Moisturising vs Hydrating - what's the difference anyway?

Did you know our skin contains both oil-loving and water-loving layers? This is why we need to understand the difference between ‘hydration’ and ‘moisturising’ in our skincare routine.

The outer layer of the epidermis is oil-loving (and hence water-hating) which is why we don’t fill up with water every time we have a shower. Oils penetrate into this top layer and it is here they do their best work. That’s why cleansing with an oil cleanser is the best form of cleansing, as it effectively addresses the skin health of this outer layer. Moisturisation is the provision of the right balance of ingredients to effectively maintain the health of the 'natural moisturising factor' present in our skin.

The layers deeper down in the epidermis are more water-loving. The outer oily layer not only helps prevent too much water getting into the body, it also helps prevent the loss of too much water through evaporation thereby keeping your skin feeling soft and smooth. Ensuring we get enough water internally (through our diet) as well as externally (via our skincare) is how we balance the hydration of the skin and body.

A moisturiser is an oil/water emulsion (ie oil and water molecules are 'forced' together using an emulsifier) so it can provide both the oils required by the outer layers of the skin, as well as the water-based actives required deeper down. 

As we age, our skin produces less oil so will benefit from the barrier effects provided by a richer moisturiser. In addition to this, gel-based (water-based) serums are a good way to get the goodies down to where they can do most good. They are water soluble, and packed with high performing actives. 

Both oil-loving and water-loving layers in our skin are important for the protection of our skin’s health, and the regulation of our body. For the same reason, both oil-based and water-based products are important in our skincare routine. Don't shy away from products with a high water content, because your skin needs a whole lot of water to maintain it's health. 

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