Having smoother, brighter and healthier skin is determined by how well your skin is hydrated. And while keeping your skin hydrated is important all year long, the winter months are especially critical, as cold air and excessive indoor heating zap the moisture from your skin, leaving it sad and dehydrated.

Some people think an easy fix to dehydrated skin is to apply a daily moisturizer and while this is true, it is only half of the solution when it comes to ensuring your skin gets all of the water it needs to look healthy and glowing. So, what’s the difference between moisturizers and hydrators?


Moisturizers VS Hydrators

Moisturizers trap and seal moisture in the skin to prevent water loss while hydrators act to maintain water retention within the skin’s cells. Hydrators help with your skin’s overall ability to absorb moisture and nutrients, so using them in combination with moisturizers lets the skin retain its natural moisture and absorb whatever moisture you add to it.

In order to stay on top of your winter skincare – and avoid the perils of dull, dry skin – here are three essential substances for proper hydration.



Humectants like hyaluronic acid help with hydration by binding moisture from the air to your skin cells. This helps to keep your cells looking plump and bouncy, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid (HA) comes in different weights and absorbs quickly into the skin, which not only helps to maintain moisture levels during winter but also builds up your skin’s protective barrier for healthier looking skin.

These two products contain hyaluronic acid to help with hydration:

  • HA 5 (SkinMedica) – Five molecular weights of hyaluronic acid combined with plant stem cells, peptides, and polysaccharides immediately plumps the skin and helps to maintain its natural hydration over time.
  • Ultimage (Vivier) – Hyaluronic and Neuropeptides help smooth out expression lines and boost skin’s overall volume.



Ceramides are the essential fatty acids found in our skin that help maintain our protective barrier. They are important in holding cells together to keep your skin looking healthy. In winter, ceramides can become damaged, leading to dry and lackluster skin. This is why products that that contain ceramides are crucial for repairing damage as well as restoring moisture:

  • Triple Lipid (SkinCeuticals) - Contains the ideal balance of ceramides 1 and 3 for anti-aging and reparative benefits.
  • Daily Power Defense (ZO Skin Health) - Uses Ceramide 6, boosted with antioxidants and low-level retinol, to help with optimal barrier function. 



Occlusives seal in moisture by forming a protective layer on the surface of your skin, which prevents dry air and other irritants from damaging your skin. Incorporating occlusive ingredients into your skincare regimen is also crucial for preventing water loss throughout the day. 

Here are two products made with occlusives that keep your skin moisturized and smooth:

  • Lexxel (Vivier) – Contains many ingredients which help prevent moisture from evaporating from the skin, including Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl and Stearate.
  • Hydrating Crème (ZO) – Hydrating Crème works by both soothing inflammation in the skin, and preventing moisture loss with Petrolatum, Shea Butter, Cetyl Alcohol.

To keep the winter blues away from your skin, consider using humectants, ceramides and occlusives in combination for a triple-threat regimen that combats the damaging and drying effects of winter.