While there are plenty of different serums available, most tend to focus on replenishing, tightening, hydrating and brightening. This makes them a hugely beneficial product in anyone’s skincare routine. So, if you are new to these products, here is everything you need to know about serums!
Read on to understand just why this is not good for your skin, and learn what steps you can take to save your skin.
Which serum is right for my skin?
The type of serum you need completely depends on your skin type. So, for example, dry skin usually thrives with hydrating serums, while oily acne-prone skin types should use acne and breakout serums. However, serums that focus on universal issues like anti-aging and brightening can typically be used on any skin type.
Serums are made up of small but active molecules, which makes them easier for the skin to absorb deeply. They frequently have a high concentration, so you will typically see results from a serum sooner than with other products. However, serums are not a replacement for moisturizers. Rather, they both offer different benefits for your skin and they both should be used after you cleanse. We recommend putting on your moisturizer after your serum for the ultimate benefits.
Furthermore, serums are mainly used to target a specific skin concern or issue. While serums are not a cure, they can help reduce or fix imperfections like brightening, acne, or pores. So, depending on your skin type and the issue you want to focus on, your serum ingredients can change drastically.
1. Anti-aging Serums
Our skin will start showing signs that we are getting older and weaker. For some people, their skin changes even as early as late twenties and thirties, while others don’t show aging until their forties or even fifties. One of the main reasons why skin ages is due to external factors like pollution and sun’s rays which can cause photoaging and pigmentation. Another factor is nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco that can damage the blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin.
Anti-aging face serum or anti-wrinkle serum works best for reducing wrinkles and dark spots that appear on your skin. These skincare products work to fill your skin with moisture-rich ingredients with the goal of giving you soft and youthful skin. So what are some of the skin care ingredients that can manage fine lines and wrinkles and reduce other signs of aging? Below is a list of the best anti-aging serum ingredients that may fight against environmental aggressors.
Adenosine: An ingredient that was discovered by accident at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and has been used widely in Korean skincare brands. Many scientific publications have found that this ingredient is great at smoothing out fines lines and wrinkles and improving elasticity while reporting zero skin irritation
Ascorbic Acid: Vitamin C penetrates through the skin the best when in the form of ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is also well recognized for boosting collagen production, which is tied to skin elasticity.
Ferulic Acid: Also known as hydroxycinnamic acid, this antioxidant ingredient fights against free radicals such as sun’s rays, pollution, and other factors that impact aging and dark spots.
Retinol: If you’re a skincare fan, chances are you’ve heard of retinol and retinoid. Retinol is a type of retinoid, which is derived from vitamin A. There are two parts to vitamin A – carotenoids and retinoids. The latter stimulates your collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin production.
Bakuchiol: A plant-based ingredient that is derived from native Indian plants called Babchi. This ingredient offers similar benefits to retinol such as fading hyperpigmentation and increasing skin elasticity.
2. Hydrating Serums
Keeping your skin moisturized is incredibly important, especially during the fall and winter. If your regular moisturizer is not enough, you should consider trying out a hydrating serum for the face. A hydrating serum serves to hydrate and moisturize your skin, which means diminishing dry, flaking, and inflamed skin. Hydrating face serum works best for dry skin, as dry and sensitive skin usually needs more hydration naturally. Not only is hydrating serums great for diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles, but it is now strongly recommended for replenishing your skin barrier to make your skin complexion healthy and dewy glow. Serums that include ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, lactic acid and squalane are some of the best humectants that are able to retain water to moisturize your skin and restore soft texture. Click on one of the ingredients below if you want to find out more about how and why you should look these ingredients to your skincare products.
Hyaluronic Acid: A sugar molecule that retains water to collagen, making your skin complexion more plump. This is a great humectant that can also strengthen the stratum corneum aka skin barrier.
Glycerin: This is an ingredient that you will see frequently on the back of the product label because of its ability to enhance hydration and balance the pH level of the skin. If you have sensitive skin, you should look for this ingredient in your moisturizers, cleansers, and serums.
Ceramides: Ceramides are fatty lipids that play a significant role in protecting the skin barrier. The skin barrier would become prone to skin disorders such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and some genetic disorders without enough ceramides in the skin.
Lactic Acid: A popular alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) known to help speed up cell turnover and reveal glowy skin cells that are underneath the skin barrier. Since it is a humectant, this ingredient will keep your skin hydrated and moisturized.
Squalane: An emollient that is a great option for sensitive and dry skin due to its ability to help calm redness and inflammation. It is also a recommended skincare ingredient for people with sunburns where the skin needs more hydration and moisture.
3. Brightening Serums
Who doesn’t want radiant skin? Well, brightening serums are made to give you glowing skin while reducing hyperpigmentation and correcting dark spots. After consistently using brightening serums, you will not even need to depend on concealer to get rid of imperfections.
Most brightening serums work on all skin types, however, you should still research its ingredients before purchasing a serum. Here are some of the ingredients you should definitely look for on the product label: niacinamide acid, tranexamic acid, arbutin, glycolic acid, and kojic acid.
Niacinamide Acid: Also known as nicotinamide, niacinamide acid is probably one of the most famous skin care ingredients in the market for improving uneven skin tone and reducing the appearance of enlarged pores.
Tranexamic Acid: A synthetic derivative of the amino acid lysine that needs to be combined with oil-soluble ingredients in order to be topical. The effectiveness of this ingredient is dramatically improved whenever it is paired with another popular ingredient like niacinamide acid or licorice root.
Arbutin: A plant extract that is recommended for use in concentrations of up to 2% and is well known for inhibiting any extra production of melanin. Highly recommended if you are looking to treat hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, or uneven skin tone.
Glycolic Acid: Although this ingredient does not lighten your skin tone, it does diminish the look of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Glycolic Acid also exfoliates the dead skin cells to smooth out the skin and clear breakouts.
Kojic Acid: Kojic Acid is a naturally derived ingredient from mushrooms and inhibits an enzyme that is necessary to produce melanin. As a result, it can fade dark scars leftover from acne and breakouts.
4. Acne and Breakout Serums
If you have oily acne-prone skin, try experimenting with serums for acne-prone skin. Serums for acne scars or acne-prone skin work to reduce pimples and whiteheads, as well as absorb unnecessary oil. With that being said, be careful with which ingredients you use. If you use the wrong serum on your skin, you might wake up with more breakouts and irritated skin. Let’s go over some of these ingredients below that may rescue your skin from pimples and improve your skincare routine in the long run.
Salicylic Acid: A beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that makes the skin to carry out its own exfoliation process. This ingredient is ideal for people with blackheads and white heads since it is able to penetrate deep into the skin and dissolve the dead skin clogged in your pores.
Glycolic Acid: This ingredient is excellent for targeting hyperpigmentation but it is also great for breaking down the outer layer of the skin by dissolving sebum. For people with sensitive skin, it is highly suggested that people start using this ingredient gradually and the % of concentration should be below 10%.
Tea Tree Oil: A topical antiseptic that is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia. This ingredient is highly recommended for oily and acne-prone skin since it includes antimicrobial compounds that protects the skin from the bacteria causing breakouts.
Azelaic Acid: A naturally occurring compound derived from rye and wheat. The recommended percentage of concentration level is below 15% for best results and it is clinically proven to diminish the appearance of dark spots as well as breakouts caused by bacteria.
Capryloyl Salicylic Acid: This ingredient is an LHA (LIpo-Hydroxy-Acid) which is a hydroxy-acid molecule that is great for pores that are blocked by sebum. This is an excellent alternative for those who can’t apply other chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid.
Dos and Don'ts of Using Serums
Do choose a specific serum for your skin’s needs
You will likely find the best results by choosing serums that fit your skin’s needs or wants. For example, if you have oily skin, try avoiding hydrating serums, as they will lead to excess oil on your face.
Do look for non-greasy serums if you have oily skin
Speaking of having oily skin, avoid any serums with a greasy finish or sticky residue if you have this skin type. As those products will likely either cause your skin to break out or have more excess oil. So, carefully read the description before purchasing.
Do talk to a professional
Talking to your local dermatologist can actually save you a lot of money and time when it comes to serums. Especially if you have skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. A dermatologist will be able to tell you which ingredients and products to avoid based on your skin type and allergies, which will help you avoid buying the wrong products.
Don't buy serums in bulk
While this might seem like the cheaper option, it isn’t always the best. While their small size might seem a bit underwhelming to beginners, most bottles of serums actually can last the average buyer months. So, don’t go too overboard and stick to at least one bottle at a time.
Don’t look for all-in-one serums
One bottle of serum is not magic. It will not fix all of your skin problems. Especially serums that consider themselves “all-in-one”. You will likely find the best results by looking for serums that target a specific skin issue with particular ingredients rather than one with a vague goal and an odd assortment of ingredients.
If you choose the right serums, you will be delightfully surprised by how many benefits these little products have. Serums are packed with good ingredients that will tackle dryness and acne effortlessly. So, from anti-aging to hydration, be prepared to start waking up to dewy, glowing skin each morning!