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Definition of Moisturize

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Moisturize: To dampen; to replenish lost liquid; to add vapor; to humidify. "Moisturize" usually suggests that the thing receiving liquid is made slightly wet, but is not saturated.

Over-the-counter (OTC) skin lotions contain ingredients that moisturize dry skin, making it soft and supple but not wet. Humidifiers vaporize water to moisturize dry air.

The term "moist heat" is used to describe compresses or towels dampened with hot water and applied to the site of inflammation or pain to provide relief.

"Moisturize" is derived from the Old French word "moiste," meaning moldy. "Moiste" was derived from "mucidus," the Latin word for "moldy."

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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