How to Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin

If you have dry, flaky skin, or your face is looking lackluster and dull, you might want to find a product to bring life and hydration back into your skin. Hydrators and moisturizers do different things, and you might need to assess your own needs to find out which one is best for you. Deciding between a moisturizer or a hydrator might sound tough, but if you decide whether your skin is dry or dehydrated and read the list of ingredients in your products, you can buy the best moisturizer or hydrator for your skin type with confidence.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Identifying Dry Skin

  1. Examine your skin for visible flaky pieces. If you often have flaky pieces of skin that you can brush off of your face, it means that your skin is dry rather than dehydrated. Look at your skin closely in a mirror and see if you can find any small, flaky pieces of skin. Dry skin means that your skin cells aren’t able to lock in moisture as well as they should be able to.[1]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 1.jpg
    • You might also have dry skin if you notice yourself having to exfoliate often to remove dead, flaky skin.
  2. Brush your fingers against your skin to test for a dry feeling. If your skin is dry, it might feel rough and tight. Lightly move your hands over your skin and feel for tightness and roughness. This usually means that your skin is dry rather than dehydrated.[2]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 2.jpg
  3. Suspect dry skin if you use prescription acne medications. Most prescription acne medications contain ingredients that dry your skin out. This is good for your acne treatment, but they can be very drying for the rest of your skin. If you are on medication for your acne, you can assume that your skin is dry rather than dehydrated.[3]
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    • Your doctor may have talked to you about dry skin as a side effect for your acne medication.
  4. Expect dry skin in the winter time. Winter air is very harsh on your skin, since there is less moisture in the air. If you live in a climate where winter is especially cold, you can expect that your skin will be more dry during that time. You may have to adjust your skin routine as the weather changes.[4]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 4.jpg

[Edit]Recognizing Dehydrated Skin

  1. Examine your skin for a dull and lackluster look. If your skin is not glowing like it used to, or it looks flat and dull, your skin is probably dehydrated. Dehydration causes your skin cells to lose moisture and become flat, making your skin less bouncy and radiant.[5]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 5.jpg
    • As you age, your skin cells have a harder time staying hydrated. It’s normal for your skin to look different as you get older.
  2. Look for new or more prominent wrinkles. If you are starting to notice more wrinkles on your skin than you used to, or if they are becoming more prominent and defined, your skin may be dehydrated. The cells in your skin are losing water, which makes your skin lose its elasticity and creates wrinkles.[6]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 6.jpg
  3. Suspect dehydration if you sweat a lot. If you exercise frequently or sweat often, your skin is losing hydration at a rapid pace. This means that it is not a moisture retention problem, but a dehydration problem. Determine if you sweat more than the average person.[7]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 7.jpg
  4. Consider how much water you drink in a day. Hydrating your skin also depends on how much water you drink. Think about how much you are consuming on a day to day basis. If you are drinking other fluids like soda, coffee, and alcohol more than you drink water, your skin is probably dehydrated.[8]
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    • There is no “right” amount of water to drink in one day. It depends on your body and how active you are.
  5. Expect dehydration in the summer months. Summer usually dehydrates your skin because you sweat more in the heat. If you live in a climate that gets hot during the summer and you notice that you are losing more moisture throughout the day, your skin is probably dehydrated.[9]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 9.jpg
    • Air conditioners also suck moisture out of the air, which could make your skin dehydration worse.

[Edit]Buying a Moisturizer for Dry Skin

  1. Use a lightweight lotion or gel moisturizer during summer months for dry skin. If you have dry skin during the summer or hot months, try a moisturizer that is lightweight and won’t trap in your sweat as you wear it. Usually, these are lotions or gels that you can rub into your skin and won’t sit on top of it. They will help your skin cells lock in moisture throughout the day.[10]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 10.jpg
    • Make sure the moisturizer you buy doesn’t contain any alcohol in the ingredients. Alcohol will dry out your skin more.
    • Lightweight moisturizers are also good for acne-prone skin.
  2. Apply a heavy moisturizer during the winter for dry skin. Dry skin can get worse during the colder months, because the air is more dry. If your skin gets noticeably more dry during the winter, try a heavy moisturizer, like coconut oil or petroleum jelly. Try to find products that don’t have a lot of additives in them. Heavy moisturizers help your skin retain moisture during dry periods.[11]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 11.jpg
    • You can buy heavy moisturizers at most grocery and home goods stores.
  3. Use a water-based moisturizer if you have oily skin. Oily skin can still be dry in some areas. If your skin produces excess oil, you should buy a moisturizer that is water based so that it doesn’t clog your pores. Check the ingredients carefully before you purchase a moisturizer.
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 12.jpg
  4. Buy a fragrance and dye-free skin if you have eczema or sensitive skin. Some moisturizers add ingredients like fragrances, dyes, or additives that can irritate your skin. Check the ingredients on your moisturizer before you purchase it and make sure that it has as little ingredients as possible.[12]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 13.jpg
    • If you know you are allergic to a certain ingredient, check to make sure the moisturizer you purchase doesn’t have that either.

[Edit]Purchasing a Hydrator for Dehydrated Skin

  1. Use a topical hydrator that has aloe, honey, or marine extracts. Hydrators help to draw water into your skin cells by using natural humectants. Things like aloe, honey, and marine extracts all contain humectants that are good for skin cells and will teach your skin how to retain hydration over time.[13]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 14.jpg
  2. Buy water-based hydrators if you have oily skin. If you have more oily skin but you’ve noticed that your skin is also dehydrated, choose water-based moisturizers and hydrators so you don’t clog your pores with excess products. Making sure your skin is hydrated can actually reduce the amount of oil that your skin produces, since it will make your skin more healthy.[14]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 15.jpg
    • Most hydrators are water-based by default, but it is always good to double check.
  3. Don’t buy hydrators with glycerin, urea, or propylene. These ingredients are synthetic, and can actually irritate your skin more. If you have sensitive skin or skin conditions that make you more prone to skin dehydration, be extra cautious when buying a hydrator and look out for these ingredients before making a purchase.[15]
    Choose Between a Moisturizer or Hydrator for Your Skin Step 16.jpg
    • If you are buying skin products online, the website should have a list of ingredients about each product. Otherwise, check on the back of the product in the store.

[Edit]References

  1. https://www.dermstore.com/blog/hydrating-vs-moisturizing/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-skin/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353891
  3. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/01/187758/acne-treatment-dry-skin-products
  4. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-heal-dry-cracked-winter-skin-according-to-science-2018-1
  5. https://theklog.co/difference-between-hydrating-and-moisturizing-products/
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wrinkles/symptoms-causes/syc-20354927
  7. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-exercise/
  8. https://www.dermalinstitute.com/article/18/
  9. https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/dehydrated-skin-treatment
  10. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/how-to-choose-moisturizer
  11. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/hydration-moisture#how-to-choose-the-best-type
  12. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/moisturizing/
  13. https://www.dermstore.com/blog/hydrating-vs-moisturizing/
  14. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/hydration-moisture#how-to-choose-the-best-type
  15. https://www.dermstore.com/blog/hydrating-vs-moisturizing/

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