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Hydrator and moisturizer are marketing terms. Moisturizers are oil-based ingredients and work by creating a seal on the surface of the skin to prevent water evaporating. Hydrators are ingredients called humectants that absorb water from the atmosphere or your skin and hold it in place on your skin.
Moisturizer is a universal term for moisturizer types: emollients (fats and oils), squalene (oil), humectants (hydrator, such as glycerine or hyaluronic acid), occlusive.
There are a ton of different products on the market, but most skin lotions and products contain both occlusive and emollient ingredients and humectant ingredients. It means they moisturize and hydrate at the same time.
The form a product takes does not affect the performance - only the experience of applying the ingredients.
If your skin is naturally dry year-round and tends to flake or peel, your skin battles to retain moisture. You'll need to moisturize to create a protective seal on the surface to lock in moisture. A thick, emollient moisturizer will help.
If your skin is really dry, occlusive agents are the best, something with petroleum jelly, shea butter, canola oil or soybean oil can work.
If your skin is dehydrated, you'll need to actively add water back into the skin. A hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid will add hydration back into your skin.
To hydrate from the inside out, drink plenty of water, and eat water-rich foods such as watermelon, strawberries, and cucumber.
Oily skin can still be dehydrated, which could exacerbate your oil issues. As moisture leaves the skin, it becomes dehydrated, causing the skin to produce more oil.
The only way to break this cycle is to give your skin the proper hydration and moisture. Use water-based, noncomedogenic hydrators and moisturizers.
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