What’s the Difference Between a Hydrator vs a Moisturizer?

If you have ever been in the market for new skincare, you have likely seen products advertised as being “hydrating” or “moisturizing” for the skin. While these terms can be used interchangeably, they refer to different aspects and needs of the skin. This week in the blog, we are going to be going through the difference between a product that hydrates vs. moisturizes with board certified and award winning dermatologist Dr. Hadley King so you can choose the best product for your skin type.

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All Things Hydration

Hydration is a common term in skincare which means to help your skin absorb water to become more hydrated, plump and youthful-looking. Hydrators are usually more lightweight than a moisturizer and contain water-soluble ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Ceramides, and Glycerin. Hydrators work best for skin that is showing signs of dehydration.

COSMEDIX serum swatch

How Do I Know if I Need a Hydrator?

If your skin is dehydrated, you may be experiencing more noticeable fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, or tightness of the skin. Dehydration can impact all skin types, including oily and combination skin. If skin is dehydrated, it needs a hydrator to help add water back into the skin. Dr. Hadley King recommends the following products for dehydrated skin:

  • Harmonize Microbiome Boosting Moisturizer
    “This non-comedogenic formulation hydrates, supports the skin barrier, and locks in moisture with Glycerin, Triglycerides, and Squalane. It contains Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, a probiotic that helps to support the skin's microbiome, which plays an important role in skin barrier function. And it contains Lactic Acid, an Alpha Hydroxy Acid that helps hydrate and gently exfoliate, helping to keep pores clear.”
  • Shineless Oil-Free Moisturizer
    “Oily and acne-prone skin still needs moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated and to support the skin barrier. This formulation contains Trehalose and Glycerin to draw moisture into the skin and Triglycerides to help seal in moisture.”

Moisturizer swatches

All About Moisturizers

A moisturizer is typically thicker than a hydrator as moisturizers help seal in hydration to prevent water loss. Moisturizers help restore the skin’s protective barrier to help maintain moisture for a more radiant-looking appearance and use oil-based ingredients such as Shea Butter, Squalane, and Jojoba Oil to help keep skin softer and smoother.  


How Do I Know if I Need a Moisturizer?

If your skin is flaky and/or dry, a moisturizer would work better than a hydrator to help the skin maintain moisture. Dry skin lacks oil, which is why richer ingredients such as Shea Butter are more beneficial. Dr. Hadley King recommends the following products for dry skin:

  • Humidify Deep Moisture & Firming Hydrator
    “Humidify contains the perfect moisturizing combination of Glycerin and Trehalose to hydrate, Jojoba Seed Oil and Triglycerides to support the skin barrier, and Shea Butter to lock in moisture.”
  • Emulsion Intense Hydrator
    “Emulsion is a very effective moisturizer because it contains the perfect combination of Glycerin to hydrate the skin, Shea Butter, Jojoba Seed Oil, and Moringa Oil to support the skin barrier and to lock in moisture. Emulsion is a great choice for dry skin and for any skin type in dry conditions!”

COSMEDIX moisturizer swatches

Can One Product Be Both a Hydrator and a Moisturizer?

Absolutely! One product can have both hydrating and moisturizing ingredients to help the skin absorb and lock in water for the ultimate hydration. Hydrating and moisturizing products can also work well together to help balance the skin if your skin is showing signs of dryness while also showing signs of dehydration. Dr. King recommends the following products to help hydrate and moisturize the skin:

“Resync is a very hydrating and moisturizing night cream. It works great for both dry and dehydrated skin with antioxidant-rich ingredients.”

“Skin Thirst contains the perfect combination of Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate to hydrate the skin, Triglycerides to support the skin barrier, and Dimethicone to lock in moisture, for ultimate moisturizing and hydrating properties that leave the skin looking plump and dewy.“

 To shop more hydrating and moisturizing products to add into your daily skincare routine, or other bestselling products to target other skincare concerns, head to cosmedix.com