All sorts of things come to mind when we imagine the word “serum”; it often conjures images of mysterious liquids with potent and quasi-magical properties. In medicine, serum is actually just the liquid component of the blood, which is very rich in proteins. Skin serums are products that target specific skin types or skin problems; they are often very concentrated and nutrient-dense. They contain a plethora of smaller molecules that can penetrate deeply into the skin to deliver their active ingredients. Though the effects may be inconspicuous at first, habitual use of a face serum as part of your skincare routine can really make a difference in the long term.
Investing In a Serum
As many people familiar with skincare products are aware, skin serums tend to be expensive; small bottles line the glass shelves like miniature potions and elixirs on display. Many of these products package copious amounts of active ingredients into small bottles, which results in their being more costly than other types of skincare products
Naturally, some people view skin serum as an “investment” of sorts; it may appear to be an extravagant purchase in the beginning (and sometimes it is), but it can prove very effective in the long term. When you really stop and think about it, how valuable is a youthful appearance? The increasing market demand for a veritable fountain of youth drives the price of premium serums sky high in come cases.
Application of Skin Serum
Skin serum is generally applied after washing your face and before using a moisturizer, since moist skin can be up to 10 times as permeable as dry skin. Ideally, the use of a skin serum should follow toner application, which primes the skin for the serum and enhances the delivery of its nutrients deep within the skin.
Moisturizer is applied after the serum because it is able to “lock in” the serum’s nutrients due to it’s richer consistency.
When using a serum for the very first time, it is advisable to test a small area of skin for a reaction, which is always possible when using a new skin product.
Skin Serum Contents
The different types of nutrients in a particular serum can offer benefits specific to that type of serum. Some of the more common classes of active ingredients in face serums include:
- Antioxidants help to protect against the damaging UV rays of the sun and fight free radicals that can cause skin damage. Ingredients that function as antioxidants include grape seed extract, pomegranate extract, vitamin E, and vitamin A (retinol). Retinol and its derivatives are extremely potent and effective ingredients in skincare products; some formulations are seemingly able to “defy time” by correcting signs of visible skin damage and adding to the cult mystique of their parent products.
- Anti-inflammatories neutralize redness and prevent inflammatory cell damage. Some more common anti-inflammatories are zinc, arnica, aloe vera, licorice root, green tea, and white tea.
- Hydrators strengthen the skin’s natural barrier and help to build strong cell membranes. Examples of hydrating ingredients are panthenol, hyaluronic acid, and phospholipids.
- Toners consist mainly of peptides and are able to create the appearance of “lifting” the skin.
- Exfoliators like glycolic, malic, lactic, and tartaric acids, dissolve cellular debris deep within the skin, which encourages a more even-toned complexion.
- Brightening agents, like vitamin C and ferulic acid, can suppress melanin activity and lighten age-related discoloration to even out skin tone.
Types of Serum
The different types of skin serums essentially reflect their primary ingredient(s); these ingredients are targeted to a specific skin type in order to correct the problems associated with the said skin type.
- Anti-Aging Serum: treats and helps to prevent common signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. They promote cell turnover (cell repair and renewal), which helps to smooth out the overall texture of the skin.
- Skin Brightening Serum: helps to fade the appearance of age spots (sunspots) and diminishes hyperpigmentation on dull skin, which leaves it looking more radiant.
- Acne Control Serum: helps to gently remove dead skin cells, cleanse pores, absorb oil, and minimize redness or irritation. Salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta hydroxy acid (BHA), glycolic acid, tea tree extract, green tea extract, and cucumber extract can be found in these types of serums.
- Hydrating Serum: penetrates deeply into the skin in order to enhance the effects of moisturizer.
- Exfoliating Serum: smooths skin, diminishes fine lines/wrinkles, and corrects discolorations from natural aging and sun damage. It helps to clear layers of dead skin cells to relieve skin dullness by promoting optimal skin health.
- Reparative/Renewing Serum: helps to repair and restore damaged skin by stimulation of the skin’s natural repair functions and by protecting against free radicals caused by UV solar radiation and environmental agents. It can also promote the growth of collagen and elastin, which help the skin to appear more supple with fewer lines and wrinkles.
In a Nutshell
Facial serums can pack a tremendous amount of age-defying power into a relatively small container; they can have a drastic impact on your skin’s appearance over time.
Serum is an investment (I know, I know–it’s expensive…) for your skin, and the higher cost will hopefully be justified in time by your skin’s improved appearance.
Serum should be applied after toner to maximize the delivery of its active ingredients into your skin. Moisturizer should follow the serum application in order to seal the nutrients into your skin.
There is a serum for literally every skin type, so use their abundance to your advantage in choosing the appropriate serum for your skin’s needs.
Most serums accomplish more than one task at a time, so you need not worry if you have more than one skin problem.
Top Serums for Men
- Lab Series Future Rescue Repair Serum
- SkinCeuticles C E Ferulic
- Dr. Barbara Strum Super Anti-Aging Serum
- Jack Black Pro Series Protein Booster Skin Serum
- Anthony Anti-Wrinkle Glycolic Peptide Serum
- La Mer Genaissance de la Mer The Serum Essence
- La Prairie Skin Caviar Liquid Lift
- SkinCeuticles Phloretin CF
- Chantecaille Bio Lifting Serum+
- La Mer The Concentrate
More Premium Serums
- La Mer The Regenerating Serum
- Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift Regenerating Youth Serum
- La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular Life Lotion
- Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift Age-Correcting Serum
- La Mer The Lifting Contour Serum
Value Bargain Serums
- Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum
- Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum
- No. 7 Laboratories Line Correcting Booster Serum
- The Ordinary Buffet
- Hylamide SubQ Skin