How to differentiate between Hydrating and Moisturizing Skin?

Hydration and moisturization are two different skin care demands. Hydrating ingredients in beauty products attract water to the skin’s outermost layer, while moisturizing ingredients lubricate the skin surface to prevent water from escaping. Hydrating and Moisturizing skin may sound to have similar purpose, but have some major differences.

Hydrating Skin

Hydrating your skin is just like you hydrate your body. As your body needs hydration to look and feel its best and, whatever your skin type is, it also needs hydration.

Your skin’s hydration can be increased by use of Humectants. These increase your skin’s hydration by attracting water from environment for your skin. These ingredients also help get water from deep layers beneath your skin like the dermis. They bring out water from them to the outermost layer of your skin, called the dermis. For example, Glycerin, Panthenol, Honey, Urea, Gelatin, Hyaluronic Acid, Alpha-hydroxy Acids, and Sorbitol.

Moisturizing Skin

Humectants ingredients can also help in moisturizing.

Moisturizing skin is essential to avoid letting it go dry. It adds an adequate amount of oil surface to your skin to ensure your skin stays hydrated and avoid water from evaporating out. Acting as a barrier on your skin, to prevent water loss, many moisturizing creams work best to retain your skin moisture and adequate water levels.

There are many moisturizing creams available in market. Some examples are listed below.


These ingredients strengthen the skin barrier and improve your skin’s texture and appearance. Examples substances are fatty acids and alcohols.

Protein rejuvenators

Proteins that replenish other vital proteins which may rejuvenate your skin. For example, keratin, collagen, and elastin in creams are good to moisturize your skin.


The lipids and oils help form a layer on the skin and in turn prevent water loss. For example, beeswax, mineral oil, lanolin, and petrolatum.

In addition to these ingredients, Humectants that hydrate your skin also help as moisturisers.

Difference between Hydrating and Moisturizing

Hydration is to provide water to the skin, while moisturizing is to retain water in the skin and make it skin less dry.

As for skin types, Hydration is essential for dehydrated skin, while moisturising works for dry skin.

Hydration supplies skin with water, while moisturization retains the water by adding a sebum, or oil (moisture) layer to your skin.

To sum up, hydration provides skin with moisture, and moisturization helps retain that moisture.