Share this post


Sign up to receive news, updates and product discounts.

Skin Serums vs. Skin Moisturizers

By: Dr. Wang Skincare Education Team

Aug 16, 2019

Share this post

Today’s beauty and skincare market can be downright confusing. It seems that every day, products are becoming more specialized and more complex. Even so-called “natural” skincare routines may contain ten or more daily steps!

This makes selecting the best skincare products more difficult than ever. What exactly is a serum? How is it different from a moisturizer? And do you really need to use both?

What Are Serums?

Serums are lightweight skin treatments that utilize microscopic molecules to absorb into the skin. The active ingredients in serums are often absorbed at higher rates than other skincare products such as moisturizers, eye creams, or masks. They typically have a smooth, watery consistency.

The power of serums lies in their ability to do all of the following at once:

  • Moisturize
  • Effectively deliver essential skin nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, and much more
  • Reduce the visible appearance wrinkles
  • Absorb quickly and easily without a heavy residue

Serums are used to address and treat a number of various skin issues. Some of these include repairing sun damage, reducing wrinkles, adding hydration, improving the tone and texture of the skin, exfoliating, calming redness, clearing blemishes, or treating hyperpigmentation. If there is something wrong with your skin, odds are that there is a serum that will treat it.

How Are Serums Different From Moisturizers?

Moisturizers are thicker and creamier than serums and differ in both form and function. Although there are serums that hydrate the skin, moisturizers seal that hydration and prevent further water loss. Some moisturizers even have added anti-aging ingredients that work with your serums for faster results! Serums are able to be absorbed into the skin quickly because they don’t use heavy ingredients and thickening agents like Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Carnauba Wax, or Stearic acid. These heavier ingredients are what give moisturizers the ability to sit on the skin and lock in hydration.

Similarities include many of their basic components. Serums and moisturizers almost always include a mixture of water and oil-based products. Moisturizers and serums may also contain some of the same (certainly not all of the same) active ingredients which serve to hydrate and moisturize skin.

Skin serums are lighter and do not “seal” your skin. They are therefore more suited for daily use all year round for all skin types. For example, we recommend using three (3) to five (5) drops of the Nourishing Youth Serum twice per day for best results. This advice holds true in the humid, hot days of summer and the dry, cold winter season.


Do You Really Need to Use Both?

Both serums and moisturizers have their place in an effective skincare routine. The key is to understand what each does well and how to use them properly for optimal results.

As we mentioned earlier, serums should be used as a treatment and moisturizers should be used to lock in hydration, protect the skin from outside irritants, and seal in your skin’s natural moisture. The best moisturizers will work in tandem with your serums to make them more effective. Moisturizers are best for moisturizing and hydrating dry skin. Depending on the formula and the skin type, they should be used only as needed. Over-moisturization can lead to oily skin and clogged pores.

While many moisturizers do contain ingredients that will help with various skin issues, serums have the ability to penetrate the skin more deeply. This is what makes them a more effective treatment for things like acne, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and uneven texture.

Layering Your Products 

Serums should be used after cleansing and toning the skin. Not only are they the thinnest, but they also deliver the active ingredients into the skin efficiently because they absorb so quickly. Feel free to customize the number of serums you use based on how well your skin tolerates them. It’s good to stick with 1-2 serums to start and be sure to apply them based on their texture. The serums with the lightest texture go first, followed by those that are thicker.

Once you’ve applied your serums, you can go in with a moisturizer. This will seal the serums on your skin, thus making them more effective! When it comes to your moisturizer it’s best to keep it as simple and basic as possible (as far as active ingredients go) and let the serums do most of the heavy lifting.


Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare offers TCM Serums and Much More

At Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare, we use our extensive experience to offer affordable, high-end skincare products for spa and at-home use. For over 20 years, the father-son team of Steven Wang, MD and Gui Wang, LAc has been working together to develop holistic solutions to common skin health issues.

We believe in fusing ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine with modern Western medicine to offer the best of both worlds. Our Nourishing Youth Serum is a testament to this commitment to combining ancient wisdom with modern technology.

We are thrilled to be featured in Organic Spa Magazine’s Skin Care Guide 2019. In the article entitled The Scoop on Serums, our Nourishing Youth Serum received top billing on the list of the magazines’ favorite serums. Learn more about our products and our story!


Sign up to receive news, updates and product discounts.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published