How many skin care products do you use in your usual, every day skincare regime? Are you a simple cleanse and moisturise sort of person?
Do you add in a few extras such as an exfoliant and the odd face mask when time allows? Or a serum once in a while? It can be mind boggling, right? What does an exfoliant do? What is a face serum??
Or perhaps you have a multiple step routine that nothing can interrupt? Does an indulgent bath complete with a deeply nourishing face mask, eye mask and hair mask feature heavily in your week?
Perhaps you’re somewhere in between simple skincare and fully invested skincare regime? Either way, what's your view on face serums? Perhaps you’re not sure what they’re for, so you avoid them. Or maybe you’re 100% faithful to a face serum twice a day but you’re not really sure why.
So many of you ask us, what is a face serum? What is a face serum supposed to do and do we really need one?
So we’re here to help clear up the face serum conundrum. How many skin care products do we really need and is a face serum really worth it?
Full disclosure - as part of our range of alkalising, nourishing, skin supporting skin care, we have our very own face serum, so we completely believe in them. Here’s why…
What is Serum Used for?
We like to think of a face serum as a supercharger for your skin. Just like using a highlighter on your cheekbones after foundation supercharges your look and makes your cheekbones pop. Or like adding a few drops of essential oil to your body moisturiser supercharges your experience and adds a level of indulgence.
What is serum used for? Adding a face serum to your routine supercharges and adds a level of extra support.
Face serums usually contain a higher concentration of active ingredients than a facial moisturiser does. Whilst the job of a moisturiser is to moisturise the skin by adding moisturising agents, a face serum goes the extra mile.
They’re packed with skin boosting ingredients such as antioxidants, peptides, anti ageing ingredients, vitamins, exfoliants and extra hydrating ingredients. Common skin serum ingredients include hyaluronic acid to hydrate, salicylic acid to exfoliate and antioxidants to support youthful looking skin.
But come on, what is serum used for, really? Why not just use a moisturiser with all these ingredients in?
Good question, and one that needs to be answered with a little bit of science (as is usual for us here at Sönd).
Moisturisers tend to be heavier on the skin and therefore, their chemistry is such that their molecules are quite large. This means that they do a great job of sitting on the skin, locking in moisture and helping to hydrate the upper layers of skin.
Serums on the other hand tend to have a much lower molecular weight.
This means that their molecules are smaller and lighter, and penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin. All their skin supporting, concentrated active ingredients therefore reach further down into the skin’s layers where they can have an even more beneficial effect on the skin.
So whilst a face serum is beneficial to the skin, it isn’t essential. But we think it's completely worth using one to ensure that both the deeper skin layers and the upper ones are getting all they need.
Do Serums Work? Are They All the Same?
When looking for a serum, it’s important to keep in mind that not all serums are created equal. Just like all skincare products and brands, serums work in different ways for different skin needs.
The formulation and active ingredients will influence how well a serum works and they can vary in price from a few pounds to hundreds of pounds. Price isn’t always an indicator of how well a serum works either. What matters is what your skin needs.
If your skin is dry, it’s worth looking for a hydrating serum. If it’s oily or acne prone, it’s best to look for one with an ingredient such as salicylic acid that helps to clear the pores.
How to Use a Face Serum
As with most skincare products, each serum for skin will have its own method of application and you should always follow the instructions given with each product carefully.
Always pay specific attention to cautions regarding its use on broken, inflamed or weeping skin, its use on certain skin types (for example, sensitive skin) and its use around the eye area.
However, as a general rule, most serums for skin types are designed for use after cleansing and before adding your moisturiser. Apply a thin layer (about a pea sized amount) to the entire face (avoiding the eye area) and decolletage when your skin is dry after cleansing. Then allow your face serum to sink in before applying your usual moisturiser.
Some highly targeted serums for skin may take a little bit of time before your skin gets used to them. Start off with a small amount and if you’re concerned or feel any mild tingling or burning, use it every few days or every other day whilst your skin adapts to it.
If after a few weeks your skin seems to be adapting well, carry on and use daily as instructed. If you ever use a face serum (or any other skincare product for that matter) and you experience moderate to extreme tingling, burning, peeling or swelling, discontinue use immediately.
Some products such as salicylic acid will cause a mild tingling sensation and this is perfectly normal and should stop once your skin is used to it.
You may need to shop around for the right face serum for your skin, particularly if your skin is very sensitive or likes to play up.
Do Face Serums Work?
Face serums really do work to target the deeper layers of skin, providing hydration and nourishment to the new skin cells being created that will push their way up, removing older skin cells and replacing them.
This process of cell renewal can therefore significantly benefit from a little extra help from a face serum.
It’s a good idea to test a small area of skin first, such as your jawline, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Be mindful too, of mixing products that might overload your skin. For example, don’t use a serum that contains a fruit acid such as salicylic acid along with a moisturiser that contains vitamin C, which is also acidic. Similarly, if you use a prescription strength retinol cream for acne, avoid using a serum that also contains retinol.
Is Serum Good for Your Face?
We hope we’ve done enough to convince you that yes, a face serum is good for your face! They add an extra layer of protection and nourishment to your skin, and are simple, fuss free and easy to apply each morning.
Now for a shameless (but humble) few paragraphs on our own face serum… We developed the Deep Hydration Serum specifically for stressed out skin that’s prone to breakouts and acne, as well as skin that struggles with oiliness, dryness, irritation, redness and inflammation.
Our serum supports the natural regeneration process that the skin goes through that eliminates old, dead skin cells in order to produce new, fresh, healthy skin cells. It helps to minimise fine lines and balance out areas of hyperpigmentation.
You'll also notice that our serum helps to restore the natural plumpness and elasticity of the skin. Behind the scenes, it’s also working to protect your skin against the damaging effects of environmental pollutants, soothing the skin as it goes.
With alkalising silica salts, nourishing sunflower seed oil, softening phytosqualane and rejuvenating moringa oleifera, our face serum is about to become your skin’s secret weapon!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.