When we speak of elixirs, we only think of magic potions and the stuff of fiction and myth. But little do people know that such elixirs exist nowadays, amongst us, and some of us are even using it without quite understanding its potency.
They are none other than facial serums, which are an integral part of many different skin care routines around the globe. They are known for their efficiency and effectiveness in maintaining a youthful, healthy and supple-looking skin (1).
What puts serums under the limelight in the field of skin care routines is the fact that despite being a lightweight product, it, in fact, does most of the heavy lifting work. It is packed with a high concentrate of active ingredients (2), which are directly absorbed by the skin and penetrate deeply to work their magic.
Yet another fact that distinguishes serum from the average moisturizer isn’t any component that it has, but the particular content that it does without. Unlike moisturizers which are known to obscure and close pores with their petroleum and oil components, serum is mostly water-based (3).
Serum fares well without any oily or heavy ingredients that are usually present in other skin care products, mainly used to keep the product on the skin. Without this anchoring it down, serum is a fast-functioning product that is immediately absorbed by the skin and sets to work with its concentrated ingredients.
The beauty of serums is that it looks to prevent aging and its effects before the signs even begin to show. It often leads to making the skin firmer and smoother, and also gradually reduces the sizes of the pores on the skin.
Anyone with an experience of acne will let you know what a blessing it is to have smaller pores. Acne or pimples are often formed when dirt and bacteria are clogged with oil (from sebaceous glands (4)) in large pores, leading to infection.
One drawback that serum novices often face is the initial high price tag that accompanies it. Nonetheless, it is important to understand that the price is often an indication of the quality of the ingredients used. This means that the use of the product in the present can lead to saving that much more money on any later treatment for the skin.
The three main types of ingredients that usually make up a serum are antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and hydrators (5). From extracts from witch hazel, and different antioxidant fruits, hyaluronic acid to vitamin C, and zinc and ceramides for hydration, serums have it all.
This is just a glimpse into the extensive list of active ingredients that are packed into serums from different brands. They are almost always safe even as over-the-counter non-prescription products, so they are always a safe assurance for good skin. However, the main issue people face these days is the basic confusion between do’s and don’ts regarding the use of the product.
The first rule of thumb to remember with serum is that here, less is actually more. Being a highly concentrated form of nourishment for the skin, using a minimal amount of it to apply on the face is usually sufficient for good results. You will see that this also has a positive effect on your expenditure since the product will last longer.
Secondly, remember to assess your skin type before investing in a whole skin care routine with serum. For instance, anyone with an oily skin will find just a serum enough for the proper care and can afford to skip the moisturizer since serum provides a basic hydration for the skin.
Also, always be sure to follow the skin care routine you adopt because pre-cleansing is vital for the serum to work properly on the skin. The timing of application is also up for discussion although most dermatologists would recommend using it twice a day, in the morning and night.
Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist before deciding to do so. Another important reason to consult an expert would be if you are simultaneously under any other treatment, like retinoids (compounds having the effect of vitamin A (6)) because this can lead to skin irritation.
And lastly, it is vital to remind ourselves that patience is a virtue and it applies to use serum properly. Always allow the serum time to be absorbed properly by the skin before following it up with other products like moisturizers. With any skin routine, following an adequate pace will only be a benefit. With these basic do’s and don’ts, anyone using a serum can come across a noticeable improvement in their skin, in due time.
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