Are you unable to decide whether to use a face serum or a moisturizer? Did you know that you can use both? Face serums and moisturizers are two different products that come with different benefits for the skin.
This article discusses some skincare routines involving face serums and moisturizers and how they can enhance your skincare regimen. Learn how to choose a perfect serum and moisturizer, and how to use it best.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Ayurveda describes serum as Rasa which is a Sanskrit term. Rasa dhatu nourishes the skin. A serum is a new-age delivery system for skin, intended to enrich the skin’s NMF, deliver the actives and keep the skin problem-free.”
-Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Are Face Serums?
A face serum is a thick liquid that contains vitamins and antioxidants. When a face serum penetrates your skin, it helps to reduce dark spots, redness, wrinkles, acne and dark circles. According to a study published by the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology the face serums that contain hyaluronic acid help in improving skin quality. 
Being water-based concoctions, face serums make your pores smaller, giving your skin a more supple and firmer texture. Here are a few ingredients in a face serum that make it beneficial for your skin:
1. Vitamin E
The antioxidant qualities of vitamin E protect your skin from the harmful effects of the environment.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C boosts the growth of collagen in your body, which helps in preventing the sagging of your skin due to age or pollution damage.
Retinol is also an antioxidant that assembles new cells and in turn produces collagen. Collagen production in your skin helps in preventing skin sagging and early signs of aging.
4. Hyaluronic Acid
Vata dominant skin is highly benefited by hyaluronic acid as it increases the skin’s capacity to hold moisture in it.
“Ayurveda describes serum as Rasa which is a Sanskrit term. Rasa dhatu nourishes the skin. A serum is a new age delivery system for skin, intended to enrich the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF), deliver the actives and keep the skin problem-free.” says Dr. Zeel.
Rasa dhatu  is responsible for providing nutrients and energy to your cells and tissues and helps in a stable physical growth. Ayurveda says that normal rasa dhatu leads to smooth and soft skin texture.
The Ayurvedic concoction called Kumkumadi oil can be used as a face serum. This oil is made of a herb called Crocus sativus which helps in improving the complexion of your skin. It also contains manjistha that helps in the purification of blood and chandan or sandalwood that makes your skin soft. 
“Serums in the form of traditional taila paka oils are also employed as serums. Swarasa of herbs like coriander leaves, tulsi, and fruits can be used as a serum. Arka of flowers like rose, lotus, jasmine, jati, mogra and gentle herbs like fennel, dill etc can also be used as serums,” says Dr. Zeel.
Vedix Tip: Face serums are meant to be applied to your face in small tapping motions with your fingertips or your palms. There is no need to massage it after application.
What Are Moisturizers?
Moisturizers are a cosmetic preparation that help reduce dryness in your skin and reinstate the moisture your skin loses due to various environmental conditions. Moisturizers are unable to penetrate into the deeper layers of your skin, but they act as a barrier between the air and the moisture of your skin. 
Every skin type requires a different kind of moisturizer and a different procedure of moisturization.
1. Vata Skin
Those with vata dominant skin need moisturization as they naturally have dry and dehydrated skin. It is advised for vata prakriti people to apply moisturizer after a bath or after they exfoliate their face. Sesame and jojoba oil are great emollients for such skin type as they are heavy in texture and have super nourishing properties.
2. Pitta Skin
Pitta dominant skin is oily in nature and very sensitive. It is more prone to acne and breakouts, so you need to be careful while using moisturizer on such type of skin. Coconut oil is best for moisturizing such skin types as it is anti-inflammatory. Another Ayurvedic emollient for pitta skin is ghrita or ghee, which can be used with a pinch of turmeric. It is advised to apply moisturizer before taking a bath for people with such skin type.
3. Kapha Skin
Kapha dominant skin is very oily in nature and needs a lot of cleansing, as it has a tendency of clogged pores. Hazelnut oil and sunflower oil are the recommended moisturizers for such skin type as they help in controlling sebum production.
You do not need to change your moisturizer according to the weather but you might need to change it with your age and your lifestyle changes.
What To Apply First: Serum Or Moisturizer?
Dermatologists advise to always apply face serums first and then your moisturizer as the moisturizer acts as a barrier for your skin and prevents the entrance of anything after its application.
Key Differences Between Serum & Moisturizer
Based on their characteristics and the benefits they provide to the skin, there are some differences between serums and moisturizers:
1. Skin Penetration
A serum can easily penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, and enhance its quality from within. However, people with sensitive skin or skin diseases should consult a dermatologist or avoid face serum as they can cause more irritation.
Moisturizers on the other hand do not penetrate the skin but act as a barrier for the surface of your skin. They prevent the moisture in your skin from escaping. 
Due to the presence of many active ingredients, serums can irritate sensitive skin or cause inflammation. Moisturizers on the other hand, help in soothing irritated skin.
Do We Need Both Serum & Moisturizer?
You might have often questioned yourself whether to use a serum along with a moisturizer or just one of the two. It is a tricky question but since they both have different characteristics and contribute differently to your skin, you need them both.
If you have skin concerns like early signs of aging or dark spots. you definitely need a face serum. But, if you also have vata dominant skin or dry and flaky skin, you need a moisturizer along with it, or else your skin will lose its original moisture.
If you already have oily skin or kapha dominant prakriti, you can skip the moisturizer and just use a hydrating face serum for nourishing your skin from within. Although our doctors recommend moisturizing during the night for all skin types.
If you have pitta dominant skin or sensitive skin, it is a smarter choice to consult your dermatologist before using any face serum and avoid them if you already have a skin disease. Mosturizers on the other hand, pose no threat to sensitive skin and can easily be used to hydrate your skin. 
How To Use Face Serum With Moisturizer?
A proper skincare routine involves both serums and moisturizers, but the key lies in the procedure of application. Doctors say that the general rule of using skincare products is to use them from the thinnest to the thickest of consistencies.
A. Daytime Skincare Routine
If you are looking for a daytime skincare routine you can follow this:
Step 1: Use a cleanser with some warm water, based on the type of your skin.
Step 2: Apply a light toner based on your skin type.
Step 3: Use an antioxidant serum for your face to protect it from the harmful sun rays during the daytime and protect your skin from inflammation.
Step 4: Use a light but hydrating moisturizer to prevent the natural oils from your face from leaving your skin through the pores.
Step 5: Sunscreen is a must during the daytime whether or not you are going out. If you have very oily skin that is prone to clogging of pores, you can skip the moisturizer and use a hydrating sunscreen instead.
B. Night-time Skincare Routine
If you are looking for night-time skincare routine you can follow this:
Step 1: Use a stronger cleanser during your night-time routine since you need to clean the entire day's dirt and oils from the face. You can choose to use a gentle cleanser twice if you have dry skin.
Step 2: Toners are a must during the night-time as they boost your skin’s health.
Step 3: Apply under eye cream before going to sleep to avoid dark circles.
Step 4: Restore your skin health with a hydrating moisturizer.
Step 5: Use a suitable night cream, which can act as your moisturizer.
The Last Word
The key to a good and healthy skin is a flawless skincare routine. Face serums and moisturizers both are key ingredients of your skincare routine. However, it is important to choose the right product as per your skin type and follow a suitable routine diligently.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Rejuvenating Hydrator: Restoring Epidermal Hyaluronic Acid Homeostasis With Instant Benefits, Jan 2016
2. An Understanding of Rasa Dhatu as Described in Ayurveda in the Light of Modern Science, July 19, 2017
3. Taila kalpana (Medicated Oil) in Ayurveda, 2016
4. Moisturizers: The Slippery Road, 2016 May-Jun
5. The clinical benefit of moisturizers, 2005 Nov
6. The increase in skin hydration after application of emollients with different amounts of lipids, 1992 Sep
7. Moisturizers: what they are and how they work, 2001 Dec
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