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Hello Joanna,

I am curious about face serums. Should I be using one in my daily skincare routine? What exactly are they, and how do I know which one is right for my skin?

Skincare serums were created as a way to deliver highly concentrated ingredients directly into the skin to heal, rejuvenate and improve skin’s health overall. Intended to be used between cleansing and moisturizing, serums are made up of small molecules that are able to penetrate deeply into the skin. They can be used daily and should be applied after cleansing and toning when the skin is micro exfoliated and skin’s pH is balanced, allowing the ingredients to be absorbed in the most efficient manner. Moisturizer should be applied as a final step after serum application.

Like all products, finding the right ones for your skin is a matter of understanding what your skin’s condition is at any given time. This changes depending on many factors including, diet, lifestyle, climate, etc. I always have a few serums on rotation for this reason. I also mix serums sometimes depending on what my skin needs.  

Serums for Dehydrated Skin

If you are struggling with dehydrated skin, look for serums that contain vitamin E and niacinamide. Niacinamide, a derivative of vitamin B, has the ability to maintain moisture, strengthen the skin barrier and aid in the synthesis of healthy fat. Fatty molecules help hold the skin together and retain moisture from deep within the tissue. Vitamin E helps to absorb UVB light making it harder for the damaging rays of the sun to penetrate the skin.



Brightening Serums

To brighten a dull complexion look for serums that include vitamin C and licorice root. These are both tyrosinase inhibitors, meaning they help block the overproduction of melanin, which is what is responsible for pigmentation. Increased melanin production can lead to sunspots. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that keeps free radicals at bay, and licorice root contains Licochalcone A, another powerful antioxidant active.

Serums for Acne

For those with acneic skin, serums with concentrations of retinol (vitamin A derivatives), sulfur and salicylic acids are what you want to look for. Vitamin A is a key ingredient because it helps to regulate sebum production while also soothing the skin and reducing inflammation. Salicylic acid works in combination with vitamin A to unclog pores, and sulfur has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

When testing serums, less is always more. Due to the heavy concentration of ingredients, the skin may be sensitive and have an adverse reaction. Spot test the serum before applying it to the whole face. And I always recommend seeking the advice of a professional to determine which serums are best for your unique skin condition before adding them to your regimen.