On the market today, there is no shortage of skin care products. There are face washes, eye creams, toners, night creams, and masks for every skin type. The options are plentiful and sometimes overwhelming, especially when our dry skin is craving attention. Moisture is at the forefront of our dry skin woes, but what is the best source of moisture? What is the difference between a serum and a moisturizer?
For starters, both serums and moisturizers offer beneficial moisture to the skin. However, they do so in their own unique way. Serums work from deep within the layers of skin, while moisturizers lock in moisture from the outer most layer.
Moisturizers are traditionally creams made with beneficial oils and emollients, which help soften and hydrate skin, by reducing evaporation. Simply speaking, moisturizers are formulated to create a barrier over the top layer of your skin to lock in moisture against the skin. Over time this “locked” moisture absorbs into the skin.
Serums, on the other hand, are water-based and contain fewer oils, if any at all. This formulation makes it a product that has a super high concentration of active ingredients. They can contain antioxidants, peptides, retinoids, and even alpha hydroxy acids to target specific skin ailments, like aging or dark spots. Serums are lightweight and fast absorbing, and after applying on top of clean skin, they work themselves deep beneath the skin’s top layer to provide moisture and essential nutrients. The high-quality ingredients found inside a serum might make it more expensive than your other products, but a little goes a long way. Only a few drops are enough to feed your skin.
So which one is right for you? If you have a specific skin need, or want to slow the signs of aging, there are few better products than a fast-absorbing serum. However, if you have extremely dry skin, nothing replaces the benefits of a cream moisturizer. In some instances, especially in the winter, using the two in tandem can be beneficial.
When using both a serum and a moisturizer, you want to apply the serum first. After cleansing and/or toning, apply a pea size amount of serum directly onto skin. Then, once it absorbs, apply your moisturizer. Because a serum is formulated to penetrate skin and a moisturizer is not, you do not want to apply a serum on top of a moisturizer. The moisturizer could block a serum's nutrients from reaching the skin. Of course you will have to listen to your skin needs, but we recommend applying a serum and moisturizer both morning and night.
Seasonal dry skin can be tricky. While products are essential to keeping the dry skin at bay, don't forget about the other things you can do for it, too: drink lots of water; mind your nutrition; get your blood pumping; get plenty of rest; stay out of the direct blast of artificial heat; and don't spend too much time in a hot shower. With a mindful approach to skin care and life balance, your skin will remain healthy, happy, and looking its best, despite dry air.