04 Dec Powerhouse Skincare: How to Choose Your Perfect Serum
Serums are undoubtedly powerhouses in any skincare routine. Loaded with active ingredients in formulas specifically designed to penetrate to the deepest layers of your skin, they allow you to target specific concerns in a single step while still taking care of your general skin health.
With the right serum in your routine, you can target pigmentation, fine lines, sagging skin, redness, congestion or even hydration without having to completely overhaul your beauty routine and swap out your cleansers and moisturiser. They’re the perfect top up to a tried and true routine.
Where do serums go in a skincare routine? I’m glad you asked! The general rule is to go from your most lightweight product to the heaviest after cleansing. So, serums generally go after toners and essences but before oils and moisturisers.
But with so many available, the serum market is understandably hard to navigate, particularly now that we’re being given the choice of choosing serums as single ingredients, rather than blends with fancy marketing names.
To help simplify it all, here are some you can try based on your skin concern…
Vitamin C is a brightening hero that when combined with ferulic acid will be your best defence against targeting pigmentation. It helps to dissolve the discoloured pigment in your skin to drastically fade it’s appearance overtime and it will simultaneously make your skin look fresh and awake. When choosing a Vitamin C product, you want to make sure the product is stable so always research your choice online first. Any products in containers that expose the product to sunlight or excessively to air are no nos.
Skinceuticals CE + Ferulic is iconic and truly fades pigment while brightening your overall complexion (it even goes to work on fine lines). It’s a splurge but well worth every penny as it’s comfortable to wear, strong enough to make a difference in your skin but gentle enough that it doesn’t cause irritation.
You can’t go past a hyaluronic acid serum when tackling dehydrated skin. With the ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water, it helps to draw moisture to the skin and keep it there. The best part is, it’s a gentle option suitable for all skin types and you don’t have to worry about it causing congestion because it’s a natural substance that already naturally occurs in your skin. But don’t be fooled and pick up just any product. Because its molecules are larger in size, not all hyaluronic acid formulas are going to be able to penetrate your skin and provide you with its promised benefits.
Dermalogica’s Skin Hydrating Booster is loaded with Hyaluronic acid amongst other hydrating ingredients to leave your skin feeling refreshed, bouncy and balanced.
In addition to using AHAs, Salicylic acid, a BHA, is great for congestion as its small molecular size penetrates deep into your pores to dissolve the ‘glue’ made up from sebum, dirt and dead skin cells that clogs your pores. You can choose to use it on targeted areas where your congestion is its worst or all over the face for a bit of extra glow come morning.
Salicylic acid is one of the main ingredients in Cosmedix’s Clarity Serum and the combination with a host of other congestion fighters makes it great for skin types that suffer from acne and blackheads. It not only works on getting rid of current congestion but preventing it by controlling sebum production. It’s a win win.
Tip: Retinol is also a great choice for congestion because of its ability to speed up the renewal of skin cells. This helps to prevent blockages in your pores.
Redness can be one of the hardest concerns to treat as there are so many different causes. Understanding the root cause of your redness is the ideal place to start so that you can be treating your symptoms and the cause simultaneously. Whether it’s dehydration, sensitivities, reaction to a product, genetics or a more serious conditions such as rosacea, redness needs to be treated both on the top most layers and the deeper layers of your skin.
For this reason, a serum like La Roche-Posay’s Rosaliac AR Intense is a good option. It instantly goes to work on calming symptoms of redness on the skin’s surface and minimizes the size of blood vessels beneath the skin. It also works to balance hydration levels, a major cause of redness.
Retinol is a hero ingredient that can be used in so many ways to improve the appearance of your skin and prevent future damage. While it can help with plenty of concerns, it most commonly used for treating fine lines and signs of ageing and is one of the best ingredients to use if you’re worried your skin is looking older than it should. Skin that’s brand new to retinol may find it causes sensitivity and redness so it’s a good idea to start with a gentle formula and work your way up to higher doses. You’ll generally find over the counter varieties range from 0.5% to 2% so you have plenty of choice.
PCA Intensive Age Refining Treatment contains 0.5% pure retinol and works fast to target signs of ageing. Though it’s a hard-hitting serum, it’s quite gentle on the skin and a great choice for both retinol beginners and seasoned pros.
It can’t be stressed enough that you need to be using sun protection when using retinol. Failing to do so will only worsen your skin causing more fine lines, pigmentation, loss of volume and more.