Do you need moisture or do you need to hydrate?
Do you know the difference between moisturizing and hydrating your skin? When it comes to skincare, hydrating and moisturizing are often used interchangeably and can make it very confusing for your skincare routine. You think you have found the right skincare product, only to find that your skin condition has not changed months later. I hear you and have experienced this very thing. So, what do you need?
To keep your skin supple and plump, one crucial thing you can do for your skin is to moisturize. But moisturizing does not mean you are hydrating your skin. Moisturizing and hydrating may be interchangeable but have very different meanings. You must understand that difference.
You guessed it, lack of hydration leads to dehydrated skin. Hydrating your skin provides water to make it look plump, smooth, radiant, even-toned, and bouncy. Moisturizing traps and locks in moisture to help build your skin's natural protective barrier against dryness.
Dry and Dehydrated skin can look similar. So, how do you know if you are dehydrated or have dry skin? Let's begin by looking at the four skin types.
Dry – least oil production – skin can become itchy, red, flaky, and irritated
Oily – most oil production – skin can appear shiny or greasy, have large or noticeable pores, skin texture may look thick or rough, occasional or persistent pimples, clogged pores, and blackheads
Normal – well-balanced oil production, no severe sensitivity, barely visible pores
Combination – a mix of Dry and Oily skin
Dryness can occur due to aging, lack of oil production in your cells, climate, genetics, or hormones. Dehydrated skin is not lacking oil; it lacks water. Both are conditions that can make your complexion look dull and lackluster. Determining if your skin needs hydration or moisture comes down to knowing if your skin is dehydrated or dry. It's easier than you think to resolve this.
Dry skin can appear itchy, flaky, dull, rough, and scaly in texture or tight. I can tell you from experience that it can be challenging to fix dry skin. Look for skincare products that contain ingredients that help seal in moisture. Facial oils are also a great source of moisture. There is a great debate about whether you can change dry skin. Here is what I know, you can treat it.
Dehydrated skin will feel parched and produce excess oil because your skin cells mistake it for dryness and try to overcompensate. You may notice accentuated dark circles or shadows, the skin under the eyes may appear sunk in, and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles increases.
So dehydrated or dry skin?
Take the plump pinch test, no tools are necessary, and you can do it from home. Gently pinch your cheek. When you let go, if there is wrinkling or the skin delays in bouncing back, your skin is dehydrated.
The test determines you are dehydrated; now what? Do things to stimulate your body's natural process of keeping skin looking youthful, smooth, and plump.
Drink water. The amount you drink will vary depending on size, diet, and lifestyle. A good rule of thumb is 2 liters a day.
Sleep. Get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Less than seven can negatively affect your body's natural functions, such as slowing your focus, brain activity, and metabolism.
Limit caffeine and alcohol and avoid smoking altogether. Caffeine speeds up water loss because it is a diuretic. Alcohol depletes your skin of moisture through inflammation. Smoking damages collagen and elastin by constricting blood flow to your cells and is a diuretic. Not to mention all the harm it can do to the rest of your body.
A balanced diet. Water-rich fruit and veggies can hydrate your skin – for example, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, grapes, zucchini, bell peppers, etc.
Environment. Excessive sun exposure, harsh winds, and cold weather can affect your skin. Always wear SPF sunscreen, even on cloudy days, cold days, and days you spend inside. Remember, windows do not entirely block harmful UV rays from the sun. Cloud cover can reflect and refract UV rays, making them stronger and more damaging. Use a light wrap around your face to protect yourself from harsh winds and cold weather.
You naturally lose water content as you age, no matter how diligent you are with your lifestyle choices or how good you are at protecting yourself from the elements. Even if you pass the test, it's good practice to hydrate.
Moisturizers are vital to your skincare routine and should be packed with ingredients that pull moisture from within the skin layers to
the skin's surface. Look for moisturizers with aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, peptides, etc.
Adding an oil to your routine can be a game changer regarding hydration levels in your skin.
Oils penetrate deeper into the skin. Oils help to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by pulling more water to the skin's surface. This can leave your skin appearing smoother, youthful, supple, and brighter.
You cannot stop time, but with a little extra attention to moisturizing and hydration, you can slow the visible effect of aging.