Thursday, October 10, 2013

Skin Care; Serums...What are they and what are they for?

I have been on this skin care kick lately and every month, I have been trying something different to see how these products improve, maintain or react to my skin, (Updated skin care will be posted later). Let's talk serums... What are skin care serums?

Let's differentiate what Serum and Moisturizer are and for....
Serums are comprised of much smaller molecules which gives it a thinner texture (may be used as a stand alone product for someone with an oilier skin and under a moisturizer for those with normal/drier skin) than moisturizers and makes them easier to penetrate into the skin much deeper than the molecules of a moisturizer. Furthermore, Serums typically comes with much more added nutrients in concentrated formulation to target a specific skin "issues", ie; skin brightening (check) hydrating (check) acne treatment/prevention (check) and of course anti-aging (definitely check) while a Moisturizer usually deposits moisture and hydration to skin.

Throughout the years, I have become a bit more mindful with my skin care routines, (yep 3 lines on your forehead will do that to you lol) I've become more conscious at layering and finding products that will somehow intensify my skin care regimen and combat current "issues" and/or slowing the appearance of the errrr "lines", yes I have come to terms with their inevitable arrival but... if I can do anything to slow them down, I sure am willing to try =) Now let's get back to serums...

Serums are most effective when applied twice daily to maximize it's full potency. Ideally, it should be the first product applied to the skin after cleansing and toning, then followed with a moisturizer suiting your skin type and sunscreen in the morning routine. I usually like to apply my serums with my ring and middle finger to avoid wasting this expensive product lol (serums are typically more expensive than moisturizer, I mean they are all costly as it's usually the one I splurge on so I try not to waste too much product on the hands.)

Ok, so we've got that covered, what's next right?!?!? What type of serum does one need?? If you're like me, you'd be tackling acne scars (thank goodness mines are not raised so it's fairly manageable), sun spots (I love the outdoors, specially when I am on the bow of a boat lol, or just laying out pool side or the sandy beach line, but unfortunately my SPF was not enough to prevent these pesky spots from reappearing every fall/winter and seems to be a bit more every year smh) enlarged pores (so this is definitely new to me because I knew there were pores on my face but ummm, they were nonexistent or at least invisible about a year ago and literally realized a couple of days ago that the transition from humid Miami to a much drier So Cal weather has done a number to my skin) and as if that wasn't enough, how about those inevitable lines creeping out on the forehead and/or crow's feet and laugh lines. (so far no smile/laugh lines or crows feet visible on my face "yet" but these 3 lines on my forehead are uber persistent and just won't take a long vacay smh) 

Now that we have ALL of my skin issues laid out for you to read =| (oh I forgot the occasional breakout lol) Let's get deeper into the types and categories of serums. 
Serums comes in a water-based texture as well as oil-based texture which is typically more suited for drier skin and water-based for normal to oily skin. Serums are also categorized mainly as Peptides, Retinol, Alpha & Beta-Hydroxy Acids, Unique Botanicals and Growth Factor and most commonly Antioxidants.

I have really gotten more and more interested in a search for an Antioxidant serum in the last few of years when I started to see the evidence of fine lines and sun spots appearing, although I have always used Retinol and AHA/BHA Acids  sporadically in the past whenever I feel my skin needing that special TLC (which, I know I should have always incorporated antioxidants more with my skin care regularly) Antioxidant serums also are multifunctional and are usually associated with protecting the skin  from pollution/free-radicals, improve the evenness of the skin tone as well as reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles. Vitamin C-rich serums are a great example. One of my "go-to" is Ole Henricksen's Truth Serum (mentioned on my skin care obsession for summer, that has made it's way into my Fall transition as well :), more detailed review on this line coming up) this serum is perfect to use under your daytime moisturizer and SPF. I've also used Obagi Professional -C serum in the past and that one is amazing from my dermatologist's recommendation (hmmnn need to find one here in So Cal) and Philosophy's Microdelivery Mini Peel Pads are amazing and convenient.

While firmness was never an issue with my skin, also known as loss of elasticity, (at least not yet anyway lol) It's never too early (or late for some) to educate yourself with reading up and knowing what products to use on how to boost the collagen and elastin production/restore firmness on the skin and that is with the use of a lil powerful Peptide-rich serums, I don't personally own one so I can not recommend a particular brand to use, but some commercially marketed ones are the L'Oreal RevitaLift Triple Power Concentrated Serum or the Exuviance Collagen Triple Boost Serum (Let me know if any of you have tried any of these products or have any suggestions that I can try out) 

So again, one of the skin "issues" I have been tackling has been the occasional dullness of my skin and some acne scars from picking at it (yeah I know, I can't just leave stuff alone ehh..) For this I have turned to my dermatologist's assistance for some of her strong AHA peels and of course a dermatologist visit doesn't usually end on a frugal note for me, I always end up coming home without an arm and a leg (not literally of course),  and of course new at-home products kits to play with :), But these visits have been some of my more beneficial visits and glowing results as they tend to be a bit more concentrated grade and definitely used on occasion basis. I usually come home with a Retin-A/Retinol packed kits to use at home and continue the longevity of the initial glow from the derma's office visit and advised to be used sparingly. Some of my go-to Retinol/AHA-BHA Acids (over the counter like sephora/ulta purchasable-yes I think this is a word!!) are RoC Retinol Correxion system, Avene's Retinal (I think this one may only be available at the derma's office), and for drugstore, I like the Garnier Ultra-Lift 2-in-1 Wrinkle Reducer Serum.

For those needing more of an overnight repair serums, My usual go to is straight up drugstore buy of a concentrated Vit E oil but my mom seems to like this Dermasilk Night Repairing Face Lift. I will probably revert to a stronger night repair serums at a later time :) 

In conjunction to using these serums (not all at the same time I hope, although some may be layered with others) You have to make sure you layer with moisturizer appropriate with skin type and SPF during the day time.

Do you have any skin "issues" you are trying to get rid of? Do you use any serum?
Please comment with your thoughts below or email with any queries, don't forget to share & socialize with me on twitter, instagram and facebook ......stay beauty-full :) 

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