It’s not uncommon for the terms hydration and moisturisation to be used
interchangeably, as if they mean the same. But, they are NOT the same. If
you’ve been struggling with dull, dry skin and no number of moisturisers seem
to be doing the trick, this post might just tell you why.
First, let’s understand how skin works…
Our skin has a lipid barrier made up of water and fats (lipids) to protect it from
damage and water loss. If your skin appears dull, dry and flaky, it’s probably
because your skin isn’t producing enough lipids to keep the barrier intact. If
the barrier isn’t intact, your skin cannot retain moisture, leading to dehydration.
The role of skin hydrants and moisturisers
The simplest way to put it is: hydrating agents feed moisture to your skin,
whereas moisturiser locks in that moisture.
Hydrating products’ main job is to increase the skin’s water content. As such,
it’s made up of hygroscopic ingredients like glycerine, honey and Aloe Vera.
A hygroscopic substance is something that can attract water from its
surroundings by absorption or adsorption. Generally, it absorbs moisture from
the air and binds it to the skin.
Moisturisers, on the other hand, are built to prevent water loss from the skin’s
surface. Think of it as an extra barrier. It retains the moisturise, reduces the
risk of evaporation and promotes production of lipid cells that strengthen the
Dehydrated skin lacks water and needs constant hydrating, whereas dry skin
lacks oil and needs moisturising.
What does my skin need?
Have you ever felt like you’ve applied a rich creamy layer of moisturiser but
your skin still feels parched? You’re not alone. Most of us, especially those
living in hot and humid areas, need both.
Without a hydrant, a moisturiser will only lock in the water that already exists,
which means your skin will still feel dehydrated and look dull. Conversely,
without a moisturiser, all the water that the hydrant supplied to your skin will
evaporate into thin air, making it rough and flaky.
So, what do I use?
Hyaluronic acid is currently considered to be the gold standard of hydration. A
hydrant should be the base product, to replenish water content. Follow it up
with a moisturiser to seal the moisture.
At the end of the day, we still believe that the Holy Grail of hydration is actually
drinking copious amounts of water and eating water-rich foods.
We hope this solves your permanently-parched skin woes!