Are Serums and Moisturisers the Same Thing?

Are Serums and Moisturisers the same thing?

This is a good question and I can see how it might be confusing choosing your serum and moisturiser or deciding on a serum or a moisturiser.

However, the simple answer is NO, Serums and moisturisers are NOT the same thing.

Serums and moisturisers work differently to treat the skin. Just like fruits and vegetables in your diet - they work differently and deliver different benefits and nutrients to your body.

Benefits of a moisturiser

  • Moisturisers hydrate and prevent trans epidermal water loss (TEWL) in the upper layers of our skin (called stratum corneum) to lock in moisture.

  • Moisturisers act as a shield to protect the skin against external aggressions.

  • Moisturisers have a larger molecule size, which means they cannot penetrate the deeper layers of the skin like a serum can.

  • This benefit of moisturisers lay in locking in moisture and protecting the skin.

  • Moisturisers have creamy or even heavier textures than serums - you can notice the difference when applying a moisturiser or serum on your skin.

Benefits of a serum

  • Serums are targeted to treat specific skin concerns, as they are full of active ingredients like peptides, vitamins, antioxidants, exfoliating acids and skin brighteners

  • Serums treat skin concerns or conditions like acne, rosacea, ageing and pigmentation.

  • Serums have smaller molecule sizes which helps these active ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin and deliver the benefits to the dermis.

  • Serums feel lighter than a moisturiser and the skin soaks up the serums immediately.

Can I use a serum instead of a moisturiser?

Here, once again the simple answer is NO.

Serums and moisturisers have different roles in your skincare routine and should be complementary, not interchangeable.

Moisturisers are a crucial step in your skin regime as they will balance out your skin, and "teach" your skin to retain moisture to be able to build and shield itself.

Serums, on the other hand, are essential to treat the skin concerns you may have, because they can deliver active ingredients to target those conditions really deep into the skin.

However, I often tell my clients as a Skin Therapist that, as much as they can start by using only a moisturiser, the biggest mistake they can make is to skip their moisturiser and only use a serum.

Skipping a moisturiser and only using a serum can lead to even further skin concerns like dehydration and sensitivity.


Then can I use only a moisturiser?

If you had to choose between one or the other, I would recommend starting with a moisturiser.

However, using both a serum and moisturiser is ideal, as it will enhance the results of your skincare routine (after all, remember serums are full of extra nutrients and vitamins with a higher percentage of active ingredients than moisturisers).

About The Author:

My name is Sari Pols,
I have been in the skincare industry for over 15 years. My passion lies in ‘Health’. Health for the skin and body. My philosophy is if we have good well-being on the inside, then it shows our vitality on the outside.
I have furthered my knowledge of Skin Anatomy, Skin Concerns, and Fitness. I am a true believer in how to make my clients feel their best both inside and out. My emphasis is on guiding my clients through their journey of skin concerns and conditions. I do not like to band-aid a concern or condition but want to get down to the root of the cause. I aim to give personalised consultations with treatment and correct prescribed skin products.

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