Hydration is key

You might think that hydration is something only people with dry or dehydrated skin need to worry about.

But hydrating your skin is just like hydrating your body: Your body needs hydration to look and feel its best—and, no matter your skin type, so does your skin.

But what exactly is hydration? Is it the same as moisture? There are so many different products claiming to give you the hydrated skin you crave – oils, creams and gels, oh my! — How do you choose a product that will actually provide your skin with the effective moisture it needs?

Hydrating Agents vs. Moisturizers: What’s the Difference?

Scientifically speaking, humectant is the general term for the types of moisturizers:

  • Emollients (fats and oils)
  • Squalene (oil)
  • moisturizer
  • occluded

But in the world of marketing and the products we buy, the terminology has changed.

"Hydration and moisturizer" is a marketing term that brands can define almost however they wish.

But while there's no gold standard for defining moisturizer and humectant, for the most part, brands use these terms to differentiate how your skin gets the moisture it needs.

Is water a good moisturizer?

Water alone is not a strong enough ingredient to keep skin moisturized. It's also likely to have evaporated - along with your skin's natural oils - by the time you leave the bathroom. In fact, the more you wash without moisturizer or moisturizer, the more likely your skin is to dry out.

The technical term is occlusive, and you may see them labeled as humectants and hydrants.

"Moisturisers... are oil-based ingredients that include occlusive agents, such as petroleum jelly or mineral oil, and emollients such as esters and vegetable oils. They work by forming a seal on the skin's surface, preventing water from escaping. They also make the skin It feels smoother and less drying," says Romanowski.

"A humectant is an ingredient called a humectant, such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid, that absorbs moisture from the atmosphere or skin and holds it in place on the skin."

It's important to realize that they all work very differently, as what you choose can make or break your skin's health. The end goal may be the same—better hydrated skin—but the game plan to get there depends on your skin type.

Which skin type is best for you?

There are tons of different products on the market, from balms to oils to creams, gels to ointments to moisturizers—but the truth is, most of them do the same thing.
Most body lotions and products will contain both occlusive and emollient ingredients as well as hydrating ingredients - so they moisturize and moisturize at the same time.
"The specific form a product takes, gel, balm, oil, cream, etc., doesn't really affect how the product performs. It's the ingredients that matter. The form only affects the experience of applying the ingredients."
With that said, please read the ingredients and experiments. Sometimes your skin might be better off with just a moisturizer or moisturizer, rather than both. By knowing exactly how your skin likes to drink it, you can maximize your skin's hydration.

If you have dry skin, try a thicker moisturizer

If your skin is naturally dry year-round and prone to flaking or flaking, it's likely not weather-related dehydration that's causing your dryness—your skin has a hard time retaining moisture.

To do this, you need to moisturize to create a protective seal on the surface to lock in moisture. A thick, emollient moisturizer helps prevent moisture from leaving your skin, and with the right formula, will provide your complexion with the nourishment and nourishment it needs all winter long.

If you have really dry skin, what's the best solution? Good old fashioned petroleum jelly, also known as petroleum jelly. "For really dry skin, occlusives are best—the petroleum jelly stuff works best," Romanowski says.

"But if someone wants to avoid petroleum jelly, [then] shea butter, canola oil or soybean oil would be fine. However, petroleum jelly is actually the best."

Ingredients you'll definitely want to try: petroleum jelly, vegetable oils (like jojoba), and nut oils (like coconut oil)

If your skin is dehydrated, try a hydrating serum

If your skin is dehydrated, you need to be proactive about adding water back into your skin. Look for a hydrating serum that contains hyaluronic acid, which weighs 1,000 times its weight in water and will replenish skin with a healthy dose of moisture.
Ingredients You’ll Want to Try: Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Honey

Hydrate from the inside out

The goal is to drink lots of water. A good goal is to have at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water per day.
Add water-rich foods like watermelon, strawberries, and cucumbers. These help your skin and body get the moisture they need to look and feel their best.
If you have oily skin, try using water-based moisturizers and moisturizers. Just because you have an oily skin type doesn't mean your skin isn't dehydrated. If your skin is dehydrated, it can actually exacerbate your oil problem.

People with oily skin often have impaired barrier function, which makes it difficult for their skin to retain moisture. When moisture leaves the skin, it becomes dehydrated, causing the skin to produce more oil.

It’s a vicious cycle and the only way to break it is to provide your skin with the proper moisture and moisture it needs.

Look for water-based, non-comedogenic moisturizers and moisturizers. Water-based products will feel lighter on the skin and won't clog pores.

But how do you know if a product will moisturize or hydrate?

So, the bottom line is, which is better when it comes to keeping your skin hydrated: a moisturizer or a humectant?
The answer is probably both.

As we mentioned above, it all depends on your skin type, and the most common creams are a combination of both. But if you're a skincare enthusiast who only dabbles in single ingredients and 10-step routines, you're probably doing it wrong.

Here's a handy chart to help determine if you're using the right ingredients to keep your skin healthy.

Why Hydrating and Moisturizing Are Different for Your Skin

Ceramides are technically neither (ceramides strengthen the skin's barrier and help prevent moisture loss)
There’s no harm in using a moisturizer and moisturizer at the same time. Just moisturize first with a moisturizer like hyaluronic acid, then lock it in with a occlusive agent like vegetable oil.
Or, if you want to keep things simple, look for a product that does both. Face masks are a great option to get a one-two punch in moisturizing and moisturizing your skin with a single product.
If you want a plump, hydrated complexion year-round, the answer isn't just this. After all, there's bound to be a point, like in the winter, when you need to hydrate and moisturize—the key is knowing when.


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