Hydration Vs. Moisture in skincare

Jan 13, 2023

Hydration Vs. Moisture in skincare
The terms hydration and moisture are often used interchangeably, but they are not synonymous. Different types of ingredients participate in these two distinct skin care needs. [1] Hydrating ingredients increase the amount of water in the outermost layer of the skin, while moisturizing ingredients help nourish the skin and seal in hydration. Read more to learn which ingredients your skin really needs.

What Is Dry Skin? 

Dry skin is characterized by a dull appearance with visible white flakes and cracks. [2] Dry skin has many causes, including age, genetics, hormones, and external environmental factors (sun, wind and/or dry weather). [3]

Moisturizing is particularly suitable for dry skin, which produces less of the skin's natural oils, called sebum. Moisturizing is achieved by using emollients and occlusives, which are oil-based ingredients. Emollients are excellent for strengthening the skin's barrier function and improving the appearance and texture of the skin. Occlusives form a thin layer on the skin to prevent water loss. [1]

In other words, moisturizing ingredients have a positive impact on the skin's hydration, smoothness, and flexibility. Facial oils are particularly well suited for dry skin to restore a healthy glow. For example, sunflower seed oil has been shown to have excellent skin barrier repair and maintenance effects. [4]




What Is Dehydrated Skin?

Dehydrated skin can be recognized by dull and lackluster complexion, with fine lines and wrinkles becoming more visible. [5] In contrast, well-hydrated skin will look soft, plump and radiant.


In the case of dehydrated skin, the use of humectants such as hyaluronic acid can help restore hydration. They have a strong water-binding potential and, therefore, can infuse cells with water. [5]




A final note

Moisturizing and hydrating ingredients offer different benefits to support healthy, radiant skin. A healthy-looking skin most likely needs both. All skin types can benefit from more water. Moisture follows hydration to nourish the skin and prevent hydration loss.



[1] Medical News Today (2022) What is the difference between skin hydration and moisture?
[2] Janeš D. and Kočevar Glavač, N. Eds. (2018). Modern Cosmetics, Ingredients of Natural Origin, A Scientific View, Volume 1, Velenje: Širimo dobro besedo d.o.o.
[3] Pensé-Lhéritier, A.-M. (2016). Évaluation des produits cosmétiques – L’Objectivation. Paris: Tec & Doc Lavoisier.
[4] Purnamawati S, Indrastuti N, Danarti R, Saefudin T. (2017) The Role of Moisturizers in Addressing Various Kinds of Dermatitis: A Review. Clin Med Res. Dec;15(3-4):75-87.
[5] Racho, J. Hydrator vs. Moisturizer: What’s the Difference and Which One Do You Need?