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Skincare Routine Step 5: Serum – What Is It, Why Should You Use It & Best Serum For Your Skin Type

Serums intrigue us and most of you would agree that we either swear by serums or have no idea whatsoever what a serum is. And now that it has become a hot topic, you might have added a serum to your skincare collection already. But, is that the best serum for your skin and do you use it as it is supposed to be used? Serums hydrate the skin, so why do we need moisturisers as well? What are the benefits that serums offer to the skin?

Serums have become a sensation and a sought-after product of the new skincare regimen. To make this fascinating product simpler for you, we combined our knowledge with some research to give an answer to all the questions that you may have regarding serum.

What Is Serum?

Serum is a liquid that is infused with active ingredients like antioxidants and peptides that penetrate into the skin to deliver these powerful ingredients to the skin and in turn nourish and rejuvenate the skin. Serums are light and one or two pumps of the product are enough to cover your whole face. Being light in texture makes it so efficient to seep into the skin at a deeper level as compared to thick skincare products such as a moisturiser.

This quality of serums also makes them an ideal product to target specific skin issues such as acne, dry skin, skin ageing etc. And, therefore, you find serums in the markets segregated according to various skin issues. Serums initially used to be water-based, but nowadays you will also find many oil-based serums in the market.

And this doesn't mean that serums are to be used only on dry skin and not on oily skin. Serums are equally beneficial for oily skin as well. You just need to find the right one for you.

Benefits Of Serum [1]

Serums not only contain active ingredients that are necessary for your skin, but also enhance the efficiency of the skincare products that follow after serum application. Apart from that, here are some of the major benefits of serum.

  • It fights signs of skin ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It cleanses the skin pores.
  • It adds radiance and glow to your skin.
  • It helps to keep the skin hydrated.
  • It protects the skin fro sun damage.
  • It rejuvenates the skin.

How To Use A Serum

Serum is the fifth step in your skincare routine if you are exfoliating and fourth step if you skip exfoliating the face. While layering on the skincare products, what you should keep in mind is that we go from the lightest to the thickest. Here is how you use a serum.

  • Cleanse and tone your skin.
  • Apply essence to your skin.
  • Take a small amount of serum on your palms and dot it all over your face.
  • Rub the serum into your skin in circular motions using your fingertips.
  • Follow it up with the rest of your skincare products.

How Often Should You Use A Serum

Serums can be used twice a day, once in your morning skincare routine and second in your nighttime routine. However, if you don't have a nighttime routine (which you should have), using it once a day in the morning will also work.

Difference Between Serum And Essence

Essence is less concentrated and more light in texture as compared to serum. While essence essentially hydrates your skin apart from dealing from skin issues, serums mainly target the skin issues such as fine lines and wrinkles to give you rejuvenated and refreshed skin. However, with all the advancements in the skincare products, we would say that the lines between essence and serum are slowly fading.

Skincare Routine Step 4: Essence - What Is It And How To Use It

Which Serum Should You Use

There are various kinds of serums available in the market catering to different skin conditions. Here is how you can choose a serum for yourself.

1. For acne-prone and/or oily skin

For oily skin, choose a serum that is non-comedogenic and helps to balance out the excess oil production in the skin. The following ingredients can help.

  • Vitamin C[2] improves collagen production and soothe the skin
  • Retinol[3] improves collagen production, tones the skin and tightens skin pores
  • Salicylic acid[4] helps to cleanse skin pores and fight acne
  • Zinc[5] balances the sebum production
  • Aloe vera[6] has anti-acne properties and balances the sebum production

2. For dry skin

For dry skin, you need a serum that hydrates your skin and helps retain the moisture in your skin. The following ingredients can help.

  • Cucumber extract[7] adds hydration to the skin
  • Glycerin[8] improves skin elasticity and keeps the skin moisturised and supple
  • Butylene glycol helps to retain moisture in the skin
  • Hyaluronic acid[9] helps to retain moisture in the skin and has anti-ageing properties
  • Aloe vera extract keeps the skin moisturised, supple and healthy
  • Vitamin E[10] protects the skin from damage and nourishes the skin
  • Niacinamide tones your skin and improves skin elasticity

3. For dull skin

For dull skin, you need a serum that can rejuvenate and refresh your skin. The following ingredients can help.

  • Antioxidants like vitamin C and E, green tea etc.[11] protect skin from damage free radical and sun damage, rejuvenate and refresh it
  • Hyaluronic acid keeps the skin hydrated, soft and supple
  • Cucumber has vitamins and minerals that fight signs of skin ageing
  • Willow bark exfoliates the dead skin cells and impurities to give you rejuvenated skin

4. For premature skin ageing

To prevent skin ageing, look for a serum that boosts collagen production in the skin and improves skin health to give you revitalised skin. The following ingredients can help.

  • Ascorbic acid[12] improves collagen production in the skin to fight fine lines and wrinkles
  • Lactic acid[13] improves skin texture to reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Niacinamide[14] has anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Hyaluronic acid helps to reduce signs of skin ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles

And that is all that you needed to know about facial serums. We hope you find this useful. Stay tuned for more information regarding your skincare and to know about the next step in the skincare routine.

View Article References
  1. [1] Garre, A., Narda, M., Valderas-Martinez, P., Piquero, J., & Granger, C. (2018). Antiaging effects of a novel facial serum containing L-ascorbic acid, proteoglycans, and proteoglycan-stimulating tripeptide: ex vivo skin explant studies and in vivo clinical studies in women.Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology,11, 253.
  2. [2] Pullar, J., Carr, A., & Vissers, M. (2017). The roles of vitamin C in skin health.Nutrients,9(8), 866.
  3. [3] Kafi, R., Kwak, H. S. R., Schumacher, W. E., Cho, S., Hanft, V. N., Hamilton, T. A., ... & Voorhees, J. J. (2007). Improvement of naturally aged skin with vitamin a (retinol).Archives of dermatology,143(5), 606-612.
  4. [4] Arif T. (2015). Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: a comprehensive review.Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology,8, 455–461. doi:10.2147/CCID.S84765
  5. [5] Gupta, M., Mahajan, V. K., Mehta, K. S., & Chauhan, P. S. (2014). Zinc therapy in dermatology: a review.Dermatology research and practice,2014, 709152. doi:10.1155/2014/709152
  6. [6] Surjushe, A., Vasani, R., & Saple, D. G. (2008). Aloe vera: a short review.Indian journal of dermatology,53(4), 163–166. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.44785
  7. [7] Mukherjee, P. K., Nema, N. K., Maity, N., & Sarkar, B. K. (2013). Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber.Fitoterapia,84, 227-236.
  8. [8] Milani, M., & Sparavigna, A. (2017). The 24-hour skin hydration and barrier function effects of a hyaluronic 1%, glycerin 5%, andCentella asiaticastem cells extract moisturizing fluid: an intra-subject, randomized, assessor-blinded study.Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology,10, 311–315. doi:10.2147/CCID.S144180
  9. [9] Papakonstantinou, E., Roth, M., & Karakiulakis, G. (2012). Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging.Dermato-endocrinology,4(3), 253-258.
  10. [10] Keen, M. A., & Hassan, I. (2016). Vitamin E in dermatology.Indian dermatology online journal,7(4), 311.
  11. [11] Nguyen, G., & Torres, A. (2012). Systemic antioxidants and skin health.Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD,11(9), e1-4.
  12. [12] Garre, A., Narda, M., Valderas-Martinez, P., Piquero, J., & Granger, C. (2018). Antiaging effects of a novel facial serum containing L-ascorbic acid, proteoglycans, and proteoglycan-stimulating tripeptide: ex vivo skin explant studies and in vivo clinical studies in women.Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology,11, 253.
  13. [13] Smith, W. P. (1996). Epidermal and dermal effects of topical lactic acid.Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology,35(3), 388-391.
  14. [14] Gehring, W. (2004). Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin.Journal of cosmetic dermatology,3(2), 88-93.
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