It seems like there are thousands of serums, and it’s hard to decide which one is best. The list goes on and on: anti-aging serums, dark spot correcting, radiance boosting serums, vitamin c serums, hydrating serums, clarifying serums -- it goes on forever! Fear not, we’ve got your back. This is your guide to serums: how they can be effective and which ones to look out for to meet your skin goals.
Why should we use them?
Use serums to target a specific need. Say you really want to focus on calming your skin or you got a sunburn and want to target those sun spots. That’s how you should choose a serum: based on a specific need. Many serums can be used night and day to treat your skin, but if it has retinoids or strong acids, you may be more sensitive to the sun. Stick to just using those at night (and be sure to double up on sunscreen in the am)!
How do they work?
Serums work best applied to clean skin, before moisturizing and after toning. You will want a clean slate so your treatment can be as effective as possible. And moisturizing after serves as a protective barrier, to lock in all the goodness from the serum. Serums are usually a thin/watery/oily consistency and contain powerful ingredients to treat your skin.
Here is a dermatologist’s guide to serums.
Are they effective?
YES -- well, depends on the one you use! Not all serums do what they say they will. We recommend you choose your perfect serum by focusing on the effects you want.
If you’re looking for serums to target fine lines and wrinkles, you’ll want to look for ingredients with vitamin A (retinol). Retinol increase cell turnover, making fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable. Be sure to only use retinols in the evening, and ALWAYS use SPF, but especially when you use retinols, as it makes your skin more sensitive to sunburns.
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For skin brightening, vitamin C serums will be your best friend. Ascorbic acid is a popular source of vitamin C in skincare. It can help you rebuild collagen, fight free-radicals -- basically it’s a badass antioxidant that can make you ~glow~ like no other.
If you’re acne prone/oily skin, look for something with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid dissolves sebum, debris and excess oil in your pores, helping with blackheads, whiteheads and acne.
If your skin is dry and sensitive, opt for something with hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is the queen of moisturizing! That’s because it can hold 1,000 times its weight in water. Basically, it helps you absorb whatever you put on top (a moisturizer) WAY better. Other calming ingredients to look out for: calendula, chamomile and green tea.
Already using a serum? Find out if it’s actually working for you.
Photo via Get the Gloss