If you're not sure what a serum is, you are not alone! It can be confusing to work out exactly what they are for, and why you need them. You're already using a cleanser and a moisturiser, maybe even a toner as well, do you really need to add another element to the routine? We've done our research so that you don't have to! Read on to find out why you should use one, and how to pick the best serum for your skin.
Unlike a moisturiser, serums have a lipid-soluble base which allows the active ingredients to penetrate into the epidermis instead of lying on the surface. Serums are particularly suited to this task because they are made up of smaller molecules that can penetrate deeply into the skin and deliver a very high concentration of active ingredients. This makes them perfect for targeting specific concerns like wrinkles, brightness, acne or hydration.
It’s because of this ability to soak into your skin, paired with the fact that they contain concentrated doses of effective ingredients, that serums can often be more expensive than regular skincare, but if it’s results you’re after, this isn’t a step you’re going to want to skip. Check your ingredients and pair them with your skin type for the best results.
Acne-prone: Look for vitamin C (increases collagen production, enhances skin’s repair process, and reduces inflammation), retinol (also an antioxidant, reduces inflammation), zinc (soothes irritation, regulates oil production), and salicylic acid (unclogs pores).
Dry: Look for vitamin E (an antioxidant, protects cells from oxidative damage), niacinamide (improves skin elasticity, increases ceramide levels in skin), glycolic acid (gently exfoliates and lightens discoloration), and hyaluronic acid (retains moisture).
Feeling dull: Look for antioxidants like green tea extract, resveratrol, ferulic acid (these combat free radicals, increase effectiveness of sunscreen by day, and promote cellular repair and healing by night).
Serums slot neatly into the skincare routine, which should resemble something similar to this: Cleanser -> Toner -> Serum -> Moisturiser
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