These two words mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably, but they actually each mean something different and serve different purposes when it comes to your skin.
The largest organ on your body? The skin. It holds in all of our bodily fluids, which prevents dehydration. Keeping the skin nourished is vital to its health and to fight any damage caused by dryness, skin conditions, or environmental damage it needs have all the necessary tools.
Dry skin affects males and females equally and is even more prevalent in older individuals as they are prone to having dry skin. Our skin tends to produce diminished amounts of natural skin oils and lubricants as we age and the amount of water vapor in the surrounding air or ‘humidity’ is another cause of dry skin.
With all these said and done, when do moisturizers work best? When should you use a hydrator? Let’s dive right in on this.
Hydrating vs. Moisturizing
Don’t get it wrong, you’ve haven’t been living a lie: Both moisturizers and hydrators work to ensure that our skin receives moisture. The natural lipid barrier of our skin protects itself from damage and loss of water, but if you’re someone who suffers from dry, flaky skin, then you may need some extra reinforcements – enter moisturizers.
Having dry skin means your skin probably isn’t producing enough lipid cells on its own, so moisturizers can help lock in moisture. Hydrators, on the other hand, usually contain humectants.
These work to catch moisture from the air and saturate it through the layers of your skin. So what does the difference boil down to?
The difference is:
Dehydrated skin needs hydration.
Dry skin needs oil and moisturization.
Let’s identify the differences between the two.
Dry Skin vs. Dehydrated Skin
Hydrators alleviate dehydrated skin, while moisturizers help the effects of dry skin. Dry skin is classified as a skin type, which means your skin’s inadequate production of natural oils can be attributed to a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. The results of dry skin are usually flaky, itchy, and an overall dull, rough, or lackluster appearance.
Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is caused by a lack of water. This means that even oily skin types can suffer from dehydration. As the water content of your skin is depleted, the results become visible on your skin, leaving it less supple and elastic.
Just remember: Dehydrated skin lacks water and needs to be hydrated with hydrating products, while dry skin lacks oil and needs to be moisturized with moisturizing products. Dry skin is actually a skin type while dehydrated skin is something that anyone, no matter their skin type is, can experience.
The interchangeable use of hydrating and moisturizing of can be confusing to some but when it comes down to it, these terms actually refer to very different skin conditions. Before you purchase your products for your skin it’s best to analyze your skin to determine your current skin condition, dry or dehydrated, so you’re using the right products and the right ingredients.