What is the difference between hydrating and moisturizing? And, how can I improve the moisture level in my skin

Dr. Irwin, I feel blessed to have found your amazing website. Despite putting a moisturizer on my face each morning under my foundation, it seems like my face just needs more frequent hydration throughout the day. Is there a product out there that accomplishes'time-released hydration'? Also, what in the heck is the difference between hydrating and moisturizing? Seems like they should be the same, but I often find the terms are not used interchangeably. Many thanks, Jody

You made my day J  – thank you! The terms hydrating and moisturizing ARE used interchangeably.   Technically, they are different. Hydration refers to boosting water content in skin and retaining water content in skin.   Moisturizing can include that but usually means some type of oil-in-water or water-in-oil mix (emulsion).

Practically, its not worth differentiating though because you want to add to and then retain as much moisture as you can if you are dry.    Here are some ideas:

  • Try a number of different moisturizers before deciding on the best one for you. Even try some inexpensive drugstore products like CeraVe
  • There’s really no such thing as true “time-release” for moisturizers in my opinion
  • Try layering moisturizers like the Vitamin B 5 Gel (high hyaluronic acid level) under with a richer product like the Replenish Hydrating Cream and sunscreen over that in the morning.
  •  Cleanse with only gentle lotion cleansers or water so you don’t strip natural oils off your skin
  • Skin gets dryer as we get older and with central heating, dry climates and air conditioning.   Moisturize more.
  • Moisturize 3-4 times a day, if needed
  • Move to Hawaii! 🙂

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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