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Hydrating vs. Moisturizing: 5 Differences to Know

Posted by ChapStick® on Jan 27th 2021

Hydrating vs. Moisturizing: 5 Differences to Know

Hydrating vs. moisturizing…is there really a difference? Skincare gurus out there know the answer: yes! Even though both involve protecting your skin from dryness (i), hydration and moisturizing are two separate processes that can involve two different sets of products.

Below, we’ll cover the top five differences between hydrating vs. moisturizing that you should be aware of when shopping for skincare and lip care products.

1. Hydration: It’s About What’s Inside

When we talk about hydration, we’re referring to the water content inside of cells. When a cell is full of water, or hydrated, it appears plump and bouncy. Hydrated and plump cells reflect light well, which is where your “glow” comes from. When cells don’t have enough water, or are dehydrated, they shrivel up and make skin appear lackluster (i).

If you’re having trouble visualizing this image, think about a grape and a raisin. A grape, which is fresh, full of water, and plump, is like a hydrated cell. A raisin, on the other hand, is like a dehydrated cell—shriveled up, dried out, and definitely not glowing. Makes hydration look pretty attractive, doesn’t it? When it comes to hydrating vs. moisturizing, hydration is the first key point to understand.

2. Moisturizing = Protection, Protection, Protection

If hydrating works from the inside out, then moisturizing works from the outside in. The function of moisturizing is to protect hydrated cells from losing water content by fortifying the skin’s protective barrier. When you moisturize, you’re trapping and sealing moisture into your cells, which results in skin that’s smooth, soft, and supple (i). In terms of hydrating vs. moisturizing, if you’ve put in the effort to hydrate your skin, keeping it moisturized is the second step to ensure that it stays that way!

3. Dull Skin Is a Sign of Dehydration

Ready for your glow-up? Hydration is key. When skin feels dry, it can be tempting to layer on the moisturizer. But if the issue is originating below the surface, your treatment needs to take a different approach. If your skin is dehydrated, that means that your skin cells are thirsty—they have been deprived of water and therefore have lost their plumpness and volume. Dehydrated cells can make skin appear dull and lifeless. Are you noticing more fine lines and wrinkles? This is also a sign of cellular dehydration (i). It’s possible for skin to be moisturized but dehydrated (i), which is why it’s important to take a two-pronged approach to your skin- and lip-care routine.

4. Oil vs. Water

While hydrating is all about water, moisturizing is about oil. On a technical level, a moisturizer works to help reduce something called trans-epidermal water loss. Healthy skin produces lipid cells that communicate with sebaceous glands, which are responsible for oil production. Functioning lipid cells and sebaceous glands support the skin’s ability to protect itself from moisture loss naturally. However, when the skin’s lipid barrier is insufficient, the skin’s surface is not covered with enough sebum to prevent moisture from evaporating. This is where a moisturizer comes in. The function of moisturizing is to help support your skin’s natural barrier in order to maintain moisture and keep skin from drying out (ii).

5. Hydration Goes Beyond Skin- and Lip-Care

Hydration is essential for healthy skin, but it’s also important for your body’s health overall. Drinking plenty of water plays a part in a number of bodily functions, including regulating body temperature, helping the kidneys and liver flush out waste, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells, lubricating joints, and protecting body organs (iii). Hard to argue with that…we’re refilling our water bottles right now!

Looking for products to help you stay hydrated and moisturized?  ChapStick® Vitamin Enriched Non Tinted Lip Oils do both: the Omega 3/6/9 rich oils also help reduce the appearance of fine lines by moisturizing and hydrating your lips! For products that focus on hydration, try ChapStick® Total Hydration Sea Minerals Nutri-Riche balm that acts as a lip treatment rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and locks in moisture for smooth lips. Trying to up your moisture game? Go for the ChapStick® Moisturizer line, which features 11 moisturizing ingredients like aloe and vitamin E for up to 8 hour moisturization, and is available in classic flavors like Black CherryCool Mint, and Original.


i.  Hydrator vs. Moisturizer: What’s the Difference and Which One Do You Need?

ii.  Hydrating vs Moisturizing Skin Care. Bee Naturals Skin Care.

iii.  Water: Essential to your body. Mayo Clinic Health System.