Hydrating vs Moisturizing: Differ or Not?

As you browse through the different skincare regimes that you may wish to incorporate into your daily routine, you may notice others talking about hydrating and moisturizing. The problem here is that you immediately feel both will involve water, or liquid of some kind, that is then applied to your skin. Ultimately, it means there may be some confusion as to whether or not they are both one in the same thing.

hydrating or moisturising

Of course, this then makes it significantly harder to determine the correct routine you should follow, so allow us to just take a few minutes of your time and explain to you what we mean by both hydration and moisturizing.

Hydrating vs Moisturizing: Explaining Both.

explaining both hydration and moisturisation

The first thing to say is that both are clearly beneficial for your skin. However, the best way to understand the difference between the two is to look at what an actual dermatologist would say on this matter. 

The Dermatological View.

From a dermatological perspective, the difference between hydrating and moisturizing is easy to explain. In short, hydration is the process of adding water to the skin via certain ingredients while moisturizing is primarily aimed at decreasing water loss.

difference between the two hydration and moisturisation

The reason why we have both hydration and moisturizing is due to distinct issues with our skin. Hydrating your skin is due to it being dehydrated, and this can happen to anyone. This specifically means your skin must be rehydrated using the correct products. Also, hydration is talking specifically about the water content contained within the skin cells. When there’s adequate levels of water, it then makes the skin cells plumper and more bouncy. It will then reflect light better and that is why your skin then looks younger. 

Moisturizing, on the other hand, becomes more important when you have dry skin. However, while dehydrated skin is something that we can all have, dry skin is an actual skin type where you have less oil in your skin resulting in it feeling, and looking, dry.



Hydrators have a very distinctive role to play in helping your skin as their sole intention is to help with the binding of water to the skin. In doing so, it provides your skin with more time to then absorb the water and to then benefit from it.

For this, you need to find products that bind, and the most well-known example is hyaluronic acid. This ingredient can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water which is why it is now used so widely.



A moisturizer tends to be more oil based, which is why you need to take care if you have oily skin as that alone could lead to you creating more problems. The aim here is that lotions or creams are able to effectively seal in moisture to your skin while it also then protects your natural oil barrier.

Knowing What to Use.

It will also be important for you to become aware of what to use and when. Even though this can vary slightly for different people, there are still some key points that can be applied to everyone.

Of course, the best thing is to become more aware of your own skin and its current condition. Never just assume that it’s probably a bit dry or you will be wasting your time and energy by incorporating the wrong products. Also, it’s very easy to confuse skin that is actually dehydrated with dry skin. 

what to use?

One of the main ways to tell is whether or not you have dry, flaky skin. If you do, then this is a sure-fire sign that your skin is not producing enough of the natural oils that are there to protect. If this is the case, then you need a moisturizer. However, if that dry skin is absent, then there’s a pretty good chance that it’s because your skin is dehydrated.

At the same time, if you feel that your skin is looking somewhat duller than usual and just hasn’t got that bright complexion, then you may be looking at your skin in the early stages of dehydration. A lack of water in the cells leads to your skin effectively starting to shrivel up, so it’s not going to reflect the light as well as it used to. If you see your skin starting to take on this kind of appearance, then hydration is your best course of action.

How to Choose the Correct Product.

So, when you have both hydration and moisturizers on the market, how do you choose the correct product to then use? 

When it comes to hydration then there are several core ingredients to pay close attention to. As well as hyaluronic acid, you should also check for things such as alpha hydroxy acids, aloe, honey, glycerin and propylene glycol. They are all designed to help with the process of hydration and any of them will be beneficial to you.

choosing the right product

For your moisturizer, it comes down to your type of skin. If you are prone to acne, then something lighter and largely free of oil. That’s because the oil will block pores and it will then increase the chances of you having another breakout. A lotion is often best as it contains more water in the ingredients. 

If you suffer from dry skin, then an emollient or serum will be best. If you have a combination skin, then you are lucky in that you can practically use anything that you want as your skin will be able to deal with anything that you decide to throw at it.

choose the right one

So, as you can see, there is a very real need for you to indulge in both hydrating your skin as well as adding moisturizer to it. In doing so, you will be able to keep your skin in prime condition and help reduce the chances of you developing wrinkles or the skin losing as much of its elasticity. Tackle the issues now by avoiding your skin becoming dehydrated and tackling any dry skin issues before they have the chance to evolve. Your skin will thank you for it.

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