So, you’ve got your face wash, sunscreen, moisturiser and exfoliator sorted, and you think that’s all you need to make it work! There is one product though, which is a potent source of nourishment and nutrition for your facial skin, and often remains undiscussed the facial serum.
1. What is a serum?
2. Benefits of a face serum
3. What ingredients are typically used, and what are their benefits?
4. Do face serums differ from moisturisers and oils?
5. How should I choose a serum?
6. Are face serums heavy on the pocket?
7. FAQs on face Serums
What is a serum?
So, what exactly is a serum? It is a concentrate of active ingredients, which targets specific skincare concerns, and the ingredients are powerful, and made up of smaller molecules. The level of active ingredients is higher than in a usual face cream, since the heavier oils and ingredients have been done away with. So while the latter could have around ten per cent of active ingredients, the former has a whopping seventy per cent or more!
Benefits of a face serum
While serums are no doubt nourishing and weed out many skin problems at the root, they also come with visible benefits and perks.
1) Your skin texture will improve drastically thanks to the collagen and Vitamin C content, becoming firmer and smoother, leading to visibly younger looking skin.
2) There will be lesser spots, scars, pimples and other marks, as they start lightening with regular use of a serum, particularly one with plant concentrates being used. This is done in a holistic manner, without the use of harmful peels and chemicals.
3) You’ll see reduction in the size of open pores, which in turn give rise to lesser blackheads and whiteheads.
4) Under eye serums also have visible benefits, with the reduction of dryness, dark circles and fine lines. They are an instant pick-me-up for brighter eyes.
5) With the use of serums, there will be lesser inflammation, redness and dryness instead, the skin will look dewy fresh and moisturised.
What ingredients are typically used, and what are their benefits?
Ingredients in serums range from the ordinary to the exotic, depending on what you’re going for. Here are a few common ones to watch out for.
1) Vitamin C
It is a common ingredient for anti-ageing, so if you’re in your late 30s and 40s, use a serum with this. Not only does this potent component build collagen, it also boosts skin immunity and should be a part of your skincare regimen on a regular basis.
2) Hyaluronic acids
Are a great way to treat dehydrated skin, without the heaviness of creams and emollients. These trap in the skin’s natural water levels, and make sure that it doesn’t lose any of its natural moisture, remaining replenished. Ceramides and amino acids also achieve the same results and benefits.
are essential to protect the skin from stress and environmental damage. So beta-carotene and green tea are extracts to watch out for, while berries, pomegranate and grape seed extract are other active ingredients.
are serum ingredients ideal for skins that are prone to acne, while also addressing fine lines and wrinkles.
5) Plant-based active ingredients
like liquorice make for natural brightening ingredients and are just right to deal with those pesky sunspots and scars, as well as patchy skin.
If you have sensitive skin, use a serum with anti-inflammatory properties, preventing redness, breakouts and inflammation. The ingredients to read on the label you need to check out are zinc, arnica and aloe vera.
Do face serums differ from moisturisers and oils?
You may wonder if they are the same as moisturisers, but the answer is no. While they may share ingredients and properties, serums are more easily absorbed by the skin, and work below the epidermis, while moisturisers work on the top layer and hold in all the moisture. Also, serums are water-based, while moisturisers and facial oils are oil or cream-based.
How should I choose a serum?
You’d be surprised at the number of options available on the serum market, and all of them promise wonderful, beautiful, skin. But the best way to pick out one that is right for you is to take two factors into consideration
– first, the skin problem you are trying to address. Do you want to get rid of fine lines around the mouth? Or banish those sun spots on the nose? Find a serum that claims to do just what you need it to.
– Secondly, consider your skin type. If you have oily and acne-prone skin, select a face serum with salicylic acid and retinols, as well as rosehip seed oil. For mature and dry skins, try something with hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C. Normal skin works well with glycolic acid, which traps the moisture and keeps skin refreshed and rejuvenated.
Are face serums heavy on the pocket?
When compared to most other ingredients, yes, a facial serum is a more expensive ingredient, primarily because the ingredients are concentrated, and not diluted with fluff. However, on the upside, you’ll need fewer other products if your serum addresses your skin problems. While the more expensive serums tend to have better quality ingredients, there are cost-effective ones that can work wonders if only you do your research on your skin’s needs in advance. Also, once you buy your serum, it is a good idea to reduce it regularly and every day, since active ingredients tend to expire faster. So it’s just a waste of good money if you use it sporadically, and the serum goes past its best before date which is typically anywhere from 6 months to a year.
FAQs on face Serums
Q When do I apply a skincare serum?
A You can use skincare serums at night, and during the day. In the daytime, if you’ve got dry skin, wash your face and pat it dry, then layer your skin with a serum that quenches the skin’s thirst for nutrition, wait for a few minutes for it to settle down. Follow up with a moisturising sunscreen of your choice. If you can cleanse and rinse off this layer once in the afternoon, and reapply it, it would be ideal. For the night, try not to layer too much and instead let your skin breathe. Most night creams tend to be quite concentrated anyway, so either use them or a night serum not both. However, the key is not to overuse so don’t apply it night and day.
Q What is the best anti-ageing serum for oily skin?
A While it is true that those of us with active sebaceous glands need to worry lesser about ageing, it is a complete myth that those with oily skin don’t age! However, using products that dry out the extra oil and strip the skin of its natural emollients is not the solution. Instead, focus on a serum that has excessive hydrating properties. Serums that are purely water-based counter the oil levels in your skin, while also being absorbed quickly into restore any degenerating cells below the epidermis. Look for ingredients like Vitamin E, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, amino acids and blends.
Q Is it safe to use serum if I have skin problems?
A Since serums are concentrated, you may be prone to certain allergies or reactions. So consult your dermatologist before you try out something new, or do a patch test in the beginning before you use it full force! Also, if you are pregnant, or have skin ailments like eczema, it’s best to avoid using a serum with very potent ingredients. Lastly, use it correctly, without adding too much makeup on top, or chemicals that can react adversely to the serum.
Q How can I use a serum to treat wrinkles?
A Serums that treat wrinkles are more effective than creams and lotions, because of two reasons. One is the active ingredients, the second is that they don’t come with a heavy, weighted feel that most regular anti-ageing moisturisers come with. So look for ingredients like antioxidants, peptides, acai, alpha-lipoic acid, green tea extracts, and even distilled argan oil which prevents wrinkles from forming easily. Serum gives you a weightlessness and a non-greasiness while addressing wrinkles at the core from within, rather than just at the surface.
Q How can I make a serum at home with essential oils?
A It is usually not advisable to make your own serum, because unlike other skincare products, these are concentrated and require a high level of skill and knowledge to come up with. However, if you are really unable or unwilling to afford a store bought serum, you can always make this at home. Take two tablespoons rosehip seed oil and mix it with about 10 drops of neroli oil or carrot seed essential oil. Stir well and store in an airtight container. Apply a thin layer with your fingertips and massage into the skin. This can be used both morning and night. Rosehip seed oil helps in collagen production, as well as reducing skin inflammation and other problems. The essential oil dilutes and helps hydrate.