Difference Between Hydrating and Moisturizing
Moisturizers and hydrators both address the importance of making sure the skin is getting all the water it needs to fight dryness and dehydration, premature signs of aging and environmental damage. The difference, however, lies mostly in how they go about achieving these results.
“Hydration [refers to] the water content within the cells that leads them to swell and be plump and bouncy, thus reflecting light well. If water flows out of the cells and the cells are dehydrated, they can become shriveled, which leads to lackluster skin,” explains board-certified dermatologist Anna Guanche, MD, FAAD. This means that when you’re using a topical hydrator, you’re infusing your cells with water and improving your skin’s ability to absorb moisture and nutrients.
On the other hand, moisturizing is about trapping and sealing in moisture to build the skin’s protective barrier, prevent water loss and keep the skin soft and smooth, says board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD.