Women are often confronted with the question of a moisturiser or a serum; here’s why a serum might be the secret ingredient to add to your beauty ritual. There are many questions surrounding the difference between a moisturiser and a serum, how can one affect the other, and what are the effects for anti-ageing. The most noteworthy difference is the appearance, and why; the molecular structure of a cream is bigger than that of a serum, theoretically this means a serum is easily absorbed into the skin, but the effectiveness of the serum will depend solely on the ingredients used. Likewise, a moisturiser is only as good as its ingredients, both the combination and extraction method of the ingredients, determines whether or not your skin care product will deliver the results you are seeking.
A moisturiser is creamy, luxurious and offers thick hydration, protecting skin throughout the day and allowing skin to recover as you sleep. In winter we often reach for the moisturiser as skin feels dehydrated, irritated or appears red. To protect skin, and make your skin feel smooth and soft, a moisturiser is a good option. Depending on the severity of dehydration however, skin may need moisture at a deeper level. The second difference between a moisturiser and serum is the capability for absorption.
Moisturisers are only able to be absorbed to superficial layers of the skin, where as serums are able to be absorbed into deeper layers. The absorption of serums means the ingredients are able to work at a deeper level to aid skin health and appearance. The ingredients vary between a moisturiser and a serum, because of the density of the product.
The term ‘Active ingredients’ is not new, it is used to describe the nature of a skin care ingredient, however gained popularity when active ingredients were featured in serums, and through this delivery method, made a noticeable difference to skin. There are some ingredients used in serums are not available in moisturisers, as the molecular structure is too fragile for a heavy cream. The benefits on skin of an active ingredient is best delivered to skin via a serum, directly applied to the skin, and left to do its job.
Active ingredients perform different roles, a combination of them will be used in a serum to targeting specific skin conditions like pigmentation or severe dehydration. Active ingredients can be either natural or bio-synthetic, meaning they have been made to mimic the body’s naturally occurring anti-ageing compounds.
Popular biosynthetic ingredients include Matrixyl 3000 and Hyaluronic Acid (HA). Matrixyl 3000 is a biosynthetic ingredient containing two peptides, palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7. Studies showed Matrixyl 3000 works to increase the synthesis of collagen type I by 258%, fibronectin – by 164% and hyaluronic acid – by 179% making the skin appear firmer, fuller and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkes, also assisting in wound healing. Scientific studies have also shown that HA improves skin hydration, stimulates production of collagen in skin, works as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger. The HA molecule attracts moisture in the air and can hold up to 1000x its weight in water. As a topical skincare product, the benefits for women (particularly menopausal) that are suffering from severe dehydration or cosmetic damage, notice their skin can be visibly improved in a short course of applying HA in a serum form.