One thing I continually get asked as Neal’s Yard consultant is ‘what is the difference between a serum and a moisturiser?’.

In order to answer that, there are a few things to know about your skin first.

The skin is made up of three different layers:

  • The epidermis, or outermost layer, provides a waterproof barrier and creates skin tone.
  • The dermis, sits beneath the epidermis, contains connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands. This is where collagen and elastin are formed.
  • The hypodermis, the deepest layer, is made up of fat and connective tissue.

The layers work together:

The epidermis is supported by the dermis and they work together to rejuvenate the skin.  The epidermis works to repair and protect the integrity of the skin whilst the dermis works to product collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid (amongst other things) all of which are essential to healthy, firm, well-nourished skin.

So the difference between serums and moisturisers:

  1. Weight and ingredients

The base of a serum is water as opposed to a moisturiser which is water and oil.  The serum is lightweight and made of smaller molecules which means it can sink deeper into the dermis level of the skin where collagen and elastin are formed.   Moisturisers are thicker and creamier than serums.  They hydrate and tone the epidermis layer.  Serums contain active ingredients in higher concentration levels than moisturisers – hence the higher price tag for serums.  But because they are lightweight, a little serum goes a very long way.

  1. Prevention or treatment
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Moisturisers are used for protecting, conditioning and hydrating the top layers of skin.  They act on a preventative level. Serums, because of the layer they are working at, treat conditions at a much deeper level.  Aging, sun damage, discolouration, for example, are all conditions of the dermis layer and deeper acting help is required.

So what should I be using?

Skin care is very individual but the one thing that we all should be doing daily – twice daily – is cleansing, toning and moisturising.

If you have a skin condition that you are concerned about for example fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, then I would recommend a serum.

If you are using a serum it should be used after cleansing and toning and before moisturising.  It should be used under your moisturiser for maximum benefit – not in replacement of your moisturiser.

What skin conditions do you have concerns with?  I would love to help you so why not book a free chat today.

Chelsea x

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