Skin Talk: Hydration Vs Moisture

Skin Talk: Hydration Vs Moisture

Almost all of us know that water has a key role in skin health and is crucial for smooth, fresh and radiant skin. Therefore, it has a central role in every skincare product that promises to hydrate and moisturise the skin. But a point to ponder is that many of us use the two terms hydration and moisture interchangeably and they are not precisely the same thing. Although both have a crucial role in providing the skin with much needed nourishment, understanding the fundamental difference can help us to choose products specific to our skin's needs.

Hydration is the water content within the cells that leads them to be plump and bouncy, thus reflecting glowing, dewy and youthful skin. On the other hand, moisturising is about trapping and sealing in moisture, building the skin's protective layer, preventing water loss and keeping the skin soft and smooth. 

Difference Between Hydrators and Moisturisers

Moisturisers and hydrators ensure that the skin is getting all the water it needs to fight dryness and dehydration, the early signs of ageing and environmental damage. However, the difference lies mostly in their formulation, which determines how they go about achieving these results.

Moisturisers are oil-based ingredients, containing occlusive agents, such as mineral oil and emollients like esters and plant oils. The occlusive agents in the moisturiser create a seal on the skin's surface, preventing the escape of water. Moisturiser also makes the skin feel smoother and less dry," says Healthline. Hydrators however, are ingredients called humectants such as glycerine and hyaluronic acid, which absorb water from the atmosphere or even our skin itself and entrap the water within our skin. Hydrating humectants are often found in skin serums.

It's essential to recognise that they work very differently because our choices can make or break our skin health. The end goal might be the same — better-hydrated skin — but the game plan depends on our skin type.


Our skin type and it's overall health are crucial; Environmental stressors can also be a significant factor in determining whether we need more hydration or moisture in our routines. Our environment can supply us with a fair amount of hydration; consider the difference during the warm and humid summer months in comparison to the dry and freezing winter and their effect on the skin. For people in humid weather, humectants should be first choice because they pull the moisture from the air into the skin cells. But if you are residing in dry weather or colder months, when humidity is low, too many hydrators with humectants can pull too much moisture from your skin and have an adverse effect.

In this case, it's wise to use fewer hydrators and more moisturisers to protect the hydration in your skin from evaporating. In the burning days of summer heat, most can probably get away by applying a hydrating serum (don't forget your SPF) and a light moisturiser. As there is substantial humidity in the air, we don't need to add a lot of added moisture. On the contrary, when the air is arid during winters, our skin needs extra moisture on top of hydrating serums.

How to Know If You need a Hydrator or a Moisturiser?

How does one differentiate the need for Hydration or moisture from their skincare products? Well, most of us need both types of products to ensure that the skin's lipid barrier is functioning correctly. If your skin is dry, it means it is deficient of the required oil content so that the solution would be a moisturiser; however, if your skin is dehydrated, indeed it lacks water, and you need a hydrator."

A close and detailed look at the skin texture help determines whether the skin is dry or dehydrated. Dehydrated skin seems dull and feels tight, whereas dry skin is usually flaky, patchy, and sometimes red. 

For best results, you should apply hydrators and moisturisers in the morning and night. It is best to apply eye creams, moisturisers and night creams after applying your hydrating serum.

We recommend using Beautifully Nourished's Vitamin ACE Facial Serum in conjunction with our Pro Age Eye Cream and Vitamin ACE Moisturiser during the day and alongside our Skin Rejuvenating Night Cream for a hydrating and moisturising night's sleep.

We hope that you enjoyed your daily Skin Fix. 

With love, Beautifully Nourished x  
Dr Ayesha Gulzar, PharmD, Doctor of Pharmacy, Research and Medicine
Editor and Founder: Katherine Elyse Blake, BSC Nutrition, ANutr

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