Published October 25, 2022
Skincare is an integral part of many people’s lives.
Certain individuals even follow a strict skincare routine every day. If you’re one of those individuals, chances are you know a thing or two about hydrating and moisturizing.
But do you know which of the two is better for your skin? This guide will answer that question, and more. But first, let’s talk about the difference between hydrating and moisturizing.
What Is The Difference Between Hydrating And Moisturizing Your Skin?
When you hydrate your skin, you’re making sure the outermost layer of the skin, also known as the epidermis, has sufficient water. Products or ingredients that “hydrate” the skin may do this in two different ways. These ingredients either: (1) attract water from the environment and into the skin or (2) pull water from the dermis (middle layer of the skin) and into the skin’s epidermis.
Meanwhile, moisturizing your skin means taking steps to prevent water from escaping the skin. Ingredients and products do so by creating something like a seal on the surface of your skin.
Put simply, hydrating your skin speeds up the rate at which it absorbs water while moisturizing your skin slows down the rate at which it loses water. The main similarity between the two is their end goal—to ensure your skin has sufficient water. But they do so in different ways.
Interestingly, while they both have similar goals, there’s a difference between their benefits, though there IS some overlap. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the benefits of hydration.
Benefits Of Hydrating Your Skin
Obviously, hydrated skin will look far better than one that’s not. But here’s why that’s the case:
- Water improves the skin’s elasticity, also known as its ability to return to its original form when deformed in any way. With higher elasticity, you can reduce wrinkled or saggy skin, which typically results from aging. So, in a way, hydration slows down signs of aging.
- The sebaceous glands produce more oil when they detect that the skin doesn’t have enough water. For that reason, dehydrated skin is often more oily than hydrated skin.
- Antioxidants like vitamin C and retinol are capable of fighting off free radicals so they don’t harm the skin. However, these antioxidants often require a sufficient water supply.
- Water and moisture are necessary to maintain the integrity of the skin’s barrier, which in turn is necessary to protect against toxins. Hence, hydration is a way to detox the skin.
Benefits Of Moisturizing Your Skin
Moisture is likewise an important part of the skin. That’s why moisturizers have a role that’s crucial to your skincare. Below are some examples:
- Moisturizing your skin can also slow down signs of aging in the same way as hydration.
- It also minimizes oil production in the skin in the same way hydration does.
- Certain components of moisturizers have anti-inflammatory properties. As such, they may help minimize symptoms of rashes, inflamed skin, and other skin problems.
- Water-based moisturizers have antipruritic properties, allowing them to provide a cooling sensation to the skin and reduce itch symptoms. This property of moisturizers is particularly beneficial if your face or skin is more sensitive than that of others.
- Extreme temperatures and unpleasant weather can suck the moisture out of one’s skin. A moisturizing routine can help reverse the damage that these environmental factors inflict.
- Apart from the layer or barrier that prevents water from escaping the skin, certain moisturizer products can also create a barrier that protects against ultraviolet rays.
It should be apparent that as much as we’d like to pit hydrating vs. moisturizing against one another, they’re both crucial, and for different reasons. However, that does lead to the question…
How Do You Know Which Is Better For Your Skin?
To start with, it’s important to understand that just because your skin is dehydrated doesn’t mean moisturizing it will fix the problem. Similarly, if your skin lacks moisture, hydrating it won’t do the trick. Put simply, there are different times for moisturizing and hydrating, so how will you know which one is the most suitable for your problem? Well, the best way is to look at your skin.
Experts believe that when the skin is dull and feels wrinkly or tight, you need to hydrate it. But if it looks flaky, patchy, or reddish, you need to moisturize it. That’s the general rule of thumb.
The Bottom Line
People often think that as long as they’re applying skincare products to their skin, they can maintain healthy-looking skin. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at all. Just like how there are perfect times to moisturize or hydrate the skin, there are also bad times to do either. After all, too much of a good thing can be bad, and that can be the case with hydration and moisture.
That’s why it goes a long way to know the difference between the two, their corresponding benefits, and signs you need to do either. This guide should help in that regard.
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