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It seems that every day there is a new skin care brand on the market pushing endless products promising healthy, smooth, and radiant skin which makes it almost impossible to decide what to choose. Add to that almost all of them claiming to either “moisturize” or “hydrate” your skin and it can be a rabbit hole that is hard to climb out of.

“Which is better for my skin, hydrating or moisturizing lotion?”

This question, or some version of it, is one of the most frequently asked questions I get from patients here at Camas Medspa. Before you can even begin to decide the best skincare routine, the first step is to understanding the difference between the terms “hydrate” and “moisturize.” While, both are essential parts of your skin care, they are not the same thing and are often used interchangeably, which can create more confusion.

Hydrate and Moisturize – Definitions

“Hydration” is about infusing your cells with water to improve your skin’s ability to absorb moisture and nutrients.

“Moisturizing,” is about trapping and sealing in the moisture to build the skin’s natural protective barrier to prevent water loss and to ensure that your skin remains soft and smooth.

So what’s the difference?

While there is a difference, both hydrators and moisturizes work to combat dryness and dehydration to help you achieve youthful, supple skin.

If you have dry skin, that means your skin is lacking oil and it needs to be moisturized.

If you have dehydrated skin, your skin lacks water and it needs to be hydrated.

Dry or Dehydrated… determining your skin’s needs.

To know if your skin is dry or dehydrated, it’s important to look at the condition of your skin.

The skin has a natural lipid barrier that protects itself from damage and water loss. Dry, flaking skin tells you that there are not enough lipid cells to form a protective barrier, making it unable to lock in moisture. And that’s where moisturizers come in.

If your skin is dull and any fine lines and wrinkles you have are becoming noticeable, you can see that your skin is dehydrated. This is when a hydrator is necessary to give your skin much needed nourishment.

If your skin is dry and dehydrated, it is perfectly fine to use both a moisturizer and hydrator and both should be applied in the morning (before sunscreen) and at night.

FINAL TIP: Apply your hydrator before you moisturize!

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Click here for our step by step infographic.

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