Hydration versus Moisturisation and Protection Tips

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Hydration versus Moisturisation: Helping You Decode 

If you are even a tiny bit conscious about skincare, you must have heard the words “hydrate” and “moisturise” over and over again. The market is filled with products that want you to hydrate and moisturise your skin. Both these terms are used interchangeably but mean different things. Both are essentials in the skincare routine but they are not the same. Knowing the difference between the two would enhance your skincare regime and help you make a more informed choice about the products you buy.  

Hydration v/s Moisturisation: What is the difference? 


Photo by Arnie Watkins on Pexels

Although they both work to provide essentials to your skin, they are different. To understand the difference between the two, we need to begin by understanding their definitions. 60% of your body is made up of water. It is therefore extremely important to maintain and replenish the water levels. Hydration and moisturisation act in different ways to ensure that this delicate balance is maintained. Hydration refers to the water level that is there in your cells and it is this that gives the plump and bouncy skin that you so love. Dehydrated cells become shriveled, giving your skin a lackluster look. Moisturisation, on the other hand, is about trapping the moisture of your skin to protect its natural protective barrier. 

Hydration or Moisturisation: What does your body need?  

If hydration and moisturisation act differently how do you know what your body needs? Does it need hydration or moisturisation or both? 

Do you have dry skin or tend to have flaky one? If you are nodding to this then you need a moisturiser to not let the moisture of your body escape. A healthy dollop of moisturiser would give you the plumpy, bouncy look back. If on the other hand, you feel that your skin is dull and lackluster and there is the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, your skin is dehydrated and you need to replenish it.  

If your skin feels soft it means it is hydrated but the softness will not last if there is no oil to trap the hydration. If the hydration levels go down, your skin becomes dull and flaky. But putting oil on a dehydrated skin will only work temporarily and will not have the bouncy feeling that it should.

What is the right type? 

Now that you know what to choose, the next important question is how to pick the right kind. Well, when it comes to a hydrating product, the ingredients used are generally suitable for all skin types. They are mostly alcohol-free and water-soluble and do not clog your pores. All this means that they do not actively irritate or dry out your skin. Moisturisers, however, are a different ball game altogether. Buying one depends upon your skin type, the season and the formulation, light or heavy.  

Hydrator or Moisturiser: What goes first? 

Remember, both hydration and moisturisation are skincare essentials that work to provide the precious delicate balance of water in your body. You may choose hydrating and moisturizing products as per your skincare requirement but for optimal results, it is recommended that you incorporate both hydration and moisturisation in your twice-daily skincare routine. Applying the moisturiser after the hydrator would ensure that it doesn’t peel. 

Following this order and this routine will up the game of your skincare. Your skin regains its moisture balance but will also make the moisturiser act more effectively. The hydrating product will make your skin more amenable towards absorbing the ingredients that a moisturizer has. 

How do you hydrate and moisturise your skin?


Photo by Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash

Water is the key to a balanced, youthful skin. Here are some simple tips for hydration and moisturization for a healthy, happy skin: 

A: Hydration: Dehydration in your body occur mainly to external factors and lifestyle choices that you make. Factors like change in weather or seasons, drinking too much caffeine, alcohol or a healthy diet deplete your body’s natural water content and make it dehydrated. As a consequence your skin looks dull and lackluster, has increased sensitivity and wrinkles and fine lines make a premature entry on your face. Following are ways in which you could protect your skin from dehydrating: 

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine are the top two reasons for dehydration of your skin. Both rob your skin off its natural water content and upset the balance. Alcohol is even worse as it also impinges the production of a hormone essential for re-hydration. So a glass of alcohol or cup of coffee or two is fine, more than that and your skin’s health gets compromised.  
  • Use a Gentle Cleanser: A gentle cleanser would wash away impurities that your skin has accumulated and re-hydrate your skin. 
  • Use a Serum with Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid does wonder in restoring the delicate H2O balance of your skin. It binds the moisture of your skin keeping it soft and plump. 
  • Exfoliation: Establish a weekly exfoliation routine to unearth the fresh new layer of your skin which lay hidden your dead skin cells. 
  • Drink water: Lots and lots of it. The recommended amount is 8 glasses of water in a day   

B: Moisturising: Your skin loses moisture for various reasons. Following the tips below and do your bit in locking it up so that your skin thanks you later: 

  • Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise: The miracle that this humble product unleashes cannot be stressed enough. Remember the three-minute rule. Moisturise your skin within three minutes of stepping out of the shower while it is still damp. 
  • Cover-Up: UV rays are the worst offenders when it comes to dry skin. Dress right and use a sunscreen with SPF 30+. 
  • Use a gentle cleanser:  Harsh cleansers deplete your skin of its natural oils. Use a soap-free cleanser to prevent drying of your skin.  
  • Warm shower over a hot one: Hot shower takes away the natural oils of your body and leaves it feeling dry. Take a warm one to let your skin remain supple. 
  • Be a smart shaver: If you shave your skin, do not forget to use a shaving cream or gel. This will protect your skin from getting dry and irritated. Immediately after your shower the best time to shave as the hair are at their softest best during this time. And not to forget a sharp razor as a blunt one will cause irritation. 

In short: 

Both hydration and moisturisation are essential for your skin but are not the same. Both target your skin differently. While hydration works towards maintaining the water level of your skin, moisturisation helps lock the natural moisture level of your skin.  Hydration takes away the lackluster look of your while and moisturization helps with the dryness. However, they are not called the dream team for nothing. Both should be used for an optimal skincare regime. Following simple tips like keeping your body hydrated, cutting on caffeine, remembering the 3 minute rule for moisturisation etc would help you keep your skin in shape.  

Like you water your plants, you need to water your skin and knowing the difference between hydration and moisturisation would help give your skin the most optimal care it needs and keep your skin looking radiant and supple.  

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