins replenish the skin and keep it looking bright and smooth.

As you may have guessed, many skincare products contain both “moisturizing” and “hydrating” ingredients, such as glycerin. Despite some of these crossovers, it’s still beneficial to ensure both your hydrating and moisturizing routines are conducted separately, as the crossover ingredients have different functions in both.

Aside from hydrating and moisturizing, you can keep your skin healthy by getting regularly screened for skin cancer and avoiding smoking, which increases the aging process. When using products, try to refrain from scrubbing the skin and look for gentler facial cleansers. Most importantly, always put on sunscreen before leaving the house during the day so your skin is well-protected, as this is a major cause of premature lines and wrinkles.

Conclusion : Hydrating vs. Moisturizing

Everyone’s skin reacts differently to everything from external factors to skincare ingredients. Some users’ skin characteristics benefit more from adequate daily water consumption, increasing hydration in the epidermis. For each individual’s needs, skin care products should be chosen based on skin type, whether it be oily, sensitive, dry, or a combination.

In our age of the Internet and countless resources for healthier skin, there’s no reason to let your skin suffer! Our skin does so much for us every day without us realizing that it’s fighting external factors to keep our protective barrier enforced. We can show our gratitude by giving back the sentiment and maintaining both proper hydration and moisturization, each providing its own benefits when implemented through skincare products.