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What Are the Best Ingredients for a Facial Serum?

Serums: what are they, and how can they benefit your skin?

If you want to level up your skincare game, you need to know about serums. These handy topicals can be extremely beneficial when you want to supply your skin with specific ingredients in high amounts.

A serum is a lightweight, liquid-based skincare treatment. The main ingredients in a serum are typically antioxidants or acids. These categories of ingredients in a skincare treatment are the components included in the treatment that can do the most to support your skin’s overall health and appearance. Other ingredients can also be helpful for your skin in various ways, but these main ingredients are the most important components of a treatment.

The main ingredients in a serum are included in higher amounts than would be found in other heavier skincare products like gels and creams. The lightweight, liquid-based format makes it easy for serums to support your skin’s health by providing essential nutrients in the form of antioxidants and acids. When you want to supply a specific beneficial ingredient to your skin in as high of a concentration as possible, a serum is the way to go.

So, what ingredients should you look for in a facial serum? Keep reading to find out!

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by your skin, but applying it topically can have some major benefits for your skin. Hyaluronic acid is a supporter of your skin’s ability to retain water, which can lead to a brighter, more youthful and fresh complexion. 

If you are struggling with dry skin or age-related issues like wrinkles and lines, using a hyaluronic acid serum can help.

Your skin produces hyaluronic acid as a means of maintaining healthy levels of water retention. Your skin needs to retain water to stay moisturized, as well as to maintain its shape and texture. When your skin is not properly hydrated, it can take on a dull, lifeless appearance, which can make signs of aging appear more prominently.

Hyaluronic acid serum can be a huge help for your skin’s overall appearance by providing much-needed moisture. In addition, by helping to reduce dryness and irritation caused by a lack of water retention in your skin, hyaluronic acid can play a key role in your skin’s overall health. 

If you want to improve your skin’s texture and give it a brighter, fuller look, hyaluronic acid’s natural properties can make it a valuable asset in your skincare routine.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another ingredient to look for in serums with major benefits for your skin. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can aid in preventing the age-inducing effects of free radical activity from negatively affecting your skin. If you have not already made antioxidants a part of your skincare routine, now is the time to start!

One of the major causes of numerous skin issues is the negative impact of oxidative stress on your skin cells. As you age, your body’s production of antioxidants tends to slow down, making it more difficult for your skin cells to keep producing the proteins that keep your skin healthy at a normal rate. 

When your body’s production of antioxidants slows, it can be more difficult for your cells to withstand the damaging effects of free radical activity in your body. Free radicals are potentially harmful molecules that can steal electrons from your skin cells, weakening them and hindering their ability to produce the proteins that keep them healthy and strong.

When there is too much free radical activity in your body and not enough antioxidants to level it out, your body can enter a state of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress often speeds up the signs of the aging process. For your skin, this often means an increase in the appearance of wrinkles, lines, dark spots and sagging.

Supplying your skin with antioxidants topically can help to support your skin and build up its defenses against the impact of oxidative stress, especially as you get older and start noticing wrinkles appearing. 

Vitamin C is one antioxidant that can be especially beneficial for your skin, helping to even out your complexion and supporting firmer, more youthful-looking skin.

Vitamin C Serum can also be used for exfoliation, the process reducing the amount of dead skin on your face and refreshing your appearance. 

Exfoliation can play a key role in your skin’s health, as well as in the reduction of the appearance of wrinkles, blemishes and other issues. However, when you use vitamin C serum, you may still want to include an exfoliator in your beauty routine as well. 

Using vitamin C serum in tandem with an exfoliator, such as a glycolic acid serum, can enhance your skincare routine.

Retinol (Vitamin A)

Retinol is another powerful antioxidant that can be supplied to your skin in the form of a serum. Retinol is a form of vitamin A, a nutrient that your skin needs to keep producing the proteins that give it its structure and strength. 

As an antioxidant, retinol can help promote a more youthful, complexion. The antioxidant can also be a big help in addressing age-related skin problems like wrinkles and lines, reducing their appearance and brightening your complexion as a whole

Retinol is also often used to reduce the appearance of  acne, as well as scars left behind by past breakouts. Retinol serum can be helpful in reducing the appearance of acne and scarring left behind by breakouts. This is because of retinol’s ability to deep clean clogged pores, getting to the root cause of breakouts and addressing the vicious cycle that keeps those pesky pimples coming back. 

However, if you are dealing with deep scars left behind by cystic acne, you may want to get a prescription for a retinoid. Retinoids have a much higher concentration of vitamin A than retinols, and are largely only available with a prescription. Retinols, on the other hand, can be purchased over-the-counter. 

Green Tea

More than just a tasty drink, green tea is also a beauty-promoting secret weapon that is right at home in a serum. 

Rich in antioxidants, green tea can add to the power of a serum that contains other helpful antioxidants or acids as its main ingredients. 

In addition to using green tea topically as an ingredient in a serum, you can increase your antioxidant intake by drinking it! Enjoying a few cups of green tea each week is a great way to include antioxidants in your diet.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid acts as an exfoliating agent, something you definitely want to include in your weekly beauty regimen to refresh your appearance. The acid helps your skin by dealing with dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface of your skin, often the culprits responsible for the clogging of your pores. 

Using glycolic acid in the form of a serum can help to improve your complexion by refreshing your appearance through exfoliation. 

If you have acne-prone skin or are dealing with a buildup of dead skin cells, glycolic acid can be an extremely helpful ingredient to include in your skincare regimen. 

How to Use a Facial Serum

When you apply a facial serum, it is crucial to put it on at the right time during your beauty routine. Because serums are some of the most lightweight products you will put on your skin, their absorption can be hindered by heavier topicals like creams, gels and sunscreen. 

To make sure that a serum is absorbed by your skin as effectively as possible, use it before applying any heavier products. 

An ideal order to stick to for your skincare routine starts with using cleanser, exfoliator and any other products that you rinse off after use. Next, apply any serums, followed by heavier products like moisturizer or eye gel. Finally finish up your routine with a generous amount of sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays.

Which serum is right for you?

The best serum for you to use depends on your specific concerns regarding your skin. If you are struggling to ward off breakouts and buildup of dead skin, a serum containing glycolic acid or retinol can be a big help. If your skin mainly needs moisture, hyaluronic acid serum is the way to go. For age-related skin issues like wrinkles, lines and sagging, retinol, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and glycolic acid can all provide beauty-boosting benefits. 

In addition, you don’t have to choose just one serum to use on your skin at a time! Some ingredients do not pair as well with each other as others, but many of the active ingredients in serums can be used in perfect harmony with each other. If you are unsure about which serum is best for dealing with your specific skin concerns, consulting your dermatologist is the way to go.

Sources:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190962299800565

https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/0128071-200809060-00003

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2006.10719518