There is often a misunderstanding between the terms Hydrating and Moisturizing, especially as it pertains to the health of our skin. Most of us experience some form of dry skin condition, whether it be a chronic condition, or merely temporary. In many cases, external and environmental conditions will cause dry skin, whether it is from low temperatures and low humidity, the use of soaps, cleansers and sanitizers with harsh chemicals or alcohol. Other times, it can be the result of internal elements ranging from basic age and genetic issues to specific medical issues like allergies, asthma and thyroid conditions.
In many cases, our level of internal hydration can effect the moisture level in our skin. If our body is dehydrated, our body will conserve the water it stores in our tissues and prioritize its usage so that our major organs, like the brain, heart and lungs, while preventing it from transferring into the skin and other extremities. It’s an organic body-survival process, and there isn’t anything we can – or should – do to alter that process. The key is to keep yourself properly hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of fluids, while also avoiding food and beverages that have diuretic properties and cause water loss, like:
- highly processed foods.
By keeping ourselves properly hydrated, we maintain a healthy water balance in our body, allowing our internal systems to have the resources it needs to properly hydrate both internal organs and our skin.
The act of moisturizing your skin is a topical approach to hydrating the top epidermal layers. Moisturizers can be broken down into two distinct types, occlusive and humectant.
- Occlusive moisturizers are designed more to prevent water loss than they are to add moisture or redistribute moisture. They tend to be more oil-based, and prevent water from leaving the skin by creating a film on top of the skin to retain the moisture. If you have sensitive or oily skin, this can cause problems, including skin irritation, clogged pores and more.
- Humectant moisturizers can be found in a wide range of skin and hair care products, as humectants work by taking moisture from the air and absorbing it into the skin, as well as transferring moisture from the lower layers of our skin to the top, dryer layers.
By understanding the conditions that cause dry skin, both the general conditions that we all deal with and the skin hydration and moisturizing issues specific to your own body, we can not only provide our skin with the best base for health and determine the best moisturizers to use when our moisture balance isn’t at optimal levels. Healthy, well-hydrated skin is a big part of looking younger, so treat the moisturizing process with the seriousness it deserves.