Hydrating vs. Moisturising: What's the Difference?

Cracked, flaky, peeling skin just means it’s dry, right?

Not necessarily. Just because your face feels like the Sahara Desert doesn’t mean it’s simply dry. Your skin might actually be dehydrated, meaning it lacks water — whereas dry skin lacks oil and needs to be moisturised.

The distinction is important: here’s why.

Dry skin before treatment with vitamin C Facial Moisturizer by SLMD Skincare

3 signs your skin is dry

  • Your entire body feels dry, and you constantly need moisturiser
  • You have no natural sebum (oil)
  • Your skin feels dull, flaky, itchy, and tight

The best treatment for dry skin

Keeping very dry skin moisturised can seem like a full-time task. Make sure you apply moisturiser from head to toe. Here are Dr. Sandra Lee’s favourite dry skin hacks:

For face

  • Use a moisturiser with antioxidants. SLMD Skincare Facial Moisturizer contains vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps to brighten the complexion.
  • Don’t skip the sunscreen. Protecting your skin from damaging, inflammatory UV exposure will keep your complexion less stressed.

For body

  • Start with a good scrub. SLMD Skincare Glycolic Acid Body Scrub was developed to tackle rough, bumpy skin caused by the buildup of keratin and dead skin cells.
  • Stash body lotion in the shower. Applying it to damp skin locks in moisture.
Dehydrated skin before treatment with Glycolic Acid Body Lotion by SLMD Skincare

4 signs your skin is dehydrated

  • Your skin feels oily and dry simultaneously
  • Your skin tends to change texture based on your environment, the products you use, and your diet
  • You tend to break out occasionally and unexpectedly
  • Your skin is dull, congested, and flakes easily

If you’re still not sure your skin is dehydrated, try the pinch test: pinch your skin between two fingers. If it bounces back (meaning it lays flat again) right away, you’re hydrated. If it takes longer to fall, it’s likely you’re dehydrated.

It’s worth noting that your skin doesn’t have to fall into the dry skin type to be dehydrated. Combination and oily skin types can also experience dehydration.

The best way to treat dehydrated skin

  • Drink plenty of water. You’ve heard it before: your body is mostly water, so skin suffers if you’re deficient.
  • Eat a balanced diet with healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, salmon and nuts, which are high in omega-3, to improve the overall health of your skin.
  • Wash face in warm — not hot — water. Hot water can dry out skin by opening pores and allowing moisture to escape.
  • Hydrate and moisturise your skin. SLMD Skin Drink is a great combination hydrator + moisturiser, made with both hyaluronic acid and squalane — an ideal two-in-one combination for helping out parched skin. 

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