Your skin is the biggest organ on your body and it has been said time and time again that it’s essential to keep it hydrated and moisturized. But what does that mean? Is there a difference between hydrating and moisturizing? Walking through the cosmetics aisles in the supermarket you’ll see an array of products stating how they will hydrate and moisturize your skin. Let’s have a look at what that means and how to figure out what products you need.
What is the difference between hydrating and moisturizing?
Hydration means to add water to the skin. Hydrating products contain ingredients that will do just that. Hydration essentially means to fill your cells with water, which in turn helps your skin absorb nutrients as well as moisture. To moisturize, meanwhile, means to improve your skin by helping reduce the water that evaporates off of it. In other words, moisturizing products trap moisture in and help seal it in. In the summer months, we tend to lose more water as we sweat more, and the sun plays a big role in drying out the skin as well.
How do you know if you need a hydrator, a moisturizer or both?
When your skin lacks water it’s said to be dehydrated, and you’ll then need a hydrating product to give your skin the water it needs. If your skin is dry, it means it’s lacking oil and that’s where moisturizing products come in. The key is identifying if your skin is dehydrated or just dry.
Looking at your skin’s condition can help discern what you may need. If your skin tends to flake from being overdry, it means it’s lacking in sufficient lipids that help form that all-important shielding layer that protects your skin. Basically, it’s unable to lock in moisture. In that case, a good moisturizer is what you need. If your complexion is dull, your skin feels tight, or you have fine lines and wrinkles that look more noticeable, your skin is said to be dehydrated. In this case, your skin cells are parched and are in desperate need of water. Drinking two to three liters of water a day is very important for good hydration. However, a good topical hydrating product is necessary as well for optimum hydration both from inside and out.
What to look for in the relevant products
When choosing a hydrating product, look for an ingredient called hyaluronic acid. These molecules hold a thousand times their weight in water. People are under the impression that using moisturizing face cream that contains oil will result in breakouts. This is not true. In fact, dry skin lacking in oil actually induces breakouts. This is because if your skin is overly dry and stripped of oil it will want to replace it by producing excess oil. If your skin is dry, it most certainly needs a product with good oil content.
It’s important to mention that your skin may be well hydrated, yet still feel dry. The reason for this is that dry skin is a skin type and is not necessarily as a result of a lack of water. Dry skin does not discriminate and can affect men, women, and children alike. It’s also a common issue in older individuals as they’re more prone to dry skin. So drink lots of water and feed your skin with what it needs, hydrate and moisturize.