Is a serum the same as a cream?

Confession: I’ve been using a serum as a cream for a long time. I thought: a serum is the same as a cream but much more nutritious. As with hair care; a serum protects your hair more than a cream. So it would also apply to skin care.

And this thought wasn’t so bad. I regularly read in serum reviews on Yesstyle that people use them as a cream. Because they work familiar. And a serum is just like a super intense cream, right?

But unfortunately that turned out not to be entirely true. A serum and a cream are two separate parts of the skin care routine. I’ll tell you why.

What is a serum?

Photo: efetova

A serum is a thin emulsion with a very high concentration of active substances. These active substances are immediately absorbed into your skin. The more active substances, the more intense the effect.

A serum tackles a specific skin problem, like pigment spots, hydration, aging or scars.

What is a cream?

Photo: Anneleven

A cream is a mixture of fat and water. It often contains repairing, soothing and moisturizing substances. Most active ingredients are water soluble.

Creams are based on skin types. The skin types also determines the structure and thickness of the cream. For example, a cream for oily skin feels lighter than a cream for dry skin.

What is the difference between a serum and a cream?

You can already see the difference between a serum and a cream from the packaging. A serum comes in a much smaller bottle. But you can also clearly see the difference under a microscope. A cream has larger molecules and therefor doesn’t penetrate deep into the skin. The molecules of a serum are smaller, making it easier to penetrate deeper skin layers.

The biggest differences between a serum and cream are:

  1. Concentration: a serum has a larger number of active substances than a cream. It hasn’t yet been possible to make a cream as concentrated as a serum. It makes the cream unstable.
  2. Texture: a serum has a light texture. A cream is fuller, greasier and leaves a sticky layer on your skin.
  3. SPF: a cream often contains a SPF, a serum not.

Is it okay to use a serum instead of a cream?

Despite the fact a serum is very nourishing, it doesn’t leave a protective layer on your skin like a cream. For example a cream has an SPF. If you use a serum as a cream, your skin remains vulnerable to external influences.

Therefor use them both. Start with a serum and finish with a cream.

Front page photo: Dean Drobot

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