Moisturizer vs Hydration: Which one do you need and what's the difference?
A good balance between water and oil in our skin helps us maintain a healthy supple and glowing skin. You have likely heard of the term “hydrate” and “moisturize” your skin. While these terms are interchangeable, they are not quite the same.
In short, hydrates normally involve water, while moisturize involve oil. If your skin is dehydrated (lack of water), it means you need a hydrating product. And if you have dry patchy skin (lack of oil), it means you need a moisturizing product. In this article, we will cover the difference between hydration and moisture, how to determine if your skin is dry or dehydrated and what products are best fit for your skin’s needs.
Let’s Define “HYDRATE” AND “MOISTURIZE”
What is the hydration and Hydrator?
“Hydration” is the process where “water” in the air is absorbed and infused by the skin cells, which help improve the skin’s ability to absorb moisture and nutrients.
A hydrator, such as the widely known hyaluronic acid, helps to bring water to the skin by collecting moisture from the environment and bind it to the skin, which allows the skin to absorb the water. Products that aid in hydration are typically serums.
It is important to include a “hydrator” in your skincare routine. Every skin needs hydration, whether you are dry, oily, combination skin or has skin concern such as acne and aging. COSRX HYDRIUM TRIPLE HYALURONIC MOISTURE AMPOULE is the perfect example of a hydrator we have. Hydration is like your skin drinking water; your skin will become dehydrated when it hasn’t “drink” water for a while.
How do I know if my skin is dehydrated?
There are various factors that may lead to skin dehydration, including your lifestyle, environmental stressors or the products you use. Dehydrated skin doesn’t necessarily means your skin is dry. If your skin is dehydrated, you may feel a mixture of oily and dry parts on the skin, your skin tends to look dull, feel tight, and even sensitive. You may also experience breakout due to the excessive oil production. This happens because when the skin becomes dehydrated, it tends to produce more oil to make up for the lack of water content, which eventually lead to acne and breakouts.
What ingredient should I use to fix dehydrated skin?
Despite the name, Hyaluronic acid (HA) does not belong to the Acid Family. It is in fact a sugar found naturally in our skin that holds water and helps keep it hydrated and plump. Hyaluronic Acid can holds a thousand times its weight in water, to retain all that moisture in our skin and joints as well as prevent all that moisture loss. A concentrated Hyaluronic Acid usually comes in serum or essence form, here are a few products we recommend:
Panthenol are quite similar to Hyaluronic acid. It hydrates the skin by attracting moisture to the skin and holds water in the skin, allowing the skin to produce moisture and hydrate from within. It is formulated to penetrate dehydrated skin and add that soothing, hydrated glow.
WHAT IS MOISTURIZING & MOISTURIZER?
“Moisturizing” helps build up your skin’s protective barrier by locking in the moisture in your skin, preventing any water loss and ensure that your skin remains soft and smooth.
Every skin contains natural oil (lipid) barried, which helps prevent moisture loss. As we age, our skin becomes drier and the oil barrier starts to break down. This leads to moisture loss in the skin, causes dry skin and wrinkle or fine lines.
A moisturizer contains oils that help lock in hydration and keep the skin feeling soft and smooth. Moisturizer usually refers to lotions, oils, and creams to help lock in moisture. If your skin is oilier, look for lighter weight lotions or cream. If you have dry skin, rich creams are best.
How do I know if my skin is dry?
If you have dry skin, you may feel tight and tends to be uncomfortable, flaky, itchy, and dull. The common dry areas on the face are typically near the eyebrows and around the corners of the nose and mouth. Dry skin happens when your skin lacks the ability to produce the amount of oil needed to form a protective skin barrier, water will evaporate from the skin, which leads to trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).
What types of ingredients moisturize?
Glycerine is a humectant, which is a substance that retains moisture. Research has shown that glycerine mimics the skin’s natural moisturising factor (NMF), which makes glycerin compatible with all skin types and all ages. Glycerine has numerous benefits for the skin, but it primarily serves to hydrate skin and help it hold on to moisture. Most moisturizers contain glycerin or glycerol as part of the main ingredient. A few of our recommendation are:
Ceramides are lipids (fats) that are found naturally in the uppermost layers of skin, over 50% of skin’s composition are made up with ceramides and they plays an important role in determining how your skin looks. Ceramides are arguably one of the most vital and effective ingredient to help retain moisture on your skin. It holds skin together by forming a protective layer that limits moisture loss, as well as protects against visible damage from pollution and external stressors.
We highly recommend the ceramides line from Dr Jart:
DO YOU NEED BOTH HYDRATION AND MOISTURE FOR YOUR SKIN?
The simple answer is Yes. Hydration and Moisture is like the perfect combo for soft, supple and glowing skin. Hydrator adds water to the skin, makes our skin soft and supple. However, it won’t stay long if there isn’t a protective oil barrier to prevent the “water” from escaping. Meanwhile, moisturizer helps prevent that water (moisture) loss by forming a protective barrier. But if we use only moisturizer on dehydrated skin, the skin may look smooth but on the inside, it is lacking “water”. Your skin won’t feel bouncy and soft due to the lack of hydration. With that said, it is best to use both hydrator and moisturizer together.
Simply put, dehydrated skin lacks water and needs to be hydrated, while dry skin lacks oil and needs to be moisturized. It’s also important to understand that Dry Skin is a skin type, while dehydrated skin is not, but in fact something that anyone, no matter their skin type is, can experience.
While the use of hydrator and moisturizer are easily interchangeable, it is also important to analyse your skin and understand which one your skin lacks more – Do you lack water or oil, Are you dehydrated or dry? This helps you choose right products and the right ingredients, and determine which product (hydrator or moisturizer) you should use more often.