Golden Rules for Serums and Moisturisers
As the skincare industry evolves so rapidly it can be hard to keep track. Knowing the difference between serums, moisturisers, cleansers and toners, as well as what is best for you and your skin can be a minefield and we get many questions related to these in clinic.
Over the past few years, serums have risen to take the place of toners to become the new essential in your twice-daily skincare routine. But with such a wide range of serums, all varying in quality, which one should you choose and exactly what are they designed to achieve?!
Serums are very specific in what they do – they are much more readily absorbed as compared to a moisturiser which sits on top of the skin as a cream and works to protect. They are usually lighter in texture and exist in water, or sometimes oil-based products.
They therefore represent a method for the concentrated delivery of cosmecutical ingredients targeting specific skin conditions such as dehydration, lines and wrinkles, redness, pigmentation, congestion and blemishes.
Most moisturisers often offer broad hydrating properties, typically a mixture of oil and water base with emulsifier to mix the two – they are not generally as high in the active ingredients of serums.
Here are a few Golden Rules for Serums and Moisturisers
1/ Always start with your lightest product before moving onto your heaviest– which means your serums should be always applied BEFORE you moisturise!
2/ A serums should NOT be used to replace moisturisers –
Within this blog post we have learnt that quality serums are all about the delivery of specific active ingredients such as Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) Vitamin A (retinol molecular) in concentrated doses, therefore differing from the properties of a moisturiser which works instead to ‘lock in’ these serums – increase skin hydration and protect from environmental damage.
3/ Serums = Value for money – Serums may initially seem expensive for such a small quantity of product, however quality options should indeed recognise a high value per ml as they are applied more sparingly than heavier moisturisers. With many offering at least a two year shelf life.
4/ Not all serums are created equal! – Department store and pharmacy brands often do not incorporate sufficiently high levels of actives in the serum to create any visible change in the skin.
5/ Read your labels – Ask your skin specialist, aesthetician for guidance on clinical data to support ingredient claims of all the products you use. Department store retailers are not qualified in educating their clients on addressing specific skin concerns. Only seek the advice of a medically trained skin specialist or qualified skin therapist to help you choose the right serums and devise a skincare regimen to suit your skin and its requirements.
What should you be looking for?
Fine line reduction: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, collagen stimulating peptides (e.g. trylagen)
Congested, acne prone skin: Lactic Acid, Salicylic acid, retinol molecular, niacinamide
Pigmented, sun damaged skin: Vitamin A, Vitamin B3, Vitamin C, anhydrous, chromabright, azelogycina
Dehydrated, dry skin: Hylauronic Acid
Written By Terri Vinson (BSc Dip Ed ASCC) founder of Synergie Skin