A common question that we get asked a lot is - Should I be using a cream or serum?
It's a good question as they mostly appear to do the same thing, but that's not quite true.
So, let's take a look at the benefits and limitations of each, so you can decide which will be best for your skin and provide you with the results you are really looking for...
Skincare creams have been around for centuries in one form or another. They are generally oil-based and have a thick consistency but creams can come in various textures, with heavier creams being better for dry skin conditions. Actually, normal to dry skin types usually benefit most from creams as they help to lock in as much moisture as possible.
While moisturising is one benefit, the addition of active ingredients can provide numerous other benefits to greatly improve the look and feel of your complexion. So you will find an abundance of different cream variations such as 'repairing', 'skin lightening', 'fading marks', 'exfoliating' etc. Each different variation of creams will feature active ingredients like Arbutin, Coenzyme Q10, Retinol, Glycolic Acid, Vitamin C to name just a few.
Avoid really cheap skin creams as in some cases, the cheap option contains no active ingredients at all. Just nasty preservatives and'fillers' that make the cream thick and smooth but do nothing for your skin.
Selecting a good quality skin cream with high grade and powerful active ingredients will go a long way to helping you achieve a beautiful and radiant complexion.
However, there is one thing to bear in mind. If you do have a very oily skin type, then the oil based and heavy texture that comes with some creams can worsen conditions like acne or even cause breakouts as you will be adding grease on top of grease, blocking pores which allows oily build ups. So, in this instance, you may be better off with a skin serum.
Serums, unlike creams, are relatively new to the beauty scene. They are very innovative products and uniquely suited to target individual skin concerns. Serums are water based treatments, which makes them a much lighter product than creams. Therefore they are much better for very oily skin types as you will not be layering more oil onto the skin.
Since serums consist of smaller molecules, they are absorbed into the skin much more rapidly then creams. The good thing about this is that you will need to use a great deal less on your skin than you would for a cream. Also, due to it's smaller molecular structure, serums have really targeted uses aimed at specific skin issues such as hyperpigmentation, melasma, dark spots, scars and more.
Just as with skin creams, the benefits of serums can be hugely improved by the effective additions of powerful and good quality active ingredients. Generally, the higher the price, then the higher the concentration of active ingredients. There should be very few non active ingredients in a high grade skin serum. The purer, the better.
The light texture of a serum means that you can actually apply up to three different types of serum on your skin before they have cancelling effects. In fact, using a serum in combination with a cream will provide the absolute best results. As a serum is more easily absorbed by the skin, this should be applied first as it will get into the deeper layers, which a cream cannot do. Once absorbed, you should then apply the cream which will get to work on the top layers of the skin and lock in moisture whilst also protecting the skin from environmental damage.
A downside of using a serum is that they are usually rather expensive but you do get a lot for the extra money and a serum should last you a long time. One other thing to bear in mind is that serums are not suitable for those with issues such as eczema or rosacea as the quick penetration of the skin can cause irritation for those with these types of skin conditions.
So hopefully now you have the answer to whether you should use a cream or a serum but, I say, if your skin can take it - why not use both?