Isn’t it funny how we spend most of our adolescent years looking forward to becoming adults, only to feel like life has pulled one over on us when we finally get our way?

That is, after all, one of the major reasons for anti-aging solutions, skin serums, and related skin treatments; they serve as a means to rid ourselves of those pesky little keepsakes that remind us of how much time we have spent being alive. And whether it is in form of wrinkles, acne, cheek creases, laugh lines or plain old dry skin, nobody wants to look in the mirror only to be slammed with a gentle reminder that they are at beginning of the end.

Skin serums are pretty much the Cadillac of skin care products. Despite being on the pricier end of the beauty-product spectrum, they are popular across the board, owing mostly to their versatility and affectivity.

In spite of their popularity, a lot remains to be learned about these oils/moisturizers/cleansers. Seeing as they are having a moment in the beauty product industry, its best to learn all you can about serums before incorporating them into your skin regimen.

Here are the answers to all the questions you are probably asking.

What are Skin Serums?

I know, I know. Majority of us are a tad baffled by the contradictions of a skin serums functions. They can moisturize, nourish and cleanse and yet they are neither moisturizers face-oils nor cleansers. Despite the incongruity, one clear fact is that they combine the active ingredients present in these skin care products to make a highly concentrated solution with a lipid-soluble base that is effective in tackling specific skin-related concerns.

Ultimately, they can be customized to suit your specific skin-care need, but they are not replacements to your standard products. This is because, while serums can be full of moisturizing ingredients like ceramides, they aren’t necessarily equipped to create barriers on the skin like most lotions. And while some oils are considered serums, conventional serums are often water-based, making them the mystical lipid-soluble potion we know and love. In the beauty industry, serums are considered a little ‘something extra’.  A booster, if you will…

How Can I Find The Best Skin Serum For My Skin?

If you have ever gone skin-care product shopping, then you will more likely have thrown your hands up in exasperation than in excitement. Beauty products can be overwhelming, and skin serums are no different. Ironically, it should be one of the easier beauty products to find as skin serums are categorized based on their purpose and functions – A good way to start would be to answer the question – “What does my skin need?”

Types of Skin Serums

As earlier mentioned, skin serums are designed to tackle a variety of problems. Its unique combination of active ingredients determines the function(s) of each product –

Anti-aging Skin Serums:

This category of serums are most suitable for tackling wrinkles, creases, and laugh-lines, making them an ideal pick if you’re looking to restore your youthful appearance and glow.

Anti-wrinkling and anti-sagging serums are loaded with antioxidants (such as Vitamin C) and peptides which stabilize skin cells, restore elasticity and prevent oxidation caused by exposure to radiation from various sources. Naturally, it results in a notable improvement in skin tone quality and interacts perfectly with other products like sunscreen to give you complete protection from deterioration.

Skin Serums for Dry Skin

If you have dry and dull skin, then the perfect serum for you is one that will ideally brighten, regenerate and renew your skin – and there’s nothing like a little hyaluronic acid to whip your skin back into shape while providing it with a plump and silky appearance.

Serums with a unique combination of vitamin E, glycolic acid as well as essential oils and omega-3 fatty acids, will accelerate skin renewal in no time, evening out your skin tone, ultimately brightening your overall appearance.

Pollution Protection Skin Serums

If all you need is a serum that can minimize the damage caused by pollutants and radiation, then an antioxidant based serum will work some magic on your skin. Combined with an SPF 30+ moisturizer, any serum with vitamin C will provide your skin with top-notch defense while additional peptides work on restoring firmness and retaining your youthful radiance.

Skin Serums for Sensitive Skin

Although this is a fact that is conveniently left out in most skin serum discussions, you must realize that skin serums are effective for the same reason that they can be dangerous. Because of their potent and powerful ingredients, they are likely to irritate skin when used in large quantities.

If you are looking for a skin serum that is sensitive-skin compliant, consider any formula that combines green tea extracts and licorice. Not only will these two ingredients be gentle on your skin, they will soothe and eliminate any existing irritation by their gentle exfoliation abilities.

Anti-Acne Skin Serums

Looking for something to make your acne or pustules disappear? Think vitamin C loaded serum! It is a long established fact that antioxidants are one of the most desired skin product ingredients but beyond protection and renewal, they are also effective against irritation and inflammation. With ingredients like zinc, salicylic acid vitamin E, you’ll get your oil production regulated, your skin pores unclogged and most importantly, all your inflammation reduced. Sounds more than ideal doesn’t it?

How to Apply Skin Serum

A lot of emphases is placed on guiding users on ideal skin serum application because how you apply your skin serum may be the difference between great results and irritation.

To start off, take note that skin serums are high in concentration and potency, so you’ll likely not need any more than one or two pea sizes per application.

Step 1: After washing or cleansing your face, take a pea-sized portion of your serum and rub between two fingers (ensure that your hands are clean), then pat gently and evenly across your face.

Step 2:  After applying a thin coat of your serum, apply your moisturizer in similar fashion while ensuring that the serum isn’t blocked from penetration.

Step 3: Apply other skin-care products (including sunscreen) or cosmetics depending on the time of day. Serums should be applied twice a day, just after your cleanser or toner.

Note: If your skin is sensitive, consider waiting 15 minutes after washing to apply the serum. Ensure, however, that your skin isn’t completely dried out before application, as this will significantly slow down the serums penetration.

Also, note that you may choose to add a few drops of your serum to your moisturizer if you consider it a tad too pricey to use frequently. This will help to boost your moisturizers functions.

Can I Use Skin Serums?

Impressive as they may sound, skin serums are not an ideal match for everybody. If you have any skin conditions that have already weakened your skin barrier, then the high concentration of most skin serums will likely cause more harm than good.

Sure, quite a few serum benefits cannot be reproduced in other formulations but they are grossly insufficient to replace your entire skin regimen. From moisturizers to night creams, cleansers and face oils, your skin will most likely require all the ingredients that these products combine to stay nourished and supple.

If you must use a skin serum with your skin condition, contact a dermatologist before proceeding.

How Do I Retain My Skin Serums Vitality?

It is a little-known fact that skin serums have an un-impressive shelf life. This is because most of its ingredients, being potent and concentrated, have the likelihood of oxidizing or becoming unstable on exposure to air. Antioxidants such as vitamin C or E, are least susceptible to this phenomenon, slowing down the oxidation process significantly, but the same cannot be said about other, more volatile ingredients. However, not much can be done about the pace of deterioration, other than storing the product in a cool, dry place and using it up within 6 months of its purchase.

Finally…

Some skin-care experts swear by the brilliance behind skin serums, insisting that you would be doing your skin a disservice by not giving it a try, but we have different views. Serums are incredible no doubt, but like most skin-care products, their effects can be counterproductive if not used wisely or under the best circumstances.

Skin serum, hair serum, eye serum (which is just a fancy way of referring to eye cream) are all great products to incorporate into your skincare routine, and provided you are thoroughly schooled in ‘serum-speak’ and know what to look out for, you’ll be set on a fast track to a serum-nourished lifestyle; which is, by all means, the body-care enthusiast’s dream!

Overall, paired with the right types of skin therapies, topical applications, cosmetics and skin products, skin serums are the perfect addition to your skincare routine, and while they may be pricey and short-lived, they prove their money’s worth by the results they yield in the long run. Only a trial will truly convince you of the extent of the astounding abilities of the widely-loved skin elixir.