Hydration vs. Moisturization - What's the difference?

February 5, 2019

 

 

When it comes to learning proper skin care, there are a lot of different terms that need distinguishing. One common misconception is that hydration and moisturization are the same thing. Although hydration and moisturization both work to ensure that our skin receives enough moisture, skin may be moisturized daily and yet still dry. 

 

While moisturization acts as a way to help your skin retain moisture, creams specifically help lock in moisture while creating a protective skin barrier at the same time. This step is very important in taking proper care of your skin. You should always moisturize your skin in order to reinforce its natural lipid barrier to protect itself from damage and loss of water. If you are lacking in water content then the signs of dry skin may still be an issue. It may feel temporarily resolved with the application of a cream and yet return quicker than anticipated which may lead you to think that your moisturizer is not doing its job. Provided that your cream is comprised of natural ingredients and will not lead to an unbalanced PH level, it is likely that this is not the issue but instead that you do not have enough water in your skin to begin with or that the cream is not designed to specifically hydrate. 

 

To maintain properly hydrated and supple skin, you must consider your water content level. Aside from keeping your body hydrated through internal water intake, your skin must also be cared for in a way that is specific to your individual needs. Water has the ability to evaporate quickly from the body through your skin and the level of water content in your skin determines how well it stands up to environmental stressors and how elastic it will be. Proper hydration also means improved cellular function which is extremely beneficial to your overall health and the condition of your body. 

 

Products that are designed to hydrate often include ingredients that are called humectants. An example of this is hyaluronic acid, which helps to bind and trap water into the layers of your skin. As a naturally occurring substance, hyaluronic acid is safe to use and the components have the ability to hold many times their weight in water. Aloe is another natural and safe ingredient that has been shown to increase water content while providing multiple other benefits to the health of your skin. While not limited to these two, these products will aid in the health and function of your skin regardless of whether or not your skin is lacking in anything. Still, they are an excellent source of maintaining proper hydration. 

 

If you are treating dry skin, look for creams that are specifically intended to hydrate and that include ingredients such as the ones mentioned above. If you want maximum effect from your face creams, there are also many ways to supplement hydration in addition to this. Hydrating cleansers , toners  and serums lend you a hand in giving extra hydration before applying your cream to trap it all in. A gentle cleanser will not over strip the natural oils from your face. This is another type of dry skin which I will address in an article surrounding oil components and their importance. Toners can then serve to further balance your skin and remove any residue or additional impurities left on your face all while increasing hydration. Both toners and serums are a much lighter density than your face cream and penetrate deeply into the layers of your skin. Application of a toner and serum before your regular moisturizer gives you a high concentration of hydrators, additional nutrients and damage fighting active ingredients at a deep level. Since skin care products with this density absorb readily, they may be layered for maximum benefit and work synergistically with your other treatments. 

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