The skin is the body’s largest organ, and it requires a lot of water to keep it healthy and radiant. Hence the consistent demand for the best moisturizer and hydrating skincare products. But what’s the difference between skincare products specifically formulated to moisturize skin and skincare products designed to hydrate skin? To tackle this question, the editors at Dermstore interview NYC dermatologist, Dr. Hadley King, of SKINNEY Medspa, in the article Hydrating vs. Moisturizing: What’s the Difference?
The Difference between Moisturizing Skincare & Hydrating Skincare
As Dermstore explains, the best moisturizer and hydrating skin care products both aid the skin in getting the moisture it needs to ward off dry skin, minimize the signs of aging, and promote skin health, the difference then, is how the two different skincare products go about doing this.
To better understand how the best moisturizers and hydrating skin care products work, it is important to overview how the skin works. As Dermstore explains “Our skin has a natural lipid barrier that protects itself from damage and water loss.”
Sometimes the skin doesn’t produce enough lipid cells to construct a protective barrier. This prohibits the skin from keeping in moisture as well as it should, which results in dry skin. A good face moisturizer can help this by trapping “the natural oils and lipids on the surface of your skin [which] prevents water from evaporating, and maintains a healthy moisture balance,” writes Dermstore.
Hydrating Skincare Products
While the best face moisturizer locks in moisture, good hydrating skincare products collect moisture and deliver it down into the skin. As Dermstore explains, skincare products marketed as “hydrators are specially formulated with ingredients called humectants [that] increase water content by catching moisture from the air and delivering it down to the skin’s layers.”
Put simply, “dehydrated skin lacks water and therefore requires hydration,” says Dermstore. On the other hand, “dry skin lacks oil and needs to be moisturized.” The trick then is to “distinguish between these two skin conditions because they can often be treated incorrectly.”
Moisturizing or Hydrating Skin care Products: Which is right for you?
When trying to determine if your skin lacks water and needs a hydrating skincare product or your skin lacks oils and needs a good moisturizer, remember that your skin could use both. Healthy skin needs to be moisturized and hydrated. As Dermstore explains “while hydration is what makes our skin soft, this result is transient if there is no oil protecting that hydration from evaporating and exiting the skin…conversely, to apply oil on top of already dehydrated skin may smooth it, but it will still lack the hydration that makes it feel soft and elastic. Dehydrated skin that is moisturized without receiving the amount of hydration will still look dull and feel uncomfortably tight. Dry skin that is hydrated but not moisturized will still flake and have a rough texture.”
So, the trick to a balanced skincare routine is not choosing between products that moisturize or products that hydrate, the key is choosing the right moisturizer and the right hydrating product for your skin type and your environment. As Dr. Hadley King tells Dermstore editors, the determining “which types of products will be best for our skin” depends on “how naturally dry or oily our skin is, and how humid or dry the environment your skin lives in.”
Ways to Hydrate your Skin
To hydrate your skin naturally, without the intervention of a skincare product, simple drink water. But when a tall glass of H2O is not enough, Dermstore recommends hydrating with Hyaluronic Acid. Other ingredients that promote hydration include propylene glycol, alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA,) and glycerin. But of all these ingredients “Hyaluronic acid is by far the gold standard for hydrating,” claims Dermstore, saying “it is found naturally in the human body and it can hold up to a thousand times its weight in water.”
The Best Natural Moisturizers and Moisturizing creams
Dermstore provides a list of the most popular natural moisturizers. Check it out and read their full article here.