I was a late adopter of serums. For the longest time, I didn’t see their use. I already had a moisturizer, which I religiously used every day and night. So, what did I need a serum for? Then, I tried one, and was amazed at the results.
Serums are the real workhorses of skincare. They are especially formulated to deliver high concentrations of active ingredients, such as antioxidants and skin-lightening agents, deeper into the skin. Mosturizers can contain those goodies too, but, usually, in lower amounts that work more slowly.
So, then I started thinking about ditching my moisturizer instead. If serums are more effective, wouldn’t it make more sense to only use them, and save both money and time in the morning? Well, that depends. A moisturizer has its uses too, and can be a serum’s best friend.
Moisturizers are especially designed to improve the moisture levels of the skin and repair its natural protective barrier. Cold weather, unprotected sun exposure, and harsh skincare products can all damage this barrier. When that happens, skin is not able to retain moisture well, and becomes dry, flaky, and more prone to irritations. Moisturizers contain ingredients (like fatty acids, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid) that can fix this barrier and seal moisture in, keeping skin hydrated.
If you have normal or oily skin that’s healthy and doesn’t need any additional moisture, you can get away with skipping moisturizer. Sometimes I do. After applying my retinol serum all over my face at night, I only dab moisturizer on my dry areas, skipping the t-zone.
But if you have dry and damaged skin, then following up your serum with a moisturizer is a must. A moisturizer will then seal in your serum, preventing the added moisture that provides from evaporating from your skin, and create a shield to protect your face from the environment.
The Bottom Line
Although they sometimes share the same ingredients, serums and moistruizers have different functions. Serums deliver higher concentrations of antioxidants and other goodies into the skin, while moisturizers seal in moisture and repair the skin’s protective barrier. Unless your skin is oily or in perfect condition, both are a must.
Have you ever used serums alone?