Hydration refers to the water content within the skin cells that gives the skin that bouncy , plump and healthy glow. If the skin is lacking in water it becomes dehydrated and dehydrated skin is compromised skin which means skin is more prone to being damaged. A lot of people get confused on if they should be hydrating or moisturizing when they should be doing both.
I strongly believe that most of woes can be directly (or indirectly) linked back to a compromised barrier. Hydration is of the utmost importance for every skin type and concern.
Hydrating vs Moisturizing
Hydration is often confused with moisture and while they are mostly used interchangeably they are still different. If hydration is water, moisture is oil. When we hydrate, we ensure our skin gets all the water it needs to look bouncy, plump, glowy and healthy. When we moisturize, we ensure that the water we have infused our skin cells with is trapped and sealed in order to build up the skin protective barrier by preventing water loss (thus the skin stays plump, soft and smooth).
When we use the right moisturizer, we minimise the amount of water that evaporates off the surface of the skin. This phenomenon is known as TransEpidermal Water Loss (TEWL)
Every skin type need to hydrate and moisturize in order to maintain a healthy moisture barrier. It is not enough to moisturize only. Dry skin that has been hydrated will still lose water and flake which is why it’s absolutely necessary for every skin type to moisturize. Even oily skin. Especially oily skin. Drinking litres and litres of water is good for skin and health, in fact it’s a good start but topical products are way more effective at increasing hydration and moisture levels in the skin.
Ingredients to look out for in hydrating products include
- Hyaluronic acid
- Aloe vera
- Marine Extracts
- Some AHAs
A good hydrator is light, water-soluble and non-comedogenic. A moisturizer can be heavier or lighter depending on skin needs, concerns, weather and seasons. Moisturizers can also be picked based on skin type. It needs to have the right texture and ingredients best suited to the user’s skin. While oily skins need the oil-free, lightweight formulas, the drier skin folks will benefit from richer and heavier formulas.
However, the ideal moisturizer has a little bit of everything; humectants to hydrate, emollient to soothe and soften and occlusive to seal in moisture.
Shop My Favorite Hydrators and Moisturizers Below