What is a skincare serum?
A skincare serum is a thick liquid-like, (generally) oil-free product with a high concentration of active ingredients and is often moisutrizing, although is not necessarily a moisturizer. They are often used after cleansing and before applying moisturizer or night cream as a sort of supplemental product. They’re commonly used in targeted skincare for anti-aging, anti-oxidation, hydration and plumping, brightening, evening skin tone and to help with acne. Some claims say that the molecules in serum are smaller than in lotion therefore they penetrate the epidermis (top layer of skin) more readily and quickly, but I haven’t found scientific evidence to back-up that claim.
Generally speaking, cosmetics companies are free to use the term however they please (there’s no regulation) but this is the general lay person’s definition of a serum versus, say, a day cream or face balm.
When do you use a serum?
If you have a specific skin problem you would like to target or would like the benefits of a very light moisturizer coupled with, say, a brightening effect (which you would get from a Vitamin-C serum). They are not a necessary part of skincare but can be beneficial and effective if chosen with care (at 16 you probably don’t need an anti-aging serum) and used properly. If you’re seeking out high levels of specific ingredients in non-prescription skincare, you’ll be better off finding and using them in a serum than a regular face cream. For example, if you’re after pumpkin enzyme, probably get it in a serum or mask rather than buried halfway down the ingredient list in a lotion.
Where do you use a serum?
Serums can be applied to the entire face, neck and décolleté region.
Why do we use them?
Because serums offer a concentrated, quick-to-absorb dose of ingredients that are often more potent or active than those found in moisturizers or creams because there’s less of the bulking out ingredients (water, propylene glycol, oil, etc.).
How do you use a serum?
You can apply it to a clean face by massaging in the recommended amount with clean finger tips. Key tip: Once you massage it in, if you have the time, let it fully absorb (five or so minutes) before applying your next product for maximum effectiveness.