Group image of Renewal Crème, Recovery Crème and Hydrating Crème

Ask A ZO Skincare Specialist: Skin Hydration

Skin hydration is key to a visibly fortified, healthy skin barrier. Dry skin is a symptom of compromised skin barrier function and it exhibit symptoms such as dryness, redness, rough texture and exacerbated signs of aging. It’s important to understand what the ingredients in your hydrators are, and when to use them.

We reached out to our knowledgeable team of ZO® Skincare Specialists to help us answer some of your more pressing questions associated with skin hydration.

What is the difference between emollients, humectants and occlusives?

Emollients help to hydrate and soften the skin by trapping in moisture. They usually consist of butters, esters, lipids and oils to supplement skin barrier function to prevent dry skin. Emollients are great for itchy, inflamed skin.

Humectants attract water molecules from the air and hold them in the skin’s surface. Common humectants often are hyaluronic acid and glycerin. They are great for those who live in a humid environment, but patients who live in in a dry environment may find that there is an adverse drying effect as humectants can also pull the moisture from deeper layers within skin.

Like emollients, occlusives provide a protective barrier to lock in hydration, preventing trans epidermal water loss. Occlusives usually consist of silicones, waxes, and oils that help create a physical barrier on the skin. This is ideal for very dry skin, eczema-prone or sensitive skin types. Occlusives can feel thick on the skin, so patients with congested or oily, acne-prone skin may prefer to avoid them.

If a patient has oily skin, should they hydrate at all?

It’s possible that skin can be oily and dehydrated at the same time—even though your skin has a lot of oil, that does not mean that it has a lot of water.

The assumption that oily skin does not require hydration is incorrect. It’s possible that skin can be oily and dehydrated at the same time—even though your skin has a lot of oil, that does not mean that it has a lot of water. Dehydrated oily skin can still look dull with pronounced texture, fine lines and be at a greater risk of trans epidermal water loss, which can lead to an impaired skin barrier. Oily prone skin can benefit from functional hydrators because they have humectants, which bind water, and emollients, to protect the skin barrier.

What is your favorite ZO® Hydrator?

It’s Hydrating Crème, which is suitable for all skin types. It is the perfect complement to any ZO® retinol protocol. Retinol encourages cellular turnover and can initially dehydrate the skin, which can sometimes cause anticipated reactions, like redness itching or peeling. It’s amazing post-procedure as well, for both ablative and non-ablative treatments.

Hydrating Crème – A lightweight, non-retinol hydrator temporarily relieves symptoms of severely dry skin, while soothing visible irritation + replenishing skin's natural moisture to aid in skin recovery.


Hydrating Crème 113 G

My honorable mention goes to Renewal Crème and Recovery Crème, as well. The new ingredients protect the skin barrier, restore natural hydration, soften fine, dynamic lines, soothe and deeply nourish the skin. Plus, added ZCORE™ technology in Recovery Crème is especially beneficial for improving the overall appearance of neck aging. It’s exciting to be able to offer these newly formulated hydrators for more than offering relief from occasional dryness and as a “hand holder” during anticipated reactions. These crèmes are packed full of gentle, anti-aging, hydrating and soothing ingredients to visibly restore weakened skin.


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Hydrating Creme - 113 g / 4 Oz.
National Eczema Association Badge

Hydrating Crème

Rejuvenating formula delivers hydrating + soothing

benefits for post-procedure or visibly irritated skin

Renewal Creme - 50 mL / 1.7 Fl. Oz.

Renewal Crème

Lightweight hydrator clinically proven to

revitalize the appearance of stressed skin

Recovery Creme - 50 mL / 1.7 Fl. Oz.

Recovery Crème

Luxuriously rich hydrator clinically proven to

rejuvenate the appearance of fragile skin and neck aging