Moisturizing or Nourishing Cream for Dry, Dehydrated Skin?

If I have dry, dehydrated skin, should I use a moisturizing or nourishing cream ? What is the difference between the 2 creams? What does it mean specifically to hydrate and what to feed? How to be sure to choose the right cream?

Quite a dilemma, right? But is the moisturizing action of a cream really so different from the nourishing action of another cream? Yet these are two concepts that are intrinsically essential such as hydration and nourishment of the skin.

moisturizer or nourishing dry dehydrated skin

Before figuring out which cream is right for your dry and dehydrated skin , you should perhaps try to understand why your skin gets dry and how to recognize if your skin is dry too. I talked about it in the previous post: " Dry, dehydrated skin: do you know why your skin gets dry? "

Moisturizing or nourishing cream? What is the difference between one and the other?

Moisturizing and nourishing the skin are two essential concepts in themselves! Moisturizing and nourishing the skin means enriching the hydrolipidic film of the skin with hydrophilic and lipidic substances. A moisturizing cream rich in humectants and gelling substances is unlikely to be nourishing and vice versa.

The main difference between a moisturizer and a nourishing cream concerns the concentration of fatty substances or humectants present in the formula.

But how do you know if a cream is moisturizing or nourishing?

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Reading the ingredients list .

I suggest you also read the dedicated post, INCI products: What is it? How do you read? What can you tell us about the product? which will surely give you a hand in deciphering the inci and in choosing the most suitable product for you.

In addition, below I will show you how to recognize humectants and fatty substances, emollients in the list of ingredients and how to understand if a cream is moisturizing or nourishing . 

When is a cream moisturizing?

A good moisturizer contains a high percentage (they are reported in the first part of the INCI) of hydrophilic substances, humectants such as:

and various plant extracts that play the role of indirect moisturizer on the skin due to their hygroscopic ability to retain water molecules from ambient humidity.

READ ALSO: Hyaluronic Acid vs. Sodium hyaluronate: what no one tells you about your anti aging face cream...

dry skin

When is a cream nourishing?

Conversely, a good nourishing cream contains a high percentage (they are reported in the first part of the INCI) of skin-compatible fatty and emollient substances which, by reintegrating the hydrolipidic film of the skin, also effectively restore the skin's barrier function.

Among the most used and efficient, we find:

  • vegetable oils
  • vegetable butters (shea butter or cocoa butter)
  • the unsaponifiables (INCI : Unsaponifiable Oil)
  • vegetable waxes
  • fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin E - INCI: Tocopheryl Acetate, vitamin F - INCI: Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid)
  • the ceramides
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids

Among the most precious oils for a nourishing face cream :

  • argan oil - INCI: Argania Spinosa oil
  • black currant seed oil - INCI: Ribes Nigrum oil
  • apricot oil - INCI: Prunus Armeniaca oil
  • macadamia oil - INCI: Macadamia oil
  • rosehip oil - INCI: Rosa Moschata oil
  • borage oil - INCI: Borago Officinalis Seed oil
  • evening primrose oil - INCI: Oenothera Biennis Oil
and the list goes on and on.

Olive oil, blackcurrant seed oil, avocado oil and shea butter contain a high percentage of unsaponifiables , a valuable fat content because it can mix perfectly with the lipid component of the skin.

Blackcurrant seed oil (also known as mild natural cortisone ), valuable for its antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory properties , is an excellent ingredient for both:

  • for combination skin, with acne
  • for the dry, with couperose.

Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) which reduce the evaporation of water from the epidermis, it develops an action to maintain hydration and skin elasticity. Borage and evening primrose oils are also rich in it.

Remember that the pure oils used are not moisturizers and are to be used emulsified in an aqueous phase. I do not recommend applying pure oil directly to the skin for long periods, regardless of skin type (dry, normal or combination). And if you do it for short periods, remember to always apply it to moistened skin. You will notice that if your skin is dry, the absorption of the pure oil will be difficult because it penetrates the stratum corneum with difficulty.

So moisturizer or nourishing cream for dry, dehydrated skin?

dry dehydrated skin The bottom line is that usually a moisturizer not only hydrates the skin but its oily phase also nourishes it. And viceversa.

Consequently, in choosing the most suitable face cream for you, you must first of all identify the needs of your skin.

If you have dry skin, you must first identify which of the 2 types it falls into:

dehydrated to dry tendency a


very dry, alipica ?

Click on the 2 types if you don't know which of the 2 you fall under.

READ ALSO: Which Antioxidants to Counteract Premature Aging?

Having identified your skin type, if you find yourself in the type of dehydrated skin with a dry tendency , your skin needs above all a lot of hydration . If, on the other hand, it is very dry, alipic, give preference to a nourishing cream, with a very full-bodied texture, and rich in vegetable oils, butters and waxes.

And since theory always sounds easy, but practice proves difficult, let's take Beautilciious Delights Skin Aging Face Cream for dry skin as an example.

face cream skin aging dry skin

Let's read the Inci together and try to understand if this cream is more hydrating or more nourishing:


Aqua (Water), Panthenol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter*, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate , Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil*, Hydrogenated Lime Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Lime Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Seed Oil, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Myristyl Myristate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive ) Oil Unsaponifiables, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Betaine, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Bisabolol, Parfum, Citric Acid

*Raw materials of biological origin.

In pink I have indicated the humectants, moisturizers while in green you will find the emollient substances.

At the top of Inci we find provitamin B5 (Inci: Panthenol) and aloe vera , 2 powerful humectants which indicate that we are dealing with a highly moisturizing cream for dry, dehydrated skin even if very well balanced also from the point of nourishing view given that in the Inci immediately followed by shea butter, organic argan oil and lime vegetable wax which indicate that the texture of the cream is full-bodied and rich, suitable only for the driest and most sensitive skins.

Lime wax and shea butter they perform a real barrier function against external agents, thus limiting dehydration and restoring the water balance of dry, dehydrated skin which thus regains elasticity and freshness.

Provitamin B5 plays a fundamental role in improving the appearance of dry skin:

  • in fact it acts not only as a moisturizing active ingredient,
  • it is also able to stimulate the re-epithelialization of the skin, a fundamental aspect for dry, damaged skin
  • it also carries out an anti-inflammatory activity, giving excellent results in the treatment of dry and sensitive skin that is affected by redness and stinging sensations.

In synergy with aloe vera and sodium hyaluronate (the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid) it also performs a thirst-quenching and antioxidant action , continuously diffusing water into the tissues, thus giving elasticity and hydration to dry and aged skin. 

We also find oils with the most marked antioxidant and anti-aging activities such as organic argan oil (Inci: Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil) and black currant seed oil (Inci: Ribes Nigrum - Black Currant Seed Oil) .

Another moisturizing and skin conditioning active ingredient included in the formulation is natural betaine (Inci: Betaine), made up of a pool of amino acids obtained from the treatment of cane sugar molasses. It is able to reduce the loss of water through perspiration, giving the skin a smoother and softer appearance.

From the point of view of skin aging, in addition to the aforementioned argan oil and blackcurrant oil, sodium ascorbyl phosphate and tocopheryl acetate have been included in the formula, the more stable forms of vitamin C and vitamin E respectively, two molecules with a high antioxidant power able to act against free radicals, the primary cause of skin aging.

    The lipophilic extract of calendula flowers (Inci: Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract) in synergy with Bisabolol (Inci: Bisabolol), the active ingredient found in chamomile flowers , make this face cream particularly suitable for skin prone to dehydration thanks to the anti-inflammatory, soothing and anti-reddening properties of these 2 natural extracts which provide immediate relief to dry skin or skin suffering from couperose.

    Thanks to its keratolytic properties, the small percentage of allantoin is essential to soften the keratin and facilitate the penetration of the active ingredients.

    The Anti-Aging Active is obtained from the synergy between the organic rosehip fruit extract and the organic orange hydrolyzate and counts among the Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract*, Hydrolyzed Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract* , Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hydroxide.

    It is an active with marked anti-aging properties thanks to the rose hip fruits , rich in:

    • minerals,
    • tannins,
    • carotenoids
    • flavonoids

    which enhance the "radical scavenger" effectiveness of vitamin C, present in very high quantities, which not only strengthens the skin's immune defenses, but also stimulates the activity of fibroblasts and the synthesis of collagen, performing a marked firming and redensifying.

    The organic orange extract, rich in bioflavonoids, vitamin C and polyphenols, also carries out a moisturizing activity thanks to the presence of amino acids and in particular of sugars which prevent the loss of water from the skin layers, improving the elasticity of the skin.

    The Beautilciious Delights Skin Aging Face Cream for Dry Skin is therefore especially suitable for dehydrated skin with dry tendencies.

    The extra advice!

    listen observe dry skin

    Remember that the best moisturizer or nourishing cream is not the one best promoted but the one your skin responds to best.

    Learn to listen and observe your skin! There is no cosmetic formulation that is good for all of us precisely because the needs of our skin are unique and different also based on our lifestyle and diet.

    If after applying it, you feel a sensation of comfort, the skin is toned, luminous and elastic, it doesn't pull, it doesn't get irritated, it doesn't get red, then this is the cream for you. Don't insist on applying a cream just because it worked wonders for your sister or mom.

    Listen, observe your skin: there is no better witness to your skin than how suitable or not a cream is for you! Give yourself at least a month!

    READ ALSO: 2 DIY (EFFECTIVE!) Face Masks to Get Rid of Skin Spots

    After reading this article, I hope you can identify your dry skin type, but above all that you can distinguish a moisturizer from a nourishing cream! Not only by relying on what the advertising claims say, but in a conscious way, by reading the Inci.

    © Beautiful Delights

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