The Great Debate: Hydrators vs. Moisturizers

When I imagine radiant skin, I also imagine a dressing table
overflowing with products essentially screaming “Hydrate! Moisturize!” at me.
In the beauty world and to the average customer, the terms hydrated and moisturized
are often promised interchangeably. While both processes are essential to
nourishing your skin, they are not in fact the same thing. Being aware of the
difference is crucial for developing a skin care routine best suited to your individual

The hydration vs. moisture discussion can be simply summed up
with: ‘Hydration equals water. Moisture equals oil.’ Skin that is
dehydrated lacks water and needs to be “watered” with products focusing on
hydration. On the other side, if your skin is dry, it lacks oil and as such, is
in desperate need of products that moisturize. 

Hydrating and moisturizing products are not necessarily an
either-or situation though. Hydration contributes to soft skin, but if your
skin is dry, there will be little oil present to prevent that water from
evaporating from the skin. Similarly, putting moisturizer on dehydrated skin is
like slapping a temporary Band-Aid on the real problem: your skin may look
somewhat smoother, but it won’t feel soft and will likely be dull and tight.

So how do you know if you need a hydrator, moisturizer, or both?
Start by taking note of your skin’s problem areas. If your skin is dry and
flaky, then it likely is not producing enough lipid cells to form an effective
protective barrier that’s locking in moisture and preventing water loss, and
could benefit from a moisturizer. If your skin is more on the dull, rough side
and you’re beginning to see more noticeable wrinkles, then it is likely more of
a hydration issue. And if your skin seems to be suffering with all of these
problems, then it may need a little more tender love and care from a savvy team
of both hydrators and moisturizers.

Most people can benefit from adding some hydrators and
moisturizers to their skincare routine at some point in their life, and the
best time to apply both products are in the morning and at night. So, the next
time you’re in the beauty aisle at your local drugstore and see all those
products yelling “Hydrate! Moisturize!” at you, know the difference, and buy
the best products for you.

Written by: Prishni Seyone

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