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Difference Between Serums and Oils

Both serums and oils are great tools to nourish the skin. The difference lies in their formulations and how they are used.

serums and oils
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Let us find out.

What are serums?

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Serums are a water-based formula that provides a powerful blend of ingredients that will absorb in your skin. Serums are generally lightweight. Some serums are formulated that target specific type of skin problem. And if you are looking for something that can help treat your acne, get a serum that has ingredients that include salicylic acid and willow bark extract. But if your problem is hyperpigmentation, try looking for serums with vitamin C-, mulberry-, bearberry-, or licorice root extract-enhanced skin products. If you are looking for anti-aging products, go get serum infused with glycolic acid, peptides, or ferulic acid. This is also why serums are formulated to penetrate skin layers that are difficult to reach using moisturizers.

For example, the InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum is formulated to fight blemishes by helping clear and reduce clogged pores, acne, and blackheads. It contains hyaluronic acid that helps hydrates replenish, and boosts the ability of your skin to retain moisture for a youthful skin complexion. The vitamin C helps lighten the appearance of eye bags, dark circles, and puffy under your eyes. It promotes healthy collagen production to prevent aging signs including wrinkles and fine lines.

Whatever your skin care goals, try to include a serum in your daily skin care routine for faster, potent results, and long-lasting effects.


  • The serum has a thinner texture and generally comes in liquid form. It is formulated with small molecules, hence, it can absorb into your skin deeper and faster.
  • A facial serum is made of potent extracts that can be 10 times more concentrated compared to a moisturizer.
  • There are various kinds of serums in the market. There are facial serums for oily skin, dry skin, acne-prone skin, anti-aging, dark spots, or freckles. A serum aims at a specific need of your skin and you can see results faster.
  • Serum generally comes in a small bottle, but you only need 1 to 2 drops for the entire face. Hence, a 10-oz bottle of serum can last for many months.


  • It contains a concentrated and active ingredient and therefore may come inexpensive price compared to a regular moisturizer.
  • Serums aim at specific issue on your skin. If you have more than one skin problem, you may be confused about what to choose between products.
  • The serum is not advisable for individuals with rosacea, eczema, or any chronic skin problems because it penetrates deeply into your skin very fast that it may weaken your skin barrier.

To avoid confusion, we recommend that you identify your priorities. If you have dull, acne-prone skin, oily skin and you want to attain a glowing skin before fighting with acne and sebum, choose a whitening or brightening skin.

What are oils?

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Oils are….. Oils. Most of these oils contain added ingredients like fragrances. There are some oil products that feel like “serum.” Since these products are oil-based, it makes them heavier and this means that you need other products to apply.

Oils are emollients which means they interfere with concentrated ingredients that reach your skin. They give nutrition and hydration to your skin. Facial oils mostly plant extracts and essential oils that give your skin lipids. Lipids help fortify the moisture barrier keeping your skin balanced.

Oils help shield your skin from environmental damages that may result in acne and premature aging. Mostly, the main difference between serums and oils is that oil molecules are larger and aim at penetrating only the surface of your skin. The oil may contain so many different sizes of molecules, making them more suitable as moisturizers rather than as serums.

Most of the oils help boost hydration but that does not mean that they not important in your skin care regime. Take note that oils can help increase the moisture in your skin and therefore, should be an essential part of your skincare routine.

You may want to add few drops of Kate Blanc Vitamin E Oil to your serums, creams, moisturizers, and other skin care products to improve skin tones, help relieve acne, and add glow to your skin. The best moisturizer blend is vitamin E and Rosehip Seed Oil.


  • Oils help form an occlusive water “seal” on your skin to help retain moisture.
  • Gives long-lasting moisturization.
  • Great source of essential fatty acids and vitamins for healthy, radiant skin.


  • It does not provide your skin with water-soluble nutrients like vitamin B3.
  • It lacks the properties that give balanced hydration to your skin. Most of the oils are “heavy-duty hydration” for dry skin or normal skin that have dry patches.

When is the best time to apply serum and/or oil?

The general rule for skin product application is applying the lighter product first. Lighter skin product means the formulation, not its color. Serums are water-based. They are best applied directly right after cleansing or much better, exfoliating. This will allow fast and deep absorption of the serum for faster results. Some individuals apply the serum after their toner which is just fine. It is not the difference between serums and oils that matter, but its ingredients and application.

Just find the best method where best results are observed and your skin goals are achieved.

On final notes,

Both serums and oils have a purpose in your skincare routine for clearer and healthier skin. Just take note that you should layer them properly from the lightest to the thickest consistency to make sure that your skin care products have their chance to absorb and work effectively.

Many studies show results that a good skin care routine should blend with a healthy lifestyle to achieve your long lasting skin goals.

healthy clear skin
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What do you think?

Written by Maria

My passion is helping other people overcome the pain and embarrassment of acne. I have dealt with acne since my teenage years and know first-hand how hard it is to suffer from this condition.

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