Hydrate vs Moisturize: What Your Skin Needs

Hydrate vs Moisturize: What Your Skin Needs

With the dewy, nourished, glass skin so coveted, it is no wonder why skin care brands are pushing products that promise to hydrate and moisturize your skin. While both hydrating and moisturizing is essential for happy and healthy skin, they are actually not the same thing! So, here’s a guide to figuring out the difference between these two terms, whether your skin needs hydration, moisture, and which skoah products will target your specific skin needs. 

So what’s the difference between hydrating and moisturizing?

One of the best ways to improve your skin is to better understand hydration and moisturization. So let’s start by defining hydrating the skin and moisturizing the skin

Hydrating your skin means you are adding water to the skin, which is absorbed into your skin cells. When skin is hydrated, it plumps up and appears smoother, healthier, and more radiant.

Moisturizing your skin means you are infusing oils into your skin and the goal is to lock these natural hydrators and oils into the skin to help protect its natural barrier and prevent further water and oil loss. A great skin care program combines the right amount of each to create healthier skin and make it look its best.

What skin type and condition have to do with it?

Some of the biggest issues we see at skoah is skin that has been dehydrated in an effort to improve blemishes or shininess and skin that is not being treated for the appropriate skin condition or type.

Skin Condition: Hydration level is a general condition of the skin, not a skin type. A condition is usually a temporary issue, or a changing situation, and can have specific causes such as the environment. Dehydration of the skin is signalling that your skin lacks water.

Skin Type: Dry skin is a skin type, but all skin can feel dry at times. Dry skin means the skin lacks natural oils. All skin creates natural oils, and when the skin has less natural oil - it is considered to have a dry 'condition'. A dry skin type is not caused by something. It is a type of skin that may vary in symptoms over your lifetime. 

How do I know if I need to hydrate or moisturize?

You can start by figuring out whether you have a dry skin type, or whether you have dehydrated skin. Dry skin feels tight and can have a slightly rough texture - which feels this way immediately after washing your face. If you have dry skin, adding hydrating products won’t get rid of the flakiness or rough texture. Dehydrated skin on the other hand appears dull, flaky, looks crepey, with your fine lines and wrinkles front and center. 

If you have dry skin, meaning your skin is not producing enough lipid cells to form a protective barrier to lock in moisture - you need to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! A good moisturizer will reduce the amount of water that evaporates off your skin and help bring back that nourishment. 

If you are battling dehydrated skin, meaning your cells are in immediate need of water - apply a hydrating product, and voilà! Plump, youthful, firm skin is restored!

Your skin may also need both hydration and moisture! It is important to add hydrating products before moisturizing. Hydrating (water-based) products will penetrate a little further into your skin due to their molecular size. Following this with moisturizing products (those containing lipids-oils or esters) will work on the outer layers of the skin and then lock in both the water and lipid-based ingredients!

Can you over hydrate and over-moisturize?

Yes! If you are using a water-based product and as you massage it into your skin you notice it balls up, then metaphorically, your cup is full. Once the right amount of water is added through a hydrating product, your skin cannot absorb more, and it essentially overflows, leaving little balls of hydrating ingredients. 

The simple solution to this is to just use less. If your skin feels greasy or appears overly shiny - this means you have either used a moisturizer with too high a lipid content than what your skin needs, or have layered in too many products. 

Picking the right products for your skin

So how do you know what your skin needs? If you feel the need to reapply moisturizer throughout the day, you are likely not adding enough hydration first. Add more hydration and then your moisturizer to see if this improves the time between re-application. 

Picking the right hydrators for your skin: Hydrating products are generally recommended for all skin types as they are water-soluble and won’t clog pores.

Picking the right moisturizer for your skin

Whether skin is oily, dry, or in between, locking in the water with a moisturizer will prevent the water you've added from evaporating.

For oily skin types: you will benefit from products containing less oil (under 10% lipid to water ratio).

For normal to combination skin types: look for 10-35% lipid to water ratios

For dry skin types: 25-100% lipid to water ratios.  

It’s also important to keep in mind how your environment can affect your skin needs. Heading to the desert? Add more hydration and always lock it in with a moisturizer. Heading to a humid tropical location, hydrate as always, but you will require less product and a moisturizer with much less lipid content. Managing this alone can drastically and proactively ensure your skin doesn't feel the negative benefits of the environmental changes.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.