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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 as the 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 serum 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.  

When trying new serums, consistency is key. While you may see an immediate change in hydration levels of the skin, treating issues like hyperpigmentation and acne may take longer to see results. A good rule of thumb is to use a serum consistently for 6 weeks to see results. 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.

To Hydrate
if you are struggling with dehydrated skin, look for serums that contain vitamin E, niacinamide or hyaluronic acid. 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. Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, drawing hydration to the skin. 
To Brighten
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 over production of melanin, which is responsible for pigmentation. Increased melanin production can lead to sun spots.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant that keeps free radicals at bay, and licorice root contains Licochalcone A, another powerful antioxidant active.

 

For Acne
For those with acneic skin, serums with concentrations of retinols (vitamin A derivatives) , tea tree oil and salicylic acid are what you want to look for. Vitamin A is a key ingredient because it helps to regulate sebum production while also accelerating cellular turnover. Salicylic acid works to unclog pores, and tea tree oil has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.