What is the difference between moisturizer and cream?

¿What is the difference between moisturizer and cream?

What is the difference between a moisturizer and a cream? Many people don't know what kind of skin they have, and therefore don't know if they need a moisturizer or a cream. As a result, in many cases, the product chosen does not offer the correct function. Here, the differences are explained:

The difference between a moisturizer and a hydrating cream is that the moisturizer replenishes the skin's natural oils. In contrast, the cream provides the skin with the water it needs. In other words, the moisturizer is used when the skin is dry and the hydrating cream when the skin is dehydrated.

In this article, we will teach you to distinguish between dryness and dehydration. By the end, you will know what the difference is, and you should be clear when to use a moisturizer and a moisturizing cream according to your needs.

First, let us consider what it is to moisturize and hydrate:


Moisturizing creates a protective layer on the skin so that it maintains its natural moisture.


Creams provide water and hydration to the skin.

Table of Contents

What are moisturizers and hydration creams?

Moisturizer and creams

Moisturizing creams

The moisturizer is a product that provides water to the cells to maintain their metabolic functioning.

This type of cream acts on the deep layers of the skin. These creams can be simple or compound:

  • The simple ones are based on lanolin and vegetable oil.
  • The composite ones contain active substances such as minerals, vitamins, and salts.

When the skin is hydrated, it looks much softer, more flexible, and elastic. With daily use, it helps to delay aging.

Dermatologists recommend simple moisturizers from the age of 20 and complex moisturizers from the age of 30.

Hydration creams

These creams are products that act as a protective barrier on the skin. Their primary function is to prevent water contained in the tissues from evaporating.

We use these hydration creams to keep the skin moist. As a result, they protect us from skin diseases. These creams protect us from various factors present in the environment that cause damage to the skin.

Also, creams restore the skin's acid mantle that protects the skin against the action of free radicals.

These creams are rich in panthenol, urea, glycerin, and allantoin. These components can retain moisture on the surface of the skin.

Differences between moisturizing cream and hydration cream

Moisturizer and a hydrating cream may look the same at first glance, but they are not. Both must be applied correctly, knowing the functions and differences in each of them.

The main difference between a moisturizer and a hydrating cream is that when you use moisturizer, you will create a protective layer on the skin to maintain its natural moisture. On the other hand, when using a hydrating cream, water and hydration are being provided to the skin.

Currently, there is a great variety of creams on the market that moisturize and hydrate the skin simultaneously, without the need for both products.

However, using only one moisturizer will be enough for your beauty routine, unless you have dry skin. If you want to moisturize your skin naturally, it will be enough to keep it hydrated and eat foods rich in fatty acids. With a diet rich in healthy fats, you will not need to use moisturizers.

Use of the moisturizer or moisturizing cream

Moisturizing cream:

If your skin is dry or dull, it is because your cells are not able to maintain their natural moisture. Your skin needs moisturizing because it lacks nutrition (lipids, essential fatty acids).

In this case, the use of a moisturizer is a good idea.

Dry skin

Dry skin can be caused by various external factors such as

  • Cold or hot weather.
  • Low humidity in the air.
  • Immersion in hot water.
  • Skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis.

To improve your appearance, use moisturizing creams and avoid strong soaps and dryers. Also, try to limit your exposure to water.

Symptoms of dry skin

  • Rough skin.
  • There is a feeling of tightness in the skin after showering, bathing, or swimming.
  • Itching.
  • Ash gray skin color.
  • Mild to severe peeling.
  • Redness.
  • Fine lines or cracks.

Hydrating cream

If your body is dehydrated, it can affect your skin, and this usually happens because of:

  • Lack of water.
  • Tobacco or caffeine abuse.
  • Poor nutrition.

In these cases, you need to use a moisturizer.

Dehydrated skin

Dehydrated skin is a temporary state of the skin. Any skin can be affected. Whether it is dry or oily, dehydrated skin can occur for a brief time.

This dehydration is caused by external factors such as:

  • High temperatures.
  • Application of aggressive cosmetics.
  • Lack of humidity in the environment.
  • Ingestion of some medicines.
  • Stress.
  • Prolonged exposure to the sun.

All this brings as a consequence is lack of water in the body and causes the dehydration of the skin.

Symptoms of dehydrated skin

  • The skin looks dull and dry due to dehydration. The skin loses water throughout the day.
  • It lacks softness, begins to flake off, and can sometimes become itchy. The skin seems irregular and rough.
  • It is more likely to have wrinkles due to premature aging.
  • The lack of hydration can cause stretch marks since it does not have enough skin elasticity.
  • Feeling of tightness in the skin and little elasticity due to the lack of water in the skin.

Difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin

The main difference between the two issues is that dry skin is determined by genetics and other factors that cannot be changed. When your skin is dry, you can add more intense hydration to your daily routine.

On the other hand, dehydrated skin is a temporary state in which the body lacks water. Perhaps there is little humidity in the environment, which causes the skin to be temporarily dehydrated. Dehydrated skin can occur regardless of the type of skin you have.

Therefore, dry skin is due to a genetic issue and characterized by a lack of lipids. On the other hand, dehydrated skin is due to a lack of water.

You may be interested in "How can I know my skin type? Discover yours."

Is moisturizer or cream suitable for your skin type?

Is moisturizer or cream suited for your skin?

The easiest way to hydrate the skin is to drink a lot of water to facilitate internal hydration. People with dehydrated skin should supplement this with topical moisturizers that keep the water in the cells.

Natural moisturizers allow the skin to improve its hydration over time. I recommend looking for products that contain hyaluronic acid, marine extract, honey, alpha-hydroxy acids, and aloe vera, in addition to synthetic moisturizers such as urea, glycerin, and propylene glycol.

To choose a moisturizer that fits your skin type, keep in mind that you should use a light, oil-free moisturizer for acne-prone skin. These are usually in lotion form and contain less oil and more water. For dry skin, apply an emollient serum or cream.

You should apply moisturizers and creams in the morning before using sunscreen and also at night to gain the best results. There is a wide variety of moisturizer options. They can be lighter or thicker and some are unique for different seasons and skin types.

For warmer, sweatier conditions, choose lighter creams. You can select heavier products with dimethicone, shea butter or cocoa, coconut oil, almond oil, ceramides for dry, cold, and windy weather.

Besides having moisturizing properties, these ingredients can also counteract the signs of aging and damage caused by free radicals.

Creams use moisturizing ingredients for all skin types. Also, they are water-soluble and do not clog pores since they do not contain alcohol.

Tips for choosing a moisturizing and moisturizing cream

  • Choose the cream that is ideal for your oily, normal, or dry skin type.
  • Look for natural options that give you better results, such as creams with coconut oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil.
  • As the years go by, your skin will need different types of hydration. You should choose creams depending on your age.
  • Look for those with an SPF sun protection factor, as well as having moisturizing and hydrating properties.

Tips to take advantage of the benefits of moisturizing or moisturizing creams 

  • Apply the creams, lotions, or serums after the skin is clean.
  • You must moisturize and hydrate the skin day and night.
  • The order of application of the products should be from lighter or more watery, to the densest.

Natural remedies to hydrate and moisturize the skin

Natural moisturizing cream for dry facial skin:

For dry skin, it is convenient to use products that are as healthy and natural as possible. These should have moisturizing, soothing, and regenerating properties.


  • 1 cup of shea butter.
  • 2 tablespoons of avocado oil.
  • 2 or 3 capsules of vitamin E.

Preparation and application:

  1. Place the shea butter and the avocado oil in a container with a seal.
  2. Stir it thoroughly.
  3. With a needle or scissors, open the vitamin E capsule and pour the oil it contains into the preparation.
  4. Continue to stir the mixture well until the ingredients are completely integrated.
  5. When the cream looks homogeneous, it is ready.

You can use this cream daily whenever the skin starts to get dry. With this cream, you will treat the dermis and calm it.

Natural body moisturizer

This cream contains oats, a cereal that has excellent benefits for the skin. If the oats are ground, it will serve as a scrub. If it is a little more whole, it will provide you with nutrition and hydration and serve as a soother.

This homemade cream also contains olive oil, which is intensely moisturizing and nourishing for the skin.


  • 1/2 cup of ground oats.
  • 2 tablespoons of shea butter or cocoa butter.
  • 1 spoonful of olive oil.

Preparation and application:

  1. In a suitable container with a lid, mix the shea butter or cocoa with the oats and the olive oil.
  2. Then stir the ingredients until they are completely integrated.
  3. If the oats are too thick, crush them again. It does not matter if it is mixed with the other ingredients.
  4. Apply this cream daily to your body and also to your face.

Natural Moisturizing Cream with Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is extremely beneficial for the skin due to its moisturizing, regenerating, soothing, and refreshing properties.


  • The gel from a large aloe vera leaf.
  • 1/2 cucumber.
  • 3 or 4 capsules of vitamin E.

Preparation and application:

  1. Remove the gel from the aloe vera leaf, leaving the yellow part aside.
  2. Wash the cucumber, leaving the skin hard, and crush until you get a compact paste.
  3. When you have the two ingredients prepared, mix them well and pour the vitamin E content into the preparation.
  4. Stir again until the mixture is homogeneous.
  5. Apply the cream daily or when you have atopic skin or eczema outbreaks.

You may be interested in "What is aloe vera good for? All the secrets you didn't know."

Natural cream with coconut oil

Coconut oil is ideal for treating and caring for the skin thanks to its benefits of nutrition, hydration, regeneration, and skin protection. Also, thanks to the variety of fatty acids contained in honey, it provides extra nutrition and hydration.


  • 10 spoonfuls of coconut oil.
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or 2 tablespoons of shea butter.

Preparation and application:

  1. If the coconut oil is solidified, heat it for a few seconds in the microwave or a bain-marie.
  2. When it is liquid, pour it over a container and add the honey.
  3. Stir it well until it becomes a homogeneous paste.
  4. Apply this cream to your face or body when you see that it needs nutrition and hydration.

This cream is ideal for very dry legs.

You may be interested in "10 Tips to get rid of dry skin on your legs overnight that work."

Natural cream with olive oil

To make this moisturizing cream you will need natural products such as

  • Olive oil.
  • 1 aloe vera leaf (gel)
  • 5 spoonfuls of olive oil.
  • 1 spoonful of almond oil
  • 2 spoonfuls of avocado oil

Preparation and application:

  1. Extract the gel from the aloe vera leaf and mix it with the indicated amounts of the oils.
  2. When the cream is well compacted, it is ready to be applied.
  3. You can use this extra moisturizing cream whenever you need it.
  4. Try to apply it at least once a day to the areas that need more hydration.


Now that you know the differences between a moisturizer and a hydrating cream, get those creams that are suitable for your daily use. These will help you to maintain healthy and luminous young skin.

You must know what type of skin you have to choose the best moisturizing and hydrating creams so that you avoid buying something that will not work for you.