Difference Between Serum and Moisturizer

Serum vs Moisturizer

Are you confused of seeing so many types of personal care products in the market and specially wondering what, in fact, is the difference between serum and moisturizer? You are not alone. There are so many having this confusion. People around the world make use of many cosmetic products to take care of their facial skin. There are the cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, and so on. It is a fact that our skin pores get clogged with dust and other particles if we do not cleanse and moisturize the skin on a daily basis. However, there are many who feel that a serum and a moisturizer serve similar purposes and one should use either of the two for skin care. Despite similarities, there is a difference between facial serum and moisturizer that necessitate the use of two in conjunction with each other on our facial skin. This article takes a closer look at this difference.

What is Serum?

Serum is a face care product that is a thick liquid. It consists of vitamins and other ingredients that are designed to address problem areas of the facial skin. It contains antioxidants, and its molecular structure is very small, allowing it to reach deep inside our skin and remedy our skin issues such as dark spots, redness, wrinkles, acne, dark circles, etc. These liquid skin care products also contain moisturizers. The main reason serums are used by people is because they can penetrate deep under the skin to reach the layer of skin called dermis. Serums heal our skin from the inside.

Difference Between Serum and Moisturizer

What is Moisturizer?

As the name implies, a moisturizer contains ingredients to remove dryness of the skin. It is a cosmetic product that is applied on our skin to replenish moisture that gets lost when we move outside and face the elements and the heat of the sun. Moisturizer contains natural oils and crèmes to make our skin soft and smooth. The molecular structure of a moisturizer is such that its large molecules are unable to penetrate our outer skin, and it provides skin care from outside only. A moisturizer hydrates our skin from outside only.


What is the difference between Moisturizer and Serum?

• Serum is a facial skin care product that has a small molecular structure allowing it to penetrate to our dermis or the second layer of the skin.

• Moisturizer is a product that has a large molecular structure that prevents it from penetrating into our skin. It works at the level of the epidermis only.

• Serum provides skin care reaching under our epidermis.

• Serum is like providing vitamins to our inside skin whereas moisturizer is providing hydration and miniaturization to our outside skin.

• Moisturizer is used to prevent dryness of our skin and to hydrate it from outside whereas serum moisturizes the skin from the inside.

• Moisturizer is like our outer clothes while serum is like our undergarments.

• We should first apply serum and moisturizer only after a few minutes of applying serum.

• Both are complimentary to each other though for people with oily skin, only serum may be enough

• Serums are needed to treat underlying skin problems as it contains vitamins and other skin nutrients.

• Moisturizer cannot penetrate the skin whereas serum can.


Photos By: RoyalSiamBeauty  (CC BY 2.0), WindyWinters (CC BY 2.0)

Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Lotion and Moisturizer
  2. Difference Between Moisturizer and Cream