Since dehydrated skin is lacking in water or moisture, it but follows that hydration involved increasing the water content in cells. This results in skin that is full of vitality, smooth, healthy and plump. Wrinkles and fine lines become less evident and general cellular function is supported. Plump and supple skin is hydrated skin. The key to maintaining hydration is to consume an abundance of water and use ingredients that attract moisture into the skin.
Moisturization is the act of using a hydrophobic (i.e. water hating) ingredients to create a barrier that reduces the loss of moisture and locks in hydration. This barrier or coating of an oil-based substance replicates the function of sebum (in the healthy or normal skin) and minimizes transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Such a barrier is produced by occlusive substances. There is a second category known as emollients. Not only do these ingredients perform the job of an occlusive, but they also increase flexibility or pliability of the skin, ensure smoothness, provide a soothing action, reduce inflammation and help barrier repair.
Given that hydration involves drawing water into the skin and moisturization is the act of 'locking’ the moisture within, it makes sense that hydrating the skin should precede moisturization. It is advised that a serum containing a humectant should be applied first (topically), followed by a lipid (such as a facial oil) to seal in the hydration.
Having gained a thorough understanding of the differences between hydration and moisturization, the final step is to know which ingredients help which cause.
Humectants or hydrophilic (ingredients liking water) are ideal for this purpose. Examples include alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, malic, and fruit acids), glycerin (vegetable based), honey, Aloe Vera, sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid. The reason why simply drinking more water is not enough is because the skin is the last organ to receive 'internal hydration’. Topical application of ingredients which boost the moisture content of skin is beneficial.
Hyaluronic acid is known as the gold standard of hydration as each molecule is minuscule but can hold about a thousand times its weight in water. This is brilliant for boosting moisture levels in the skin. This is a molecule naturally found in the human body, but unfortunately, much like collagen, its quantity decreases as we age or in the presence of environmental (or sometimes internal) aggressors.
If you simply desire occlusive properties petroleum, mineral oil, lanolin, Dimethicone, and allantoin are great options. Emollients, however, are much better for the skin and include oils, butter, and esters. Examples include cocoa butter, shea butter, evening primrose oil, borage oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, rosehip seed oil, pomegranate oil, and grapeseed oil.
While oily (or dehydrated) skins should focus on oils with a greater concentration of GLA (Gamma Linoleic Acid), drier skins should use oils with a high concentration of oleic acid. This is because Oleic acid is very close to the texture of human sebum; a blessing for dry skins and a disaster for others. Using such oils and butter provides the skin with a dose of vitamins, collagen boosters, regenerative benefits all while maintaining a barrier to prevent moisture loss.
In conclusion, it is essential to realize that all skin requires both hydration and moisturization to ensure plumpness, smoothness and balance oil production. The only thing which changes is which step the focus lies on. The oily or dehydrated skin should focus on hydration, while dry skin needs thick moisturizers.
Difference Between Dehydrated & Dry Skin
Does your skin feel tight and ashy? Maybe you struggle with dull lifeless skin? Are you consuming plenty of water...