In every physical store or online store you visit, you will always encounter various K-beauty brands offering tons of cosmetic products claiming to be effective in hydrating and moisturizing your skin. With tons of Korean moisturizers and hydration products, sometimes they will overwhelm you, especially if you are only new to Korean beauty regimens. So, the first thing you should do is understand the difference between the two terms "hydrating" and "moisturizing".
These two terms are often used interchangeably, and that draws confusion to some people. While both play a vital role in replenishing and keeping your skin healthy, understanding their differences can help you determine what product best suit your specific skin needs.
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What is the Difference Between Hydrating and Moisturizing?
To better understand the differences between the two, let’s define first what “hydrating” and “moisturizing” mean in the K-beauty world.
Hydration, in terms of beauty cosmetics, refers to the process of absorbing moisture from the air and then infusing your skin cells with water to hydrate your skin. Applying hydrating products to your skin improves your skin’s ability to suck up moisture while catching the necessary nutrients infused in the products.
Moisturizing refers to trapping and locking in the moisture in your skin that helps in building and strengthening the natural skin protective barrier. Keeping enough moisture on your skin will prevent transepidermal water loss, giving you softer and smoother skin. Since moisturizing keeps your skin barrier strong, it can withstand environmental irritants and prevent microbes from causing skin conditions and inflammation.
How to Determine If You Need Moisturizer or Hydrator?
Before choosing between moisturizer and hydrator, you should check your skin's condition first. If you observe that your skin is always dry and flaky, it's an indicator that your skin barrier is weak. A weakened skin barrier cannot lock in enough moisture, so you should opt for K-beauty moisturizers to strengthen your skin protective barrier. On the other hand, if you have dull skin, and wrinkles and fine lines are becoming more visible, your skin might be suffering from dehydration. If your skin is lacking enough water, that's where hydrating products come in.
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