Serum vs. Moisturizer: What's the Difference

Serum vs. Moisturizer: What's the Difference

Serums and moisturizers are both important skincare products available on the market that have valuable benefits to the way skin looks and feels. Serums are lightweight and used to penetrate the surface layers of skin to tackle and transform specific skin concerns like diminishing the appearance of fine lines and deep wrinkles, evening out skin tone, brightening the look of skin, reducing the appearance of pores, etc. Moisturizers are typically heavier creams that focus on ensuring skin stays soft, supple, and smooth throughout the day.

As Skin Health Experts, we know that skin needs vary depending on your skin type, age, and top skin concerns. However, we believe that everyone benefits from using a moisturizer as a daily skincare staple, usually applied at the end of your routine both morning and night. We’re also big fans of serums, and often recommend specific serums for morning or night use depending on your needs. Simply put, both have a valuable role to play in optimizing skin health as you age. Below, we reveal how each of these premium skin care products work and why they are both essential steps in an effective skin care regimen.

First, let’s identify the skincare steps we recommend to customers and clients every day so you can have a full understanding of what’s best to keep skin healthy-looking. Our founder Kate developed her skincare philosophy over years of working with plastic surgeons and then in her Los Angeles Skin Health Experts Clinic, deeply understanding how skin works and how to best keep skin healthy-looking as you age. Our signature approach to daily skin care is as follows:

  1. Cleanse with the right face wash for your skin type or concern morning & night
  2. Exfoliate 1-2 times per week depending on your skin type
  3. Hydrate with a hyaluronic acid treatment morning & night
  4. Treat specific skin concerns with serums morning & night
  5. Moisturize with the right cream for your skin type or concern morning & night

Now, why do we recommend these steps in this particular order? Because each step lays a solid foundation for the steps that follow by prepping skin to most effectively absorb the ingredients of the next step. Without proper cleansing, skin is not clear of dirt, debris, makeup and oils. Without proper exfoliation, dead skin cells harden the skin’s surface and make it impossible for products that follow to penetrate the skin and be most effective. By removing that top layer of dead skin, radiance is revealed, and skin is now prepped for a surge of hydration, plumping and smoothing. Once skin is hydrated, it’s ready to make the most of the unique serums and treatments with high-performing ingredients to get to work. Finally, a moisturizer seals in the work of the previous skincare steps.

Now that you know our suggested skin health regimen, let’s explore the value of those serums.

The Uniqueness Of A Face Serum

Serums are thinner than moisturizers, are typically clear and have a consistency that’s less than a gel but more than a liquid. When considering choosing a serum versus moisturizer, a facial serum is more concentrated with ingredients to address skin problems like acne and signs of aging. Because they are so highly concentrated, you only need a drop or two to fully penetrate the skin and deliver beautiful results.

Some of our favorite serums include the Kate Somerville +Retinol Vitamin C Serum which has incredible firming, smoothing, brightening capabilities, our line of Kx Active Concentrates Serums for specific skin concerns like age restore, skin hydration, and powerful brightening, as well as our DeliKate™ Recovery Serum for soothing skin stress and restoring a healthy skin barrier.

Each of our clinically formulated serums delivers a specific visible benefit for skin. Just a few drops applied to the hands first – or blended in with your favorite moisturizer – then gently massaged into the face will improve the look and feel of skin instantly and over time.

The Value Of Using A Moisturizer

Contrary to what you might think, not all moisturizers for your face are created equally. And it’s important to find a moisturizer that targets your skin type and/or specific skin concerns. For example, if you have oily-prone skin, don’t skip the moisturizer. Simply opt for one that delivers adequate hydration without heavy moisturization like the Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer. It’s clinically designed to provide hydration without causing the skin to feel greasy. It absorbs quickly into the skin and helps to minimize excess oil.

Formulated with a mix of glycolic and lactic acids to help slough away dead skin cells and fruit extracts to enhance exfoliation and reduce redness, it moisturizes thirsty skin while revealing a gorgeous glow.

If you’re starting to notice the visible signs of aging – a loss of elasticity, uneven skin texture, sagging or lackluster skin – our +Retinol Vitamin C Moisturizer is a great option to rotate into your regimen. It’s clinically formulated to firm, smooth and brighten skin overnight.

And for days when skin is stressed, irritated, or reactive, give our DeliKate™ Recovery Cream a go. Chock full of soothing ingredients including a peptide complex & ceramides, it’s proven to relieve visible redness, calm irritation and help restore skin’s protective barrier.

How to Choose Which Product to Use

When comparing serum vs. moisturizer, there are benefits to both. It’s similar to conditioner and deep conditioning masks for the hair; each work on their own but are better when used together. Both have valuable, high-quality ingredients specifically formulated to improve skin health while visibly transforming specific skin concerns like dullness, dryness, lines & wrinkles, acne, oiliness, or a loss of elasticity.

When choosing which type of product to use, start by identifying your skin type and which the ingredients will deliver the best results for your needs. And remember that your skin needs change throughout the years, which means if you’ve been using moisturizer regularly, a face serum may be an impactful addition to your regular skincare routine. Or it may be time to try a new moisturizer with different ingredients or benefits.

Either way, enjoy the glow of healthy-looking skin when using moisturizers, serums, or both on a daily basis. The more consistent you are with taking care of your skin, the better the results will be.

For more tips on healthy skin, explore our blog.

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