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Facial Serums Vs. Facial Moisturizers..... What is the Difference? Do you need both?
What is the difference between “facial serums” and “facial moisturizers”? I get asked that question a lot. People are perplexed and confused about which one to use and whether they should be using both. The more knowledgeable and educated you are on this skin care terminology, the more you can make better choices when you purchase!
Facial moisturizers and creams have been the most prevalent method of skin care for many decades. Your grandmother probably even had her own favorite cream or moisturizer as part of her daily skin care routine. Today, however, dermatologists and cosmetologists recommend the use of cutting edge concentrates known as serums, along with a daily moisturizer to address specific skin care concerns such as dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and dry skin. Serums penetrate deep into the dermis where they can stimulate collagen production, a protein that our bodies produce less of as we age. Creams and lotions are only topical and treat the visible outer layer of skin for an instant beauty boost.
So…should you use a serum, or moisturizer, or both? The answer is YES to all of the above. Here’s why…
A serum and moisturizing cream differ in many ways. One of the main contrasts is in their molecular structure. A serum has a small enough molecular structure to penetrate the skin easily, whereas moisturizers and lotions have a larger molecule which lay on top of the skin, keeping it moisturized. Serums are highly concentrated and extremely potent. They contain around 10-15 times more active anti-aging ingredients than skin care creams. A moisturizing cream or lotion contains emollients to hydrate the skin and forms a barrier on your skin that keeps oils from escaping and harmful outside elements from causing dryness or irritation.
A serum and moisturizer differ not only in their consistency and feel on the skin, but also in terms of the ingredients they contain. A serum is generally a water-based liquid or gel that feels lightweight on the skin and is able to penetrate the skin more easily. It is fast absorbing, and has a high concentration of active ingredients like antioxidants, vitamins, skin brighteners, peptides, hydrators and exfoliators. A lotion or cream, on the other hand, contains moisturizing ingredients that are meant to hydrate and protect the skin, thus treating only the top layer…the epidermis.
A serum’s ability to penetrate into the dermis, because of its smaller molecular structure, means the vitamins and minerals it delivers get deeper into the skin layers. It is more highly concentrated and useful in addressing specific skin problems that cannot always be treated topically. It is actually treating your skin from the inside out! Serums are also able to deliver the anti-aging, active ingredients deeper into your skin to affect real change in healing damaged cells and build up the skin matrix. The skin matrix is responsible for structural integrity, mechanical resilience, stability and many other properties of the skin. The degradation of the skin matrix plays an important role in the development of wrinkles and other signs of aging. Using a serum, will smooth out lines and deeper wrinkles the way a lotion or cream cannot.
There are also many good reasons to use a facial moisturizer. A moisturizer cream or lotion is necessary to hydrate your skin and provides protection from the outside elements and environment. Keeping skin hydrated is an important step toward keeping it healthy. Facial moisturizers enhance the functioning of the stratum corneum, the uppermost layer of skin. This layer is made up of fat, oil, and skin cells that help keep moisture in the skin. Applying a moisturizer to your face can increase the moisture level of the stratum corneum, prevent skin from drying out, and if the moisturizer contains a sunscreen, then you will have protection against sun damage also. Moisturizers treat the skin from the outside.
How to use a Serum and Moisturizer together:
Remember…a facial serum is a “treatment” rather than a cosmetic. A little bit goes a long way, and packaging is typically very small. Depending on the function of the serum and its active ingredients, you will apply it either morning or night. To get the most out of your serum, wash your face using a mild exfoliant first. Apply toner, (if you use a toner) and then apply serum directly onto skin around the entire face and neck area, avoiding the eyes and lips. Most importantly you don't need a lot of product - a few drops or a pea size amount of the product is enough. More is not better when it comes to serums. Wait a few minutes to allow the serum to absorb into your skin completely. Follow up with a rich, hydrating moisturizer. Applying a moisturizer will help lock in those nutrients delivered by your serum of choice. To get the best results, use a serum every day.
Don’t rely on facial moisturizers alone! Invest in a serum to give your skin a boost and nourish it with the extra antioxidants and vitamins it needs to build a strong skin matrix. It will improve the look and firmness of your skin. You also need hydration and protection for your outer layer, stratum corneum. So moisturize daily, too. To really take care of your skin, especially as you get older, both a serum and a moisturizing cream or lotion will be your Best Friend!
TIPS TO HELP BRIGHTEN YOUR COMPLEXION
We all desire a healthy, bright complexion. If you are fortunate enough to have clear skin…then it is one less thing you have to feel insecure about. If your complexion is dull, it is harder to feel good about yourself…HOWEVER…there is good news! A brighter complexion IS attainable. Take a look at your diet, your lifestyle, and your daily skin care regimen and find out what could be causing your dull skin.
EAT THE RIGHT FOODS - you are what you eat. We all use to hear this when we were younger. Ah… but words of wisdom are wasted on the young. At least that was in my case. However, this saying is really true. You can’t put bad gas in your car and expect it to run properly. In the same sense, you cannot continue bad eating habits and expect your skin AND your body to respond in a positive manner. What you put into your body will definitely have an effect on your health and your appearance.
MINIMIZE ALCOHOL – While alcohol in moderation can be somewhat healthy for your body, it can also dehydrate and dull your skin. When consumed on a regular basis, alcohol can increase the blood flow to the skin’s surface which results in a flushed appearance that over time can be permanent. Try to keep alcohol intake to a minimum.
EXFOLIATE YOUR SKIN – No matter how hard you try, dead skin cannot be moisturized. Dead skin is dead, dry and flaky. It does not go away until you have sloughed it off. Exfoliating your skin is a key to a brighter complexion. Several ways to exfoliate are:
. Daily using a washcloth for gentle exfoliation
. Using an exfoliation treatment product
. Microdermabrasion or a skin care brush for deeper exfoliation
Daily exfoliation consistently sloughs off the dead skin cells and leads to a brighter complexion
START YOUR DAY WITH VITAMIN C – Of course Vitamin C in orange juice is healthy and nourishing for the body, but Vitamin C as a topical serum on your face is an excellent anti-aging product. It is packed with antioxidants to nourish and increase cellular turnover in your skin. This turnover will give you a more youthful, supple glow. Try our Vitamin C Serum.
BOOST YOUR SKIN’S MOISTURE LEVEL – Every day you should wash your face morning and night…women and men both. Women need to get rid of their makeup and men have dirt and oil build-up on their skin’s surface which clogs pores and causes breakouts. After washing, your skin always needs a dose of hydration with a moisturizer. Use a daytime moisturizer and a nighttime moisturizer. Wash and moisturize…wash and moisturize…ALWAYS.
USE A WEEKLY FACE MASK – There are face masks for all types of skin…from dry to oily. Masking your face can slough off dead skin cells, brighten your skin, and restore your skin to a well-balanced and hydrated state.
BRIGHTEN YOUR SKIN WITH GOOD MAKEUP CHOICES – Don’t drown your skin in heavy liquid or cream foundations. If you attain a healthy, glowing complexion by following the previous steps, your skin will shine through. You will want the natural health and youthful glow that you have worked hard to achieve.