Difference Between Moisturizer and Serum

Moisturizer and serum are two distinct things used to apply in the human body to the nourishment of the skin. They have different properties and characteristics based on the production and raw material used.


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The level of concentration will reflect things on the skin.

Moisturizer vs Serum

The difference between moisturizers and serum is their molecules. The moisturizers have large molecules, whereas the serum has smaller molecules. The moisturizers are thick and difficult for the skin to absorb, whereas serum is light and can easily be absorbed by the skin. The moisturizer will hydrate your skin, whereas the serum will nourish and promote your skin.

Moisturizer vs Serum

Moisturizer is also called emollient. It is a cosmetic preparation. The primary usage of moisturizer is to hydrate the skin. Sebum will work behind the moisturizer which lubricates the skin.

Sebum is the gland secreted by the healthy skin. The word emollient is taken from the Latin word mollire. The word emollient means soften.

Thousands of brands are available nowadays. Moisturizer is an essential cream to maintain healthy skin. It is advised to use moisturizer for your skin for its protection.

The serum is lightweight and thinner. When compare to moisturizer, serums are less thicker and has a gel-like consistency. The serum has high active ingredients.

The serum can be applied directly to your skin without any mixture. Before toning, the serum is applied. Sometimes serum is in liquid form.

The serum is expensive for its active ingredients. The primary usage of serum is it nourishes the skin and protects the skin from exposure. It is also used as a treatment for dark spots, acne, and anti-aging.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonMoisturizerSerum
Active ingredientsThe moisturizer has less active ingredientsThe serum has more active ingredients
FunctionMoisturizer will hydrate skinThe serum will nourish the skin
AppearanceMoisturizer is thickerSerum is thinner
ConsistencyThe moisturizer has a creamy consistencyThe serum has a gel consistency
PenetrationMoisturizer penetrates deeplySerum may not penetrate deeply

What is Moisturizer?

Moisturizers will help to maintain the water content of the human body. Water will evaporate and dehydration happens in the skin. The moisturizer will prevent dehydration and keep its moisture.

The continuous dehydration of the skin will cause transepidermal water loss. But moisturizer will maintain the wet content and acts as a barrier. Moisturizer will prevent the skin from exposing to dust or damage.

The active ingredients present in the moisturizer will modify the water rate of the skin. The moisturizer has two varieties. They are occlusives and humectants.

Occlusive is a coating on the skin which keeps or maintains the moisture content of the skin. Humectants work in contrast to the occlusive. It absorbs water from the air and moisture the skin.

Both of them work effectively on the skin and keep your skin moisturized. Moisturizer will contain water to hydrate the skin. It is like a temporary hydrating agent for your skin.

The moisturizer is also used in the treatment of skin diseases. Diseases like psoriasis, xerosis, and pruritus can be treated by moisturizer.

Even sunscreens, hair tonics, and creams contain moisturizers. In disposal napkins, moisturizer is added to prevent skin irritation. Moisturizer is a better option to prevent skin exposures and skin diseases.

What is Serum?

The serum is lightweight. It never feels like you applied something to your skin. You can serum along with moisturizer to prevent dehydration. The serums are transparent and only drops are used.

The active ingredients of serum will directly react with your skin and smooth the skin. The serum is made of powerful ingredients. When compared to moisturizers, the serum has greater penetration power.

The small molecules will deeply penetrate into your skin and work effectively. The serum has a high concentration of active ingredients which makes it expensive. You can see the changes in your skin in a shorter period.

Hydrating the skin, soothing the skin, and preventing aging is the primary function of the serum. You can apply the serum to your face twice a day.

After cleaning the face with fash wash, you can directly apply the serum to your face. Only a pea-sized amount is enough. Using the dropper you can apply it to your face.

Many types of serums are available in the market. You need to choose the right one for your face. Depending on the problems you need to choose the serum.

If you have a dark spot you need to choose the serum which cures dark spots. Likewise, you choose the serum. The glycolic acid serum is the common type of serum for normal skin.

The serum will help in the rejuvenation of the skin. The serum will reduce the open pores and puffiness.

Main Differences Between Moisturizer and Serum

  1. When compared to serum, the moisturizer will penetrate deeply.
  2. The moisturizer has a creamy consistency, whereas the serum has a light gel-type consistency.
  3. The moisturizer will hydrate your skin, whereas the serum will nourish and promote your skin.
  4. When compared to serum, the moisturizer has fewer active ingredients.
  5. When compared to serum, moisturizer is more thicker.
Difference Between Moisturizer and Serum


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3050617/
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09513591003632258
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