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Serum bottle on some cut orange slices.

Skincare Serums: Do You Need Them?

Confession: Before I wrote this article, I had no clue what skin serum was (yes, I need to get onto a regular skincare routine, which as of right now consists of wiping my makeup off at night).

So, welcome! Let’s dive headfirst into this crazy ride where we discover what skin serums are and whether not we need them in our regular skincare and beauty routine.

What Are Serums?

Surprisingly, a lot of people use skin serums. I mean, there’s a whole market for it so this makes sense, right? Plus, most of us are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve our current skincare routine (I’m raising my hand right now shamelessly). This is where skin serums come in.

A skin serum is applied after you’ve gotten out of the shower and when your skin is still slightly damp. You apply it before your moisturizer. And yes, it’s similar to a moisturizer. Yet, skin serums penetrate your skin deeper. They also deliver active ingredients that your moisturizer doesn’t, while leaving more heavy and unnecessary ingredients at the door.

But here’s the thing…Not all skin serums are created equal. And price doesn’t necessarily mean the skin serum is better than other brands.

So let’s get to the bottom of it. What should you watch out for in skin serums?

Ingredients Checklist

Whenever you apply something to your skin, you should know where the ingredients come from. It’s like eating healthy. You should know what you’re eating. And no, I’m not kidding. Your body absorbs the stuff you put on your skin, so you want to make sure you aren’t putting anything “bad” on it. Basically, if the serum is full of heavy and chemical ingredients, maybe choose a different brand or type.

Get this - The following outlines three key ingredients you should make sure are in your skin serum:

1. Antioxidants - These may read as grape seed, vitamin C, or pomegranate extract in the ingredient list. These guys help combat sun damage, as well as prevent damage causing age-related skin changes.

2. Anti-inflammatories - The last thing you want is puffy and red skin. Check the ingredients for aloe vera, goldenseal, zinc, or arnica. These ingredients can help rid your skin of redness and inflammation.

3. Hydrators - These ones help moisturize and hydrate your skin, preventing dryness or scaliness. In turn, these can prevent wrinkles from forming. Look for amino acids, essential fatty acids, or ceramides on the ingredient list of your serum.

Alright, so let’s move on. We’ve got a lot to cover. What about different types of serums? Let’s take a look.

Popular Serum Treatments

With so many different types, it can get confusing fast. Trust me - I looked through countless articles and felt like my eyes were falling out of the back of my head. In other words, it was a lot of information. So, I summarized it all below (you’re welcome).

1. Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Got dry skin? This one’s for you. Hyaluronic acid serums retain moisture - without making your skin all oily. If you have combination skin that tends to get dry in the winter, this one isn’t a bad serum to try.

2. Vitamin C Serum

Want to keep your skin looking young and vibrant? Go for the serum with a hint of vitamin C. Vitamin C can actually protect your skin from wrinkling, especially wrinkles caused by sun exposure and damage.

Basically, vitamin C helps stimulate collagen production. Collagen is the reason your skin has its structure and elastic properties. It’s your anti-aging go-to! Some of the best vitamin C serum varieties include the BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner and Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum.

How can you find out if they are right for you? Try ‘em out! And make sure to always dap a small amount on your wrist to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction (the last place you want that to happen is all over your face - no joke).

3. Niacinamide Serums

If you’ve got trouble with breakouts, this serum type might be more up your ally. Niacinamide serums help manage acne, lighten up unwanted dark spots, reduce aging, and might even help tighten up your pores. It has everything in one serum.

Plus, niacinamide is a powerful antioxidant that can protect your skin from damage. It really has everything. So, if you’re slightly unsure where to start, I’d start here (And I just might too).

When Should You Apply Serum?

While applying it right out of the shower is smart, it’s not always necessary. It may also depend on the serum when and how many times a day you apply it. Most serums can be applied twice a day - once in the morning and once at night.

However, you’ll want to avoid skin serums if you use topical retinoids, or you have eczema, rosacea, or another chronic skin condition.

And you’ll want to stay far away from overusing them - this can cause skin damage and problems you just don’t want.

What About Eyelash Serum?

Eyelash serum is similar to skin serum, except it works on your - you guessed it - eyelashes. Ideally, an eyelash serum helps stimulate the growth and fullness of your eyelashes. Yet, there seems to be variable evidence as to whether or not these types of serums work.

Again, I don’t have first-hand experience so my suggestion is to try it out. If it works, great! If not, you may have wasted a tiny bit of money - no biggie. You’ve still got everything else going for you besides your eyelash serum. There’s no shame in throwing it away or giving it away.

Add Skin Serums to Your Routine!

Why not? I’m going to look into them! I find I suffer from chronic dry skin, but when I add heavy moisturizer, it seems to cause major breakouts. I’m leaning toward skin serums since they sound lighter and seem to promote skin health more than a typical moisturizer.

Update coming soon? We’ll see.

Want to learn more about the latest wellness trends? Check out this article on 20 wellness trends in 2020.

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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