Face: Hydration vs Moisturising


Hydration Moisturising


Bind water into our skin  

Prevent water from leaving the skin


Order of application General rule: Hydrate first and then moisturise

That said, there are number of moisturisers that are made of a balance of three types of ingredients listed below:



Major ingredients

Humectants are essentially water binders. They are substances that draw water molecules from the surrounding environment into themselves.


Humectant ingredients:

–          Glycerin/ glycerol

–         Hyularonic acid

–          Tremella mushroom

–          Sugars, honey

–          Collagen

–          Lactic acid



Emollients are substances that give moisturising creams the texture (surface thickening agents). Emollient’s function is to smooth the surface of the skin: they fill in all the cracks in the skin making it feel smooth and even to touch.


Emollient ingredients are primarily lipids and oils:

–          Vegetable oils

–          Butters

–          Ceramidin(emollient lipids that are the most similar to those found in our skin naturally aid barrier repair the fastest and the most – Ceremites)

–          Silicones

–         Fatty acids / alcohols


Occlusive ingredients form a film over the skin and “seal” the water into the skin.

–          Petroleum jelly ( occlusive ingredient capable of blocking 98% of water loss from the skin)

–          Mineral oils (petroleum derived)

–          Beewax

–          Olive oil

–          Silicones

–          Lanolil

–          Zinc oxide






Use well formulated products.

–          Products with high concentration of humectants can cause irritation



Emollient moisturisers and lipid – liquid ratio:

Gel-like and liquid moisturisers have higher content of liquid. Thicker creams have more lipids in them proportionate to liquid. Emollients are not always effective and long-lasting.


Occlusives can be very effective; however, they can feel waxy or greasy on the skin and cause acne or folliculitis



What does it mean for your skin care routine?

Beautiful and healthy skin is a reflection of our overall health – if you drink proper amount of water and make healthy dietary choices your skin should be hydrated from within. Look at the condition of your skin and make choices based on that.

Knowing your skin type (constant throughout your life) and skin condition (current state) you can choose skincare product based on the ingredient list.

Dehydration is usually a big thing for people with dry skin. As such, work on hydrating your body from within as well as ensure that your skincare provides enough hydration and prevents water loss. Some people have chronic case of dehydration which makes them believe that their skin is dry. That said, if your skin is actually dry, hydration and skin barrier are essential.

If your skin is oily, it is already very good at trapping the moisture by self-producing the oils. As such, when you choose your skincare products, you can give more weights to humectants and less to emollient and occlusive ingredients since your skin has naturally produced skin oil barrier (This is why my favorite coconut oil sometimes interferes with oily skin and causes acne)) That said, sometimes our skin overproduces sebum due to dehydration. This means that you should hydrate your skin in order to learn if oily skin is really your skin type or it is a skin condition due to lack of hydration.

If you have normal skin, it means your skin is well balanced and you should be looking for balanced products to support your skin fully.

If you have combination skin, you should hydrate and then make assessment of the zones and corresponding skin types in order to choose the right skincare products for yourself.

How about “anti-age” skincare category?

Vast majority of anti-age creams are simply moisturizers since moisturizers are the best way to visibly plump up the skin. If you see claims like “Clinically proven to reduce the signs of aging” or “97% of women reported smoother, less wrinkled skin” be aware that such claims usually come from self-reported trials done by the company’s R&D. Women participating in such trials are usually asked to avoid using moisturizer for a week which naturally dehydrates the skin and deepens the fine lines and wrinkles. Then, after using the new anti-aging cream, women are asked to describe and rate the results which naturally a great since moisturizer is the best to plump up the skin.

In truth, unless a product contains retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acids, the product does not really reduce wrinkles.


Thanks for reading,



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