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Hydration Vs. Moisture: What is The Difference?

Hydration Vs. Moisture: What is The Difference?

A lot of products on the market are geared towards conditioning the skin. Providing much-needed moisture to allow the skin to function properly. But, did you also know that there is a difference between Hydrating and Moisturising products. The way you use these on your skin can be the difference between a skin care regime that works for your specific skin needs, and one that is doing more harm than good. 

Today we're breaking down the difference between a Hydrator and Moisturiser. 

Hydrating Vs. Moisturizing

In the simplest terms, the purpose of a hydrator is to bind water to the skin. On the other hand, the purpose of a moisturizer is to prevent water from leaving. From these two simple analysis, I'm sure you can understand how these purposes need to be used differently but we'll break it down a little further. By all means, you can layer both hydrating and moisturizing products on your skin but you'll want to start with the thinnest to thickest ingredients. 



The ingredients that are tasked with hydrating the skin are called humectants or water binders. These ingredients draw water molecules from the air into themselves which make them excellent choices for skin re-hydration and to increase moisture levels in the skin.

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The term emollient describes the texture of the cream (the thicker the product, the more emollient). The emollience of the product refers to how much its ingredients moisturize the skin. Emollient ingredients fill in the gaps on the surface of the skin and leave you with a silky smooth texture. Think of lipids oils, ceramides, and other occlusive products. 

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Occlusive ingredients prevent water from leaving the skin by creating a thin layer over or film the skin's surface. These are great because they prevent all your hydrating products from evaporating from the skin. You'll want to apply these types of products as the last step to your skin care.


Okay, so you know the difference between the two types of ingredients but what exactly does this mean, and how do you use them? Thinking about the skin itself, different skin types require different amounts of moisture or hydration to fill-in for the qualities they lack. Knowing these differences will help you develop a skin care routine that best suits your skin needs. 

Dry Skin: Dry skin types are those that have hypo-active (underproductive) sebaceous glands. They typically behave like normal skin right after washing but quickly lose hydration and become dry as the Sahara Desert. These skin types would benefit from moisturizing facial lotion. These are potent creams that sooth drier skin types, but these also contain higher emollient properties to make sure that the water in the skin cannot leave. 

Oily Skin: Those who have oilier skin have hyper-active (overactive) sebaceous glands. The skin produces enough oil to trap water inside but it doesn't have balanced levels of hydration to actually trap anything in. In attempts to hydrate the skin, the sebaceous glands release more sebum further blocking any water from penetrating the skin - a cycle for disaster. These skin types would benefit from hydrators with the consistency of a toner. Something light-weight; like a gel, and super hydrating that penetrates the skin well, with little-to-no added oils. 

Combo: Now here's where it gets a little more complicated. Combo skin types vary between normal, dry and oily, in different parts of the face which makes them difficult to treat.

Combo-oily:  skin types typically have hyperactive sebaceous glands in the T-Zone but are otherwise normal or dry towards the perimeter of the skin. This skin type would benefit from an emulsion of oil and water such as a gel, aqueous,  little-to-no/oil-free humectants. 

Combo-Dry: In this instance, it is usually the reverse. This skin type is typically characterized by drier sections of the face and normal skin around other areas. This skin type would benefit from thicker emollient products that cater to both drier and normal sections of the face. Apply a more concentrated layer of the product to the problem areas.


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