What is a Face Serum, and why should I use one?

What is a Face Serum? Do I need one?

In a cosmetic world full of new trends, terminologies and fads, and a product range that invariably seems endless, it is often difficult to navigate through this cosmetic labyrinth to understand exactly what things are and what they mean or actually do. So, what is a face serum, and do I need one?

Fortunately, taking good care of your face is, these days, not something that is questioned by most females. Gone are the days of the one-pot-wonder skincare and lots of make up in an effort to appear to maintain a healthy, glowing appearance. The consumer is wiser, more educated and informed and shows a greater conscience for the genuine need to look after your skin, especially the face, so as to not only prevent possible ageing caused by both external and internal aggression, but also the need to feel healthier through wellbeing and improving a feeling of self-worth. This change in the consumer has now luckily included a greater number of the male population too. Why? Because we all have skin that needs taking care of as we are all exposed to the same internal and external aggressions and we all need to feel healthier within ourselves, to maintain and treasure our self-esteem.

So why a face serum? It is a common misconception that by only using a moisturiser your skin will reach optimum results. Firstly, and foremost, is far better to use a moisturising cream than not to use one at all, that goes without saying, but have you ever wondered why your favourite brand of moisturising cream also has a serum within its collection too?

Face serums are very different to face moisturisers and should be seen as an important addition to your daily skincare regime along with your moisturiser. Face serums, in most cases, can be seen as a targeted, lightweight, more powerful version of your moisturiser that has the ability to penetrate deeper in the skin’s layers delivering the very necessary active ingredients to the layers closest to the dermis in order to address the specific skin concern it is developed for.

That being said, a serum does not replace a moisturiser. A face serum should be seen as a valuable deeply penetrating addition within your daily skincare regime, an added boost of needed active ingredients to intensely treat the skin concern, which can also include providing hydration. The biggest difference between face serums and face moisturisers is exactly what serums do not include. Serums leave out the ‘sealing’ ingredients used in moisturisers to help keep water from evaporating from the skin surface keeping it hydrated. Serums also contain fewer fillers, thickeners and lubricating agents; therefore, sun protection is imperative when only using a serum.

Why is a serum so much more expensive than a moisturiser?

A face serum has a higher concentration of the active ingredients used to treat any skincare concern than its counterpart moisturiser from the same collection. By default, active ingredients are considerably more expensive than thickeners and other ingredients that are necessary within a moisturiser’s formulation in order for them to function as such. It is for this

reason serums are often the costliest product within most skincare collections. Serums are invariably formulated using very small molecules so that the skin can quickly absorb them, enabling them to reach far deeper below the skin’s surface. They should be seen as an intense ‘boost’ product that helps targeting your skincare concern within your daily regime.

By using a serum regularly, it can greatly improve your skincare goals, giving your skin a much firmer, smoother, more supple texture reducing signs of ageing, make pores appear smaller, and increase moisture levels. Your moisturiser will then help lock-in all these benefits for the skin whilst keeping it moisturised, attaining the best possible results from your desired treatment.

Do I need to use a serum and a moisturiser?

The simple answer is yes, as they have very different functions within the treatment and care of any skincare concern, so both should form part of your daily skincare regime. It is Important that your face serum is always applied directly to your skin after cleansing and/or toning and before your moisturiser and/or sun protection. This way the powerful active ingredients have the very best chance of penetrating the skin surface reaching the deepest layers. As they absorb quickly, they can be used both morning and night if required. However, if you prefer not to use a moisturiser after applying the serum, it is recommended that this is done at night-time as your skin is not exposed to any of the environmental aggressions during sleep and therefore does not require sun protection. Moisturisers are thicker and creamier than serums, they are meant to treat and hydrate the skin as well as prevent water loss, so for this reason moisturisers are always applied after applying the serum as they have that all-important lock-in effect.

One final thought, and this is related to any daily skincare regime, whether you decide to incorporate a face serum or not within your daily treatment. In order for any skincare products to work correctly, the skin has to be always clean before applying, so the need to remove make up and cleanse the face is imperative. However, there is one vital step in a skincare regime that many do not do, do not consider, or simply avoid, and that is the need to exfoliate the skin in order to remove impurities and those dead skin cells that form a surface barrier making it more difficult for any of the skincare products active ingredients penetrating and reaching where they have to in order to be effective. Once a week it is beneficial to add a form of exfoliation or peeling to your weekly skincare regime. There are many types of exfoliations available, so choose one that best suits you and your skin type. In the long run, not only will the overall effects of your skincare treatment be noticeable sooner, but you are actually throwing away money if the products you use cannot easily penetrate the skin surface and reach their target, sadly being wasted by laying on the skins surface.


Images: (WallsHeaven / Lumen / Dermstore / Mitonia)