Beauty Explained: Using Moisturiser But Not Serum? You're Missing A Trick

by Selen Hurer

These days, so many people moisturise - mainly because there's so much talk about how it protects against premature ageing and dry skin, they know they have to. But, other than that, few understand why, often purchasing the most expensive products 'because they're better' or 'x celebrity wears them and they look great.' Trust me, most probably don't - especially if it's an endorsement! - and those who do obviously care about how they look. This isn't a one-stop miracle fix. They'll be researching the ingredients, and will be using more than just that. 

Step forward serums. One of the best complementary products to your moisuriser.

What's the difference between a serum and moisturiser?
The main difference between them is the molecule size and the way in which they work. Serums contain a high concentration of active ingredients and have smaller molecules than moisturisers, meaning that they penetrate the skin on a deeper cellular level, working more effectively. Whereas, the larger molecules in moisturisers prevent them from penetrating the epidermis (surface layer of the skin). But don't stop using them. These larger molecules contain skin-hydrating emollients and form a physical barrier to help skin stay hydrated and prevent pollutants entering. 

Do I really need to use a serum as well as a moisturiser?
The simple answer: If you're in your 30's or older, yes, I'd definitely recommend adding a serum to your skincare routine. It will make a huge difference.

The key is to use both products, but to make sure that they're light-weight and that the moisturiser is suited to your skin type. This is a particular skin saviour during the winter months and for people with normal or dry skin, as wearing a serum under your moisturizer will help to maintain good hydration levels. The only exception is people with naturally oily skin; they should use the serum alone.

Another benefit of serums is that they can be used to address specific skin issues. Super-concentrated with active ingredients, they help target skin concerns such as pigmentation, redness, sensitivity, aging, acne and scarring by delivering nutrients and vitamins directly into the skin cells.

How do I apply the serum?

1. Apply your serum to clean skin in the morning and evening. Follow with an SPF moisturizer or sunscreen.
2. In the evening, apply the serum before your night cream.

Keep your moisturizer in the refrigerator. The coldness of the moisturiser will push surface blood into the skin through capillary contraction, increasing the penetration of the serum’s active ingredients.

Here are 5 of the best skin serums available:

1. AQ Skin Solutions GF Active Serum (30ml / £157) - BEST FOR ANTI-AGEING
Yes, this serum is priced at a hefty £157, but it works in a unique way. This clever anti-aging serum was developed by Dr Ahmed Al-Qahtani who specialised in medical applications of Growth Factors (GF) for healing wounded tissue and creating artificial skin grafts. Using his knowledge and experience in growth factor biotechnology, he uses cell Growth Factors to speed up skin cell regeneration and stronger collagen production. Lactic acid works to stimulate cell turnover, reduce sun damage and pigmentation; and, after just a few weeks, your skin is looking smoother, firmer and brighter!

Minimise the early signs of aging with this vitamin packed antioxidant serum. Formulated with a potent blend of super-stable Vitamin C and nourishing Vitamin E, they work together to protect the skin cells against free radicals and environmental stressors; whilst Maracuja Oil, Squalane and Vitamin F nourish and condition the skin. When used regularly, it leaves the skin looking brighter, plumper and skin tone more even.

3. Green People For Men – Antioxidant Repair Serum (50ml / £17.50)
This serum is perfect for men with sensitive skin (there are more of you out there than you realise!) and those prone to eczema, psoriasis, acne and skin blemishes. Plus, unlike a lot of products, it’s also gentle enough to use under the eye area. Made with Baicalin - a magic ingredient and potent antioxidant extracted from Skullcap - this serum not only protects against free radical damage, but it also contains anti-inflammatory and skin-brightening properties; whilst the Seaweed and Organic Almond offer superior hyydration and anti-ageing benefits, leaving you looking younger, fresher and more nourished than you have in ages.

This biologically active, ultra-hydrating, oil-free serum quenches dry, thirsty skin. Great for those sun-lovers who've spent all summer bathing, but forgotten to nourish your skin, leaving it feeling uncomfortably tighter and flaky when the sun goes down. Not a good look, but this will help. Formulated with powerful antioxidant Vinanza Grape from New Zealand, it protects the skin from environmental aggressors and pollutants; whilst Mamaku Black Fern Extract firms, protects and stimulates collagen production leaving skin feeling hydrated and plumped.

5. SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque (30ml / £55)
Suitable for all skin types, especially oily and sensitive problematic skins. I love this light-weight oil-free serum. Containing botanical extracts of Cucumber, Thyme and Grapefruit, along with Hyaluronic Acid, it acts as an anti-inflammatory to calm and soothe inflamed, stressed skin. Dark spots and uneven pigmentation are naturally lightened, leaving the skin feeling rejuvenated after only a few weeks.

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