It is the best-known superstar on the block. Lighter, smarter and faster than its counterpart, the humble face cream, the face serum is the shining luminary on the beauty horizon. Most people have spotted it in the stores, with its medicine- dropper design and gold foil packaging, but not everyone is sure what it is used for. Is it for men and women? Should it replace every other beauty product in a skin care regimen? Or is it the magical supplement that we have been waiting for which can transform the skin with its incredibly potent ingredients?
Super-fans of the serum will tell you that it delivers brilliant results but dermatologists would add that it is mandatory for good skin for both men and women, due its myriad ingredients that can penetrate the skin and leave it luminous, deeply hydrated and surprisingly youthful.
The serum is essentially a skincare product that is light in texture and created out of tiny molecules that can penetrate the skin to deliver a high concentration of active ingredients. It is packed with special agents that help retain the moisture of the skin and contain a number of ingredients to address various needs like delivering powerful doses of collagen builders for ageing skin, antioxidants to protect the face from damage caused by free radicals, and formulations to target skin problems like acne, pigmentation and visible pores. It should be used by both men and women.
When choosing a serum, it is important to check what your skin needs and what your problem areas are. Since serums offer a wide variety of benefits, you need to narrow down your target areas. Is your skin dehydrated? Do you have large, open pores on the face? Are you anxious about your acne? Or are you trying to fight the ravages of time?
Read the fine print on every jar of serum so that you know what you are planning to purchase. Most serums have a veritable cocktail of ingredients, but it is important not to use indiscriminately. If you are in your twenties, you might not need a serum that is chock full of anti-ageing formulae. Similarly, if you are older, you might need greater doses of Vitamin C or ceramides.
It is important to examine the ingredients in a serum before purchasing anything new. Most women should look for antioxidants and hydrators like pomegranate and grape seed extract in a serum, while a person with acne or dry skin can look for anti-inflammatory ingredients like zinc, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. If you are only looking to brighten your skin, you could look for ingredients like green tea extract and ferulic acid.
“The cosmeceutical industry is a billion-dollar enterprise, of which skin serums play a major part. Always check the ingredients,” says dermatologist Dr. S. Raj.
“The ingredients of a serum can improve skin texture. Vitamin C in the form of L- ascorbic acid plays an important role in antioxidant protection, especially if used in combination with Vitamin E. Niacinamide improves skin elasticity, and reduces pore size and pigmentation. Retinol is a popular component, and rightly so, as there is evidence that it modulates collagen formation along with producing hyaluronic acid, improving skin texture and hydration. No matter what serum one chooses, sunscreen with SPF 30 and moisturiser have to always be a part of their daily beauty regimen."
The best way to use a serum is to begin by heating the skin gently with a warm and moist towel, so that the pores will open and allow the serum to penetrate better. It is important to use light and gentle strokes and to blend the serum into the skin and not do a roughshod job of it. Beauty professionals say that the tapping action helps the serum. A tingling sensation on the application of the serum indicates that it is working but you need to wait for some time for the serum to soak in before you add anything else to the skin. But, do not overuse. Ideally, a serum should be used only once a day.
A serum is not a complete skincare solution to every problem. Due to the many active ingredients in them, it is possible that there might be some of them that may not suit you. You will need a day or night cream in a richer formulae in addition to a serum to keep your skin in optimum condition.
When a product is packed with goodness, it will be just as good for men as it is for women. Fortunately, the skincare market for men is booming and there are plenty for serums for men in the stores today. These highly concentrated formulae, as men’s serums usually are, can help them shrink spots, tackle wrinkles and rejuvenate dull skin. The retinol-based serums are excellent for firming the skin and keeping wrinkles at bay. It should be an intrinsic part of a man’s skincare regimen.
A good serum can be expensive but it is always a wise investment. However, do not buy any serum that you can get your hands on. Take the help of a professional or trust your own instincts as to what you might need. This is the best way to make it work. Once you make it a part of your beauty routine, get ready for many seasons of great skin ahead.