Does Everyone Need To Use Moisturizer?

Woman in bathroom applying moisturizing cream

Skincare 101: Moisturizer Basics

Should everyone be using a moisturizer? Some say using a moisturizer is vital to healthy skin, others say you shouldn’t need to use a moisturizer at all!

And the truth is, the answer is complicated.

Or at least not as straight forward as most would like. To start, let’s explore the difference between hydration and moisture. Hint: they’re not the same!

The Difference Between Hydration & Moisturization

Mature woman applying moisturizing cream to face

You may have noticed that many consumers, and even brands(!), use the terms hydration and moisturization interchangeably when in reality they are not the same thing at all.

Both, however, are key to healthy skin that is nourished and vibrant as they serve a similar function of making sure the skin gets all of the water it needs to fight signs of aging like dryness and dehydration. They are different in how they help to achieve this. 

Hydration refers to the water content within your skin cells. When your skin cells are properly hydrated, the cells swell up which makes them appear plump and bouncy, allowing your skin to reflect light effectively. Think back to your high school science days - the smoother, more even a surface, the better light will reflect off of that surface. It’s the same reason that the roads are most slippery right after it rains and the water fills the tiny holes in the road. Hydrated cells can help you achieve that glowing skin you desire. Conversely, when your skin cells lack proper hydration, they shrivel and shrink up, making your skin appear lackluster and lacking in vitality.

Moisture, however, is what happens on top of the skin to trap in hydration underneath the surface. This is effectively your skin’s barrier that can help prevent water loss within the cells and can help skin appear soft and smooth. By moisturizing your skin, you can help to soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making them less appear noticeable.

So Do You Need a Moisturizer or Hydrator?

You may have heard the term “Trans-epidermal Water Loss”, also known as TEWL. TEWL is the amount of water that passively evaporates through the skin to the external environment due to the water vapor pressure gradient on both sides of the skin barrier and is used to characterize skin barrier function. If you want to get deep into the science to learn about TEWL, visit for an onslaught of scientific terms describing how TEWL is measured and how it affects skin aging.

But here’s what you should know: there are many reasons why our skin can become dry and lose water content: environment, illness, medications…

Certain medications like Diuretics, some blood pressure medications, Accutane, thyroid support, Spiralactone (often prescribed to clear up adult acne), just to name a few, may contribute to skin dryness.

What’s more, as women age, and they lose estrogen which can cause more changes to the skin. Research shows that “Estrogen appears to aid in the prevention of skin aging in several ways. This reproductive hormone prevents a decrease in skin collagen in postmenopausal women… in addition, estrogen maintains skin moisture by increasing acid mucopolysaccharides and hyaluronic acid in the skin and possibly maintain stratum corneum barrier function,” according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine

It’s not just your body’s natural aging process either. Ingredients are likely to play a major role as well. As you layer on more and more beauty and skincare products, it is possible that you are adding ingredients onto your skin that can strip away water, both on the cellular and topical levels. For example, skincare products often used to treat conditions like acne or Rosacea often cause inflammation and dryness. 

So the answer to the question “do you need hydrating skincare or a moisturizer”, it’s a maybe. You should talk to your health care provider. If you don’t have one, you can use our search tool to find a health care provider in your local area.

Daily Skincare Products To Help With Hydration & Moisturization

That said, there are anti-aging skincare products you can use on a daily basis to help supplement your hydration and moisturize your skin. 

Even though your skin produces sebum, which naturally hydrates the skin, a nourishing moisturizer helps with the barrier function to seal the moisture in the skin, preventing TEWL. The reality is that not everyone has a good barrier function for the reasons described in the last section which can lead to dehydration, irritation, and even acne. Look for a moisturizer formulation that is oil-free like the Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer with TriHex Technology® from ALASTIN Skincare which was recently featured in Well+Good as one of the best moisturizers you can buy. This fragrance-free and oil-free formulation that helps hydrate and soothe the skin has earned 5-star reviews from both health care providers and patients. 

You may be tempted to only think about the hydration and moisturization on your face, but don’t neglect the neck! The skin on your décolleté requires attention as well which is why we created the next generation of neck and décolleté skincare specifically formulated to address the unique challenges of skin in this area to improve the appearance of crepey skin, fine lines, and wrinkles that can be associated with dryness and dehydration. Featuring an elegant formulation with our patented TriHex Technology® along with a proprietary blend of potent antioxidants to help hydrate the skin on the neck area while reducing the appearance of redness and discoloration

As part of your daily skincare regimen to help fight signs of skin aging, you are likely to add a retinol product to your routine. The unfortunate reality is that most retinols include ingredients that cause irritation and dryness. The ALASTIN Skincare Renewal Retinols, available in 0.25 and 0.5 strengths, however, are known to be a particularly hydrating retinol formulation due to the potent hydrators that protect against skin dehydration. In fact, these powerful retinol formulas were recently selected by SELF Magazine in “7 Over-the-Counter Retinol Serums and Creams Dermatologists Highly Recommend.” As Dr. Linkner explains “I love this particular [Retinol] for those of us who are sensitive and need a humectifiying product that is soothing and calming.”

Because ingredients matter, the Restorative Skin Complex with TriHex Technology®, is a particularly great choice for those seeking to strengthen skin and combat visible signs of aging to help skin get its snap back. This anti-aging daily skincare product features key ingredients to help volumize and lift aging skin to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. One of its primary goals is to restore volume to plump up thinning skin often caused by lack of hydration. It’s 5-star rated, and a favorite among health care providers. 

Skin Preparation Before A Rejuvenation Skin Treatment

If you’re considering a rejuvenating skin procedure, such as a peel, laser resurfacing treatment, or microneedling to remove old, damaged skin cells from the top layer of your skin, and to stimulate the skin to produce new, fresh collagen, be sure to plan a pre-procedure skincare regimen.

It is important that the skin be as healthy as possible prior to a procedure so that it can efficiently produce new collagen and elastin in response to the procedure, and can heal quickly from the damage induced by the procedure. 

Why is this important? If you think about planting a new flower garden, you would want to prepare the soil - fertilize, pull the weeds, etc. - before you plant new seeds to grow the flowers. Similarly, you should prepare your skin so that it is as healthy as possible and can respond efficiently to any rejuvenating procedure. Part of that process requires that you ensure your skin is sufficiently hydrated and moisturized, which is why developing a customized and complete daily skincare regimen with your skincare physician is especially important BEFORE you go in for any kind of rejuvenation procedure.

Glowing Skin Is In Your Future!

See, we said it was a complicated answer. But we hope that you are now more knowledgeable about the skin hydration and moisturization, how it affects your skin, and how you can help address skin dehydration and dryness for more youthful, glowing skin! 

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