Terminology in skincare can be confusing. We get it, when it comes to new product innovations, “science” based ingredients and all the jargon in sales and marketing, it’s easy for the forest to disappear among the trees. And when some terms are used interchangeably to mean the same thing, when in reality they are different – well – what? Take the words “hydrate” and “moisturize.” Are they the same? If not, what’s the difference? Let’s take a look.
The term “hydrate” or “hydration” refers to the skin’s ability to retain water to plump it up. When your skin is dehydrated, it looks dull due to a lack of water. Drinking sufficient water throughout the day is important for hydration. Topical products that can help include hyaluronic acid (or product formulas that have hyaluronic acid in them). Hyaluronic acid is a hydration powerhouse because it has the ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water. Moisturizing combats dry skin that lacks natural oils and/or needs to seal in water from hydrating products. Dry skin occurs from factors such as age, climate, genetics or hormones. Dry skin presents as flaky and with a rough texture. Look for ingredients that help seal in moisture and that contain glycerin and omega-fatty acids (our Evening Primrose Oil is a lightweight, rapidly absorbing oil that is a lifesaver for dryness and issues like dermatitis). Use an oil based serum (Euro Botanicals Renewal Serum) or occlusive moisturizers (like our Advanced Moisture or Super Emollient Cremes).
How to know whether your skin falls into the moisture or hydration category? Know if your skin is dehydrated or dry (terms which seem similar but are different). They can present with similar symptoms but have subtle differences. Dehydrated skin feels parched and may produce excess oil due to skin cells overcompensating for dryness. Symptoms of dry skin are often flakiness, dullness, rough and scaly texture, itchiness and/or a feeling of skin tightness. Your skin can be dehydrated and dry at the same time.
Pay attention to your skin needs, which vary by season, environmental stressors, diet, and lifestyle. When you get in tune with your personal skin condition, you’ll know when you need to add hydration and when it’s time to moisturize.