Moisturizing vs Hydrating Skincare Products – What’s The Difference?

By Ronald Taylor

Moisturizing vs Hydrating Skincare Products – What’s The Difference?

Many people assume that hydrating and moisturizing are the same thing. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, they both serve different purposes for your skin. Put simply, hydration is about adding water to your skin. By contrast, moisturizing is about locking water in. Not sure which one your skin needs? Here’s a comparison of moisturizing vs hydrating so you can determine which types of skin care products you should add to your routine. 

Hydration Is About Adding Water 

If you are thirsty, that means you haven’t had enough to drink. When this happens, you might call yourself “dehydrated” and reach for a bottle of water to quench your thirst. The same thing happens to your skin. If your skin is “thirsty,” it should also get some water. This is why so many skin care products focus on hydration, or adding water to the skin.  

Although you might think that taking a shower or immersing yourself in a bath would be a good solution, it’s not quite that easy. Water from a shower is more likely to slip off the skin or dry it out than be deeply absorbed into the skin for rehydration. Instead, topical hydration is best achieved through skin care products that contain humectants. A humectant is a substance that attracts water molecules from the skin’s lower cell layers (known as the dermis) to the skin’s top layer (the epidermis). As a result, the topmost layers of skin, which are most prone to losing water, receive additional hydration. Naturally occurring humectants include hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, alpha hydroxy acid, and honey, while man-made humectants include glycerin and butylene glycol. All of these are common ingredients in skin care products, such as those created by TEA.L.  

Moisturizing Locks Water In 

While skin lacking in water is characterized as “dehydrated,” skin lacking in natural oils is characterized as “dry.” Without the skin’s natural moisturizing oils, even hydrated skin will lose water content and appear dry and flakey. Dry skin, which is particularly common in the winter, after using harsh soaps, or when the body starts to age, is also more susceptible to infection. Therefore, it is important to prevent dry skin in order to avoid potential health concerns.  

This is where a moisturizer comes in. Moisturizers contain oils, such as argan oil, jojoba oil, and rosehip oil, to restore the skin’s natural balance. Once the skin’s oil balance is restored, moisturizers also lock in moisture to help keep hydrated skin healthy. Without internal hydration though, moisturizing will only help smooth skin, but not return elasticity. This is why it’s important to use products that both hydrate and moisturize. 

Importance of Skin Hydration and Moisturizing 

Hydration and moisturizing work together to maintain the skin’s protective barrier against infection and keep skin looking youthful. Here are a few of the health and beauty benefits that you can reap from hydrating and moisturizing. Note we do not endorse any medical claims and specific questions on an individual's health should be directed to a physician. 

Reduce wrinkles 

Although moisturizing and hydrating products won’t be able to prevent wrinkles entirely, they can prevent skin cells from shrivelling due to dryness, giving the skin a plumper appearance and masking fine lines and creases. Incorporating moisturizers and hydrators can also delay the onset of wrinkles, which underscores the importance of sticking with a skin care routine. 

Avoid breakouts 

Acne is often the result of an overproduction of sebum, a natural oil produced by the skin’s glands. In a vicious cycle, dry skin can cause your body to produce too much sebum as an overcorrection, thus clogging the pores and causing more breakouts. However, if you use a moisturizer that rebalances your skin’s natural oils, you can avoid breakouts. It’s important for moisturizers to be non comedogenic so that they won’t clog pores. Keep in mind that if you are using a moisturizer on your face, it should also contain lighter or diluted oils. 

Healthy, vibrant skin 

By using moisturizing and hydrating products, your skin will not only feel healthier, but also look plumper and more vibrant. The right combination of hydrators and moisturizers will leave skin feeling supple and smooth to the touch. Hydrators and moisturizers should be applied to the skin directly after a shower or a bath to maximize the health benefits. 

Skin Care Products Can Both Hydrate and Moisturize 

Choosing moisturizing vs hydrating doesn’t need to be an either/or. You can use a product that will hydrate and then one that will moisturize, or a product that combines both properties. TEA.L skin care products use brewed loose leaf tea as the water base and include humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, providing excellent hydration for skin. High end oils and extracts, like Argan Oil, Rosehip Oil, and Jojoba Oil are added to lock in hydration and moisturize skin. Explore our online shop today to find the product that works best for you.