What is a Skincare Serum?
Serums are lighter, quick absorbing liquids used as an alternative or in addition to daily creams or lotions. They are a water-based, liquid concentration of nutrients and bio-active ingredients that work to bring oil and hydration into balance and strengthening your skin.
What's the difference?
The most noticeable difference between a serum and a cream is what the formulation contains or in some products doesn’t contain. Generally Serums, unlike moisturisers do not include ingredients such as petrolatum and/or mineral that prevents water from evaporating and also contain fewer lubricating and thickening agents, offering a more “active” list of ingredients that penetrate deeper into the skin.
Serums are also in particular known to work better for those with oily skin, as opposed to a moisturiser which may sit heavier, potentially clogging up pores and causing unnecessary acne breakouts.
The beauty of using serum is that most of the fluid is eliminated resulting in a higher concentrated formula of active ingredients, therefore in general Serums contain the most potent dose of anti-ageing ingredients.
Serums are made up of very small molecules, so the skin absorbs them quicker and deeper into your skin, whereas, the thicker, heavier ingredients in creams will sit and form a barrier on your skin locking moisture in but can also potentially keep active ingredients out, as opposed to the active ingredients in a serum which will generally penetrate your skin faster and more effectively.
Moisturisers have larger molecules than a serum which means that a moisturiser will not penetrate the skin as deeply as a serum will. Moisturisers will, however, hydrate the epidermis, which is the top layer of the skin, although as they are the heavier of the two cream moisturisers don’t make it much below that layer.
Serums are used mainly to treat more specific individual needs such as wrinkles, sagging skin, hyperpigmentation, scarring etc. Whereas moisturisers can contain beneficial ingredients, but they can’t be as effective at correction and treatment as highly concentrated serums.
The main purpose of a moisturiser is always to hydrate the skin, however, albeit Serums can also add hydration to the skin they offer additional and/or different benefits depending on your age, specific concerns and skin type.
Serums are more likely to contain higher concentrated antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins that work to repair the structure of skin cells, increasing skin radiance, smoothness and suppleness.
Serums tend to be a bit more expensive than moisturisers due to the “active” ingredients used are more expensive to purchase than thickeners, therefore good quality serums with more concentrated ingredients and fewer fillers tend to come at a more costlier price. However, that being said, a more concentrated Serum, when applied properly as per manufacturers directions, will usually last months given that smaller amounts are used due to most serums are dispensed in a dropper or pump application allowing for a more controlled smaller amount to be applied with maximum benefits.
Should you choose a Serum over a Moisturiser?
Serums permeate deeper into the skin and are generally much lighter in weight than moisturisers and contain a more highly concentrated list of ingredients being more effective in treating particular concerns.
Moisturisers are the heavier of the two products, however, they do hydrate the epidermis and may be more suitable to your skin type.
If you have persistent complexion concerns such as breakouts, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, you would benefit from adding a serum to your skincare routine. With a serum, you’ll get more concentrated treatment ingredients and, therefore, faster and better results. But remember, if you apply your serums over your moisturisers, you won’t see as many benefits, as the serum is unable to penetrate effectively through the moisturiser.