What is a Face Serum and Do I Really Need One?

 A serum is a skin care product that has a gel or light lotion consistency and has a higher concentration of performance ingredients meant for use under a moisturizer or treatment mask. While using a cleanser, toner and moisturizer is the foundation for maintaining the health of the skin, serums should be used when you feel like your skin is in a rut and want to see better results. 

Serums can give your skincare routine an extra boost, depending on your skin concern. This could be mean extra hydration, a soothing cream to sensitive skin, an antioxidant boost for a facial oil or something to reduce skin pigmentation. Serum is particularly suited to this task because it is made up of smaller molecules that can penetrate deeply into the skin and deliver a very high concentration of active ingredients.

Is Expensive Always Better?

The most expensive serums aren't always the best, but they do tend to contain higher quality, more concentrated ingredients.

There are cost-effective serums on the market that provide all of the beneficial properties found in expensive formulas.You have to look at the ingredients to make sure that not only do they address your skin concerns, but also that the product includes ingredients that make skin healthy.

What Ingredients Am I Looking For?

Vitamin C

When added to your daily routine, vitamin C provides a range of benefits, from evening out your skin tone, shielding skin from the visible impacts of pollution, significantly improving hydration, and keeping your skin looking younger, longer. Often, vitamin C products need to be introduced to your skincare regime gradually, to ensure your skin doesn’t react. Once you’re sure you skin can handle a smattering of vitamin C, apply up to twice daily—morning and night. Ascorbic acid—also known as L-ascorbic acid—has the most skin-related research of any form of vitamin C.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A thickens and stimulates the dermis – where your collagen, elastin and blood vessels are – so it reduces wrinkles and increases blood flow to the surface of the skin. Vitamin A actually increases the deposition of collagen; therefore it slows the normal aging breakdown of your collagen and elastin. The term Retinoid refers to any vitamin A based molecule. It's a category, similar to saying antibiotic. They may be related, but some are stronger and more effective than others. Cosmeceutical retinoids include (in descending level of effectiveness) Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate and HPR (Hydroxypinnacolone Retinoate). There are some skin concerns associated with the ingredient that you should be aware of. Based on the chemistry of the ingredients, which cause a drying effect of the oil glands, even over the counter retinols can lead to redness and flaking. We recommend you speak with your skin consultant before you purchase this type of product. 

Matrixyl 3000

Matrixyl 3000 is an anti wrinkle innovation developed by cosmetic chemical manufacturer Sederma. It is found in hundreds of skin care products focused on anti ageing. Matrixyl combines two peptides, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 and palmitoyl oligopeptide, resulting in an entirely new super peptides. Numerous skin care brands incorporate into their formulas and usually combine the ingredient with other anti wrinkle ingredients. Though obviously not as effective as getting Botox injections, Matrixyl 3000 has proven to be the anti-aging ingredient to watch for its effects on wrinkles, collagen boosting properties, and ability to promote skin cell regeneration.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is an active skin care ingredient as it retains moisture and creates a cushion to help plump the appearance of aging skin. As it absorbs without leaving any residue, it’s a popular ingredient in many products, like a hyaluronic acid mask or hyaluronic acid eye cream, and boasts incredible benefits. Skincare products on the market, such as hyaluronic acid serums not only plump and moisturize the skin, they also help to heal and sooth inflammation too. Furthermore, a pure hyaluronic acid serum can prevent fine lines and wrinkles, providing effective results on prematurely aged or mature skin types.

Vitamin B3

Niacinamide or B3 serums have been quite popular skin care products due to the very positive effects vitamin B3 has in dealing with a number of skin issues such as aging, acne breakouts as well as hyper pigmentation, dark spots, age spots and skin dryness. Over time and with a daily application of a Niacinamide formulation, improvements in skin structure will reduce redness, blotchiness and sensitivity brought about by exposure to the environment due to a poorly functioning barrier.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, add radiance, smooth lines, help fade blotches, and allow other anti-aging ingredients to penetrate faster and work more effectively.When applied to the skin, AHAs work by removing the top layers of dead skin cells. They can also increase the thickness of deeper layers of skin, promoting firmness. You should avoid using AHA skin care products when your skin is inflamed, red and extremely sensitive. AHA skin care products are most commonly used in the evenings after having cleansed the skin and before you apply your moisturiser. It is, however, best to follow your specific AHA product’s directions for use for the most beneficial results. 

When and How Do I Use a Serum?

A serum can be applied in the morning, at night or both, but we advise against applying a serum in the evening time if you are already applying a topical retinoid. The combination of the two products may lead to irritation.

For those with drier skin, serum can be layered under the morning and/or night moisturiser. Make sure you read the label.

Kristina TemelkovskaComment