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Hydration vs. moisturisation for your skin: what’s the difference?

The skin is your body's largest organ, and it's important to keep it healthy and hydrated. We have all heard the terms hydration and moisturisation used in skin care, often interchangeably. There is a subtle but important difference between these two terms which we will discuss today and explain why they're both important for healthy skin.

Hydration refers to the amount of water in the skin. When your skin is hydrated, it's plump and elastic. However, when your skin is dehydrated, it can become dry, flaky, and irritated.

Moisturisation refers to the application of a product that helps to lock in moisture and prevent it from evaporating during the day. Moisturisers can contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and shea butter which help to attract water to the skin.

So, which is more important: hydration or moisturisation? Both are important, but they're not the same thing. Hydration is the foundation of healthy skin, and moisturisation helps to keep the moisture in. So, if you want to have healthy, glowing skin, it's important to make sure that you're both hydrated and moisturised.

In the rest of this blog post, we'll discuss the different types of hydration and moisturisation, as well as some tips for keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized.

How to hydrate your skin

The first tip is to make sure you drink plenty of water. Water is essential for overall health, and it also helps to keep the skin hydrated. Drink enough liquids to not feel thirsty at any time during the day.

Apply a hydrating serum to the skin. Serums are water-based and contain other beneficial ingredients and vital nutrients that your skin needs. Look for a formula with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid that can help to deliver hydration deep within the skin. Serums are generally applied once a day. Some people prefer to do this in the morning, some at night. It's really up to you.

How to moisturise your skin

A moisturiser contains water and oil-soluble ingredients (which makes it an emulsion). Use a moisturiser with as little oil in it as possible, especially if you already have oily skin or suffer from regular breakouts or acne.

You might prefer to use a moisturiser that also contains a sun protection factor (SPF) if you are going to be exposed to the sun (look for one with an SPF15). If you are using a hyaluronic acid serum then it's important to know this will make the skin more sensitive to the sun, so you may decide to follow your moisturiser with a stand-alone SPF instead. Our advice is to always be sunwise and stay out of direct sunlight if you can, rather than loading your skin with very high SPF factors that contain more chemicals.

  • Apply your moisturiser to damp skin. This will help to seal in the moisture.
  • Apply your moisturiser twice a day, in the morning and evening. The moisturiser is applied after your serum or any other active ingredients. This is because a moisturiser is generally thicker or heavier than serums, and applying it last gives your skin a chance to first absorb any active ingredients from your serum.

Moisturiser is especially important if you live in a dry climate and during the drier winter months when you want to help your skin retain as much moisture as possible.

Why is hyaluronic acid so important?

Hyaluronic acid is naturally formed at the epidermal/dermal junction in the skin. When we are talking about the skin this is one of the most important substances the body produces, as it retains water, gives the skin flexibility and reduces wrinkles. Unfortunately, as the skin ages, the production of key substances in the skin, including hyaluronic acid (along with collagen and elastin) decreases. This results in a loss of skin moisture, as well as plumpness and volume. Hyaluronic acid polymers in the skin become smaller over time as we age1. Extended exposure to UV radiation also causes an alteration in the way hyaluronic acid is made in the skin, which contributes to photoageing (80% of the ageing of facial skin is caused by UV)2.

The best way to replace hyaluronic acid, other than to apply it as a serum, is to stimulate the natural production of hyaluronic acid in the skin. Hypochlorous acid (like the miracle molecule in our Skin Series products) has been proven to stimulate the natural production of hyaluronic acid. By applying a twice-daily mist of our GF2 formulations the production of hyaluronic acid in the skin, within the epidermal/dermal junction, starts to recover and perform the way nature intended. The natural hydration in your skin starts to improve and normalise over time with regular use of GF2.

Some additional tips for keeping your skin and body hydrated

  • Avoid hot showers and baths. Hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils.
  • Use a humidifier in your home. A humidifier can help to add moisture to the air, which can help to keep your skin hydrated. It will also help you sleep better.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps with general skin health.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for overall health, and it can also help to improve the appearance of your skin.

In conclusion, hydration and moisturising are both important for healthy skin. By following the tips above, you can keep your skin hydrated and moisturised, and enjoy the benefits of soft, smooth, and glowing skin.

Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash


  1. Papakonstantinou, E., Roth, M., & Karakiulakis, G. (2012). Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 253-258.
  2. Tzellos TG, Klagas I, Vahtsevanos K, Triaridis S, Printza A, Kyrgidis A, et al. Extrinsic ageing in the human skin is associated with alterations in the expression of hyaluronic acid and its metabolizing enzymes. Exp Dermatol. 2009;18:1028–35. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00889.x.
  3. Research article: Leung H. et al. Topical hypochlorite ameliorates NF-kB mediated skin disease in mice. Department of Developmental Biology, Dept. of Dermatology and Radiation Oncology. Stanford University School of Medicine. Journal of Clinical Investigation. Vol. 123, No.12 Dec 2013.
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