What’s the difference? Wait, is there a difference?
For someone who has really dry skin, I never put that much thought into it, when I did, I figured it must just be some fancy marketing jargon to describe the same thing… then I looked deeper. Apparently, there is a difference!!!!
Hydrating your skin is about maintaining the correct level of water in the skin, whereas moisturizing creates a skin barrier to help prevent water loss. So wait, does that mean that my skin is dry or dehydrated?? Well, maybe a combination of both.
When skin is dehydrated, it lacks water on the surface cells (epidermis)…this is when your skin feels tight and we all know tight skin = wrinkles! Severe dehydration shows up as flaking skin.
The biggest jerks to my skin are environmental factors (low humidity, sun exposure), but all skin types (dry, oily, acne and combination) become dehydrated when the protective barrier of the skin has been compromised. Dehydrated skin lacks water and dry skin lacks oils...but they work together. Dry skin can easily become dehydrated when the natural oil content declines and the ability to hold moisture to the skin decreases. According to the skin care experts we need around 20% of water in the top layer of our skin in order to be considered an adequate level of water.
The science -
Our skin care line has 3 important players!
1. Humectants - skin hydrators, the main purpose of these bad boys is to attract water from the atmosphere and hold water molecules to the skin and contribute to increasing the water content in cell membranes. There are many natural humectants like: glycerine, honey, lactic acid, etc.
2. Occlusives - oily compounds that can dissolve fats by coating the skin to trap in the water to prevent water loss. Basically they keep the water from evaporating from our skin and thus creating a barrier. Natural occlusives include: cocoa butter, olive oil, soybean oil, etc.
Cool fact!! There are also ingredients in skin care that function as humectants and occlusives such as lecithin, lanolin and beeswax.
3. Emollients - oils and butters that improve flexibility and smoothness of the skin. Some emollients can also acts as occlusive, like olive oil and soybean oil.
So in a nutshell:
· Humectants attract water to the skin
· Occlusives create a barrier to keep the water from evaporating
· Emollients make the skin feel smooth and flexible.
Whoa, that’s a lot of remember, but to keep our skin happy and healthy we need to choose products that can both balance and more importantly protect our skin from a lack of moisture and hydration.
When choosing products:
1. Choose pH balanced cleansers that will not strip the natural barrier of the skin, but will also deep clean pores. So, look for products that have plant hydrosols with humectants such as glycerin, extracts and vitamin B5.
2. Use hydrating serums with seaweed, mushroom extracts, algae, and hyaluronic acid.
3. Look for creams with occlusive and emollients to lock in the moisture and create a barrier.