05 Oct

What Kind of Serum Should You Use?

Serums can be so confusing. Do you use them alone? Are they a moisturizer? Do you apply them at night or during the day? Serums are different than moisturizers. They contain concentrated anti-agers and anti-oxidants and are usually used together with a moisturizer, unless you have very oily skin and don’t need extra moisture. They complement the other skincare products you use and are a real benefit in anti-aging.  Layering your skincare can have major benefits for your skin. It’s never too early to start using a good serum. I always use one and have a few favourites.

There are so many serums available today for all skin types, budgets, and concerns that it’s hard to choose one that’s right for your skin. Sometimes it takes trial and error to find out which ingredients your skin responds to. You should see a glow fairly soon from a good serum, but seeing real results takes time. Even though some of the expensive serums are excellent, you can still find a good serum at a reasonable price. Look for good ingredients such as vitamin C, resveratrol, retinol and niacinamide. You can use a serum in the morning and at also at night. Here are some tips for layering your skincare:

1. Cleanse
2. Apply retinol or BHA/AHA exfoliant. These products are more effective if applied directly on the skin.
3. Serum
4. Moisturizer
5. Eye Cream

1. Cleanse
2. Antioxidant serum
3. Moisturizer
4. Sunscreen

Don’t overdo your products. Keep it simple. Use no more than three products at one time. I like to use retinols or BHA/AHA products at night. By using these in a serum form all you need to add is a moisturizer and eye cream. Also don’t double up on your products. For instance, if you use a serum with retinol, don’t use a moisturizer that also contains retinol.  Always use a sunscreen when using any AHA/BHA product. Since they exfoliate your skin you can sunburn very easily. If you’re at the beach or swimming remember to re-apply frequently.  I go easy on these products during the summer or when I’m going on a vacation where I will be spending a lot of time in the sun and water. My aesthetician uses IS Clinical products and highly recommends them so I’ve been using these serums for a few months with great results.

iS Clinical Active Serum: This potent multi-functional serum tackles acne, pigmentation, rough skin texture, clogged pores and helps to diminish fine lines and wrinkles. It contains AHA’s and BHA: Sugar cane extract (glycolic acid), bilberry extract (lactic acid), and white willow bark (salicylic acid), plus arbutin and mushroom extracts to help diminish hyper-pigmentation. I use this every 3 days. It’s great for all skin types and really makes your skin glow!

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+: This is a wonderful antioxidant serum for all skin types. It contains vitamins C, E, and A in a hyaluronic base that brightens, hydrates and stimulates collagen production. Excellent for rosacea or acne and unlike many vitamin C serums it’s also healing. I use this every day.

Josie Maran Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment: This 100% natural lightweight serum pairs the deep hydration of purified water with micro-droplets of 100% Pure Argan Oil. Lightweight yet super-intensive, it penetrates deeply and absorbs quickly to fortify and repair skin for instant, long-lasting hydration. I use this along with my treatment products. It’s hydrating yet doesn’t make me break out and it leaves my skin so soft.

Other Popular Serums to try

High potency treatment serums produce great results treating acne, refining pores, helping to even out skin tone, and soften fine lines and wrinkles. They can be used on all skin types, but they can be irritating to your skin if you use too much or too often, or to those with sensitive skin. When in doubt, start out with a lower percentage or consult your dermatologist.

SkinMedica GlyPro: This silky antioxidant/exfoliant serum contains glycolic and a good mix of antioxidants with a tiny amount of sodium hyaluronate to help keep your skin from drying. It’s a strong glycolic serum that can produce good results. Start out using every three days or so to see how your skin reacts.

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM:  PTR is always a favourite. This potent retinol serum contains 1.5% retinol and 1% vitamins C+ E, to regenerate and renew skin tone and texture and help diminish fine lines and wrinkles. Shake the bottle before use, cup your hand, add a few drops, then apply with fingertips.

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic: This highly advanced antioxidant serum uses 15% pure L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), 1% alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) and ferulic acid to diminish and prevent visible signs of aging and photo-damage. It’s expensive but it’s a proven customer favourite that can be used by all skin types except those with very sensitive skin. As with other strong exfoliating serums, start slowly by using every 3rd day or so.

Drugstore Favourites

Boots No7 Perfect and Protect Intense Advanced Serum:  A favourite for many years, No7’s Protect & Perfect Intense technology has been re-engineered to deliver even better anti-aging results. This serum is powered by Matrixyl 3000 Plus™, a combination of the most powerful form of Matrixyl plus a next generation peptide that works together to help restore more youthful skin. With a patented antioxidant complex, it helps protect skin from future signs of aging, keeping it looking younger for longer. Good for all skin types and an excellent serum to start with.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum: This is a nice light serum containing Retinol SA — a unique combination of Retinol SA, Glucose Complex, and Hyaluronic Acid — Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum moisturizes and renews the look of skin, while helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and even out skin tone. It’s gentle enough for even those with sensitive skin. This is the perfect serum to start out with if you’re are new to retinols. My mom always has this or, Neutrogena Deep Wrinkle Serum on hand even though she also has more expensive skin treatments.

Alpha Hydrox Intensive Serum 14% Glycolic AHA:  This AHA exfoliating serum contains 14% glycolic acid, an amount that can definitely produce noticeable results in skin, especially since this product’s pH is within range for the glycolic acid to exfoliate. It refines the skin’s appearance to improve clarity and texture and refine pores. Green tea neutralizes free radicals while hyaluronic acid seals in moisture. Free of oil and fragrance. Good for all skin types except sensitive. This is a strong exfoliant, so start out using every third day or so.

Remember to give your products time to work. Have realistic expectations. I’ve read so many bad reviews of good products because it didn’t remove wrinkles or take away dark circles under eyes. Everyone gets wrinkles and although we have access to great skincare products today, there are no miracles that will remove your wrinkles or prevent you from aging, not even the magic of Gucci sunglasses. Eat healthy foods, exercise, wear sunscreen and start taking care of your skin early. These are some of the best things you can do keep your skin young and healthy looking.