The Difference Between Hydration and Moisture + How to Determine Which One You Need

Do you know the difference between dry and dehydrated skin? Although these two terms may seem synonymous, when it comes to your skin, they in fact mean completely different things.

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If you’re someone who feels confused by this, you’re not alone. Many people are still likely to get the two concepts mixed up. However, if you’re curious as to why this matters and how understanding the difference can be a game changer for your skin, we’re here to help. Here’s the full scoop on everything you need to know!

Hydration Vs. Moisture: The Key Differences in Skincare

In the simplest terms, the main thing you need to know is that dry skin lacks moisture - also known as oil - whereas dehydrated skin is lacking in well...hydration, i.e. water.

The other key difference to note is that dry skin refers to an actual genetic skin type wherein the skin produces little to no oil on its own. Meanwhile, all skin types (including dry skin types) can suffer from dehydration, which is a skin condition resulting from water loss at a surface level.

This ultra-hydrating serum from Dermalogica instantly increases your skin’s water levels thanks to a powerful blend of humectants.

How to Address Dry Skin

If you have a dry skin type, the easiest way to tell is by looking at your pores. Up close you'll notice that dry skin is characterised by small, barely visible pores. Dry skin typically feels dry to the touch, and may even feel sensitive or reactive, at times becoming red or irritated.

You might also notice that no matter how much moisturiser you apply to your skin, it simply drinks it up, yet doesn’t have a hydrated glow. You may notice that your skin flakes easily just looks a little lacklustre overall - luckily, skincare can help!

Lock moisture into dry skin thanks to this facial oil from Grown Alchemist. Formulated with Rosehip Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil and more, Grown Alchemist Antioxidant+ Facial Oil softens skin and protects from external stressors.

Oil in the skin is what not only enforces the natural protective barrier but also protects the skin from becoming damaged by invasion of UV, bacteria, and other environmental skin stressors. These environmental skin stressors are what’s responsible for issues such as sensitivity, acne, and even premature wrinkles!

In order to bring more balance to the skin’s moisture levels, your best bet will be to moisturise daily, or even twice daily, using oil-based products and utilising occlusive agents to keep moisture locked in. Some ingredients we love for this include: shea butter, camellia oil, and argan oil.

This rich night cream uses the power of Avocado Oil and Shea Butter to deeply moisturise skin and prevent hydration loss for a youthful glow.

How to Treat Dehydrated Skin

For spotting dehydrated skin, a few telltale signs can include dullness, loss of elasticity, more pronounced fine lines, and dark circles. Dehydrated skin can also sometimes even feel excessively oily, as the skin attempts to compensate for a lack of water by producing more oil.

Water is what keeps the skin plump and supple, while also fueling the skin to complete essential processes like cellular turnover. Skin that’s properly hydrated also has a stronger moisture barrier - also called the acid mantle. This part of our skin has a critical role in helping keep hydration where it needs to be: in the skin.

Formulated with a superior form of Hyaluronic Acid, the Grown Alchemist Instant Smoothing Serum hydrates skin more effectively than other skincare products on the market. This serum banishes fine lines caused by dehydration and soothes skin.

Your acid mantle also helps to protect skin from external stressors that could cause sensitivity and breakouts - so supporting this essential part of our skin is critical with the right skincare to prevent water loss!

When water loss has occurred, the fix will be to consistently incorporate more water-based products with a humectant quality, meaning they attract and draw water to the skin. A few great ingredients for dehydrated skin would be hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and panthenol.

A face mist is a must-have for dehydrated skin - formulated with Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides, this face mist from Dermalogica works hard to rebuild and rehydrate skin from the inside out. 

How To Support Holistic Skin Health for A Glowing Complexion

Despite the differences between hydration and moisture in skincare, perhaps the most important thing to know is that all skin types need both water and oil in order to function optimally.

Rather than seeking ingredients specifically designed to treat dehydration or dryness, a more supportive approach would be to incorporate a combination of water and oil-based ingredients or better yet, look for products and formulas that contain an emulsion of both components. This way, you’ll ensure that all of your bases are covered and that your skin stays looking and feeling its best.

Beauty Affairs Skin Analysis

If you’re looking for the easy way to finding out which is best for your skin, try our skin analysis quiz! You’ll get a detailed report about your skin type plus a free mini routine just for you. 

Products Mentioned:

  • Dermalogica Circular Hydration Serum
  • Grown Alchemist Antioxidant+ Facial Oil
  • Grown Alchemist Instant Smoothing Serum
  • Dermalogica Hyaluronic Acid Ceramide Mist
  • INIKA Organic Phytofuse Renew™ Rich Night Cream
  • Alexis Adrienne

    Alexis Adrienne

    Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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