August 20, 2022 4 min read


There are several skin care products available today. It can be daunting to tell the difference, let alone choose the right product for your specific needs. All skincare isn't made equal and is very different in ingredients, purpose, and benefits. They're all part of your skincare routine but knowing the purpose of each and how to use it correctly is something else.

When looking for a skin moisturizer, you'll come across lotion, serum, and moisturizer.  keep in mind that these products are different depending on your skin concerns. Also, you might have heard of the trendy word CBD, also known as cannabidiol. CBD is a plant-based ingredient suggested to have therapeutic properties beneficial for skincare. Most skin problems have their roots in inflammation. Research studies and anecdotal evidence shows that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful in the treatment of most skin problems. This article discusses critical information that can help you narrow down your options and find a good product that suits your skin needs.

What Is CBD?

CBD, the abbreviation for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. There are over a hundred chemical compounds in the cannabis plant, and they're scientifically called cannabinoids. CBD is closely related to THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound associated with cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD isn't psychoactive. Research studies show that CBD is therapeutic in treating various ailments such as pain management, anxiety and insomnia disorders, mood regulation, acne, etc. For instance, Peyravian et al. (2022) showed the potential use of CBD for acne treatment due to its anti-inflammatory effects. Since the legalization of CBD under the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products have flooded the market, and the beauty sector hasn't been left behind. Also, considering that most people are obsessed with taking care of their skin, skincare manufacturers have taken advantage of the soothing effects of CBD, probably to make more money and bring solutions to the people. So, producers include CBD in their skincare products to enhance effectiveness.

Lotions, CBD Serums, and Moisturizers What is The Difference

You will find CBD in creams, lotions, serums, and pain creams. Varying ratios of water and oil give these substances unique textures, which can affect the product's intended use. In other words, the choice between a lotion, moisturizer, and serum might depend on the skin concern you want to address. The same product may not be the best option for your skincare needs. Some skin products have heavier textures than others; thus, your overall skin type is another essential consideration.


Serums are thin formulations that offer actives, and a CBD-infused serum is called a CBD serum. Normally, they're thin plus absorbent, leaving very small or nothing on the skin's surface. Also, serums don't have strict definitions, so a serum can be a gel, oil, or lotion. Additionally, serums have a high accumulation of vitamins, minerals, acids, and antioxidants since they’re light and easily absorbed. Their main aim is to deeply penetrate your skin to repair it.

When layering skincare products, the order is essential. Generally, skincare products are layered from the thinnest to the thickest, so the thinnest product is applied first. Serums are purposed to deliver active ingredients deep into the skin. The moisturizers form a seal to make the serums more effective. Therefore, a serum is best effective when applied beneath your moisturizer. Also, always check the ingredients since the different ingredients in a serum play different roles. For example, Shaik et al. (2013) discovered that vitamin C helps to spark collagen production plus enhances skin immunity. Note that serums aren’t a substitute for moisturizers. In the winter season, having drier skin might require you to have an additional moisturizer with extra oils for skin rehydration. Lastly, while most serums can be used both in the morning and at night, some should only be used at night, depending on their ingredients. For instance, Zasada& Budzisz (2019) explained that retinol products should only be used at night since they can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun.


According to Purnamawati et al. (2017), moisturizers are thicker formulations that seal in moisture and prevent skin dehydration. The larger molecules of moisturizers mean that a moisturizer won't permeate your skin as quickly or deeply as a serum.

Also, some moisturizers have added anti-aging properties, so they do double duty for your skin. According to Baumann& Weisberg (2008), layering skincare products is about their ingredients plus your skin type. For instance, applying a serum plus a moisturizer might be useful for dry skin. A serum offers active ingredients while a moisturizer seals in skin moisture.


 A lotion is a runnier moisturizer without the buttery feeling of some moisturizers. They are less dense with high water content. Because of bacteria invasion from water, manufacturers add preservatives like benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, or parabens. Also, fragrances are included to cover the scent of additional chemicals. Many people apply lotions on their bodies, while buttery moisturizers with fewer preservatives are for the face. A lotion goes into the skin easily due to its runny consistency.


Most people are confused about whether they need both a moisturizer and a serum. The answer is that you need both. One can't replace one with the other. If you have early signs of aging or dark spots, having a projected serum in your daily beauty routine can boost your skin’s appearance. Consumers can use greasier moisturizers on their faces for a night cream to avoid oiliness during the day. So you’ll still acquire the necessary nutrients needed by your skin.


Baumann, L., & Weisberg, E. (2008). The Baumann skin typing system. Cosmetic Dermatology, 69.

Peyravian, N., Deo, S., Daunert, S., & Jimenez, J. J. (2022). The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Acne. Journal of Inflammation Research, 15, 2795.

Purnamawati, S., Indrastuti, N., Danarti, R., & Saefudin, T. (2017). The role of moisturizers in addressing various kinds of dermatitis: a review. Clinical medicine & research, 15(3-4), 75-87.

Shaik-Dasthagirisaheb, Y. B., Varvara, G., Murmura, G., Saggini, A., Caraffa, A., Antinolfi, P., ... & Pandolfi, F. (2013). Role of vitamins D, E and C in immunity and inflammation. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents, 27(2), 291-295.

Zasada, M., & Budzisz, E. (2019). Retinoids: Active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Postȩpy Dermatologii i Alergologii, 36(4), 392.