Are you worried about the fine lines showing up on your face? Including a face serum to your daily skincare routine might be the best solution to address most of your skincare problems.
Face serums are loaded with essential nutrients that battle major skincare issues such as uneven skin tone, dry skin, fine lines, wrinkles, rough skin and visible pores. But it is important to choose the right serum for your skin’s needs for maximum benefit.
Even the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, places emphasis on the role of serums. Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix says, “Serum stimulates the rasa dhatu in the skin and the choice of active herbal ingredients in the serum can help balance the doshas.”
Read on to know how to select the right serum, the best way to apply face serum and all the benefits it holds for your skin.
What Is Face Serum?
Your skin is constantly exposed to external stress factors such as extremes of weather, pollution, microorganisms and even harsh skincare products. With time, as the ageing process begins, there is a significant reduction in the natural moisturizing factor in the epidermis along with skin barrier impairment . This gives your skin a dry, saggy and uneven appearance.
Face serums are specifically crafted to provide your skin with optimum moisturization. These lightweight hydrating solutions have a deeper penetration capacity that makes them reach deep into your skin’s layers. Made of active ingredients in concentrated forms like Hyaluronic Acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Retinoids, Propanediol, Vitamin C, Glycerin and others along with natural plant extracts, face serums can combat various skin problems.
According to a recent clinical study, people who included a face serum in their daily skincare routine, found that their skin condition drastically improved within weeks.
Face serums for men address different needs that those meant for women. Men have thicker skin with more collagen and far more sebaceous glands, that can lead to acne problems. Hence, face serums for men contain exfoliating ingredients like retinols, AHAs, niacinamide and also skin brightening and repairing agents like Vitamin C and bio extracts .
What Does A Serum Do For Your Face?
A face serum’s primary goal is to restore your skin’s moisture balance. Beyond this, face serums can be formulated to address distinct skin issues such as uneven skin tone, epidermal barrier impairment, excess sebum production, dry skin, ageing, redness, inflammation and sensitivity.
Top 10 Benefits Of Face Serums
Serums are lighter in nature and made of smaller molecules. These can easily penetrate the epidermis and make up for your skin’s need for hydration. As the skin ages, there is excess trans-epidermal water loss from the surface of your skin. Besides this, your sebaceous glands also cannot produce enough sebum to keep your skin hydrated.
Age, oxidative stress and various environmental factors rob your skin of its youth. Anti-ageing face serums contain antioxidants like Vitamin C, peptides, collagen and alpha hydroxy acids to prevent wrinkles, age spots and all other signs of ageing.
3. Improvement Of Skin Texture
Young skin can quickly heal itself from externally and internally caused damages. However, with constant exposure to harsh environmental factors and skin ageing, your skin's wound healing abilities gradually deteriorate. Thus when new cells do not replace the dead damaged ones quickly, your skin feels rough and uneven. Serums hydrate your skin and boost its healing capabilities, thus making your skin appear clear and youthful.
4. Pore Tightening
Visible pores are a common skin woe especially in oily skin. This is often caused by excessive secretion of sebum. Unlike creams and moisturizers that may end up making your skin more oily, face serums act as humectants. They help reduce loss of essential moisture from your skin, keeping it soft yet oil free.
Using face serums that contain ingredients such as niacinamide can shrink and tighten your pores within a few days of application.
5. Skin Brightening
Vitamin C serums for face can work wonders for dull, unevenly toned skin. You can also check for plant derived ingredients in your serum such as orange peel extract, onion bulb extract or licorice root extract, which contribute to skin brightening.
6. Cell Regeneration
Cell renewal serums for the face have collagen boosting properties that aid the production of new skin cells. Powered by active ingredients like vitamin C, peptides and hydroxy acids, they help your skin retain its elasticity and youthful radiance.
7. Prevents Inflammation/ Redness/ Sensitivity
Calming serums target skin sensitivity and inflammations. Skin that is easily irritated by external factors highly benefit from these serums. Anti-inflammatory ingredients like niacinamide and bio-extracts like gotu kola, soothe your skin and help suppress inflammatory mediators.
8. Skin- Barrier Repairment
One of the main causes of skin damage is skin barrier impairment. Repairing serums aid in skin healing and prevent damage to the epidermal barrier. These are super hydrating serums that have antioxidants which help rebuild the damaged skin.
9. Prevents Acne
Devoid of a thickening agent, serums are usually non-acnegenic. Clarifying serums containing retinoids and salicylic acid are specially designed to clear clogged pores. This prevents the formation of comedones that can lead to acne.
10. Acts As A Face Primer
Applying serum before your foundation often helps retain your make-up for longer hours. Since serums are not heavy, they can be easily layered. In fact applying make-up over serum prevents the skin on your face from drying up.
Which Serum Is Best For Your Face?
Selecting the best serum for your face might get tricky with innumerable options available in the market. Read on to know what you must look for behind the label. To choose the right serum, you need to,
1. Know Your Skin Type
To choose the perfect serum for your face, you need to be aware of your skin type. Your skin generally falls under one of these four categories:
- Oily skin
- Dry skin
- Combination skin
- Sensitive skin
If you are uncertain, visit your skin doctor for a quick analysis. Certain ingredients are more suitable for particular skin types. Knowing your skin type enables you to select the serum that will keep your skin healthy and glowing without any irritations.
2. Understand Your Skin Needs
You may also select your face serum to address a specific skin issue. There are about 5 to 6 different varieties of face serums that are specially created to combat particular skin problems. Common skin issues that are benefited by the use of face serums are:
- Dry skin
- Dark spots, age spots
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Sun tan
- Enlarged skin pores
- Uneven skin tone
- Skin roughness
According to Ayurveda, the three Doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) that govern your body functions can cause skin problems, if aggravated. Visit your Ayurvedic doctor to know your dosha levels. Being aware of your prakriti and doshas will allow you to understand your skin type and skin problems better, thereby helping you to choose the perfect serum that benefits your skin.
3. Get To Know The Types Of Face Serums
Once you've determined your skin type and skin needs, you can easily narrow down your search. Select the base of the serum according to your skin type. Then check out the varieties and their ingredients that will help resolve your skin issues.
A. Serum Base
Face serums often have a water base for better absorption. But serums meant to treat dry, damaged skin can also have an oil or gel base. Thus, for oily skin it is advisable to go for a water based serum that will keep your skin oil free.
B. Varieties Of Face Serums
There are over six varieties of serums that target specific skin issues. After diagnosing your skin problems, select the type that will suit you best.
- Hydrating face serum
- Anti-ageing face serum
- Clarifying face serum
- Cell renewal or cell repair face serum
- Antioxidant or Vitamin C face serum
- Skin brightening face serum
- Pore refining face serum
- Soothing serum for sensitive skin
4. Know The Top Ingredients Before You Select Your Face Serum
A. Hyaluronic Acid
Your skin begins to sag with a reduction in the levels of naturally produced hyaluronic acid . Adding a face serum which contains this essential ingredient, plumps up areas of your face that lack hydration. Hyaluronic acid is generally considered safe for all skin types.
B. Vitamin C
Vitamin C serums are best for skin rejuvenation. Usually added in the form of L-ascorbic acid, this essential antioxidant helps reverse environmental damage suffered by your skin. Vitamin C serums are also known for their ability to heal skin hyperpigmentation, scars and uneven skin tone.
The antioxidant Tocopherol  is a type of Vitamin E often added to face serums for its cell renewal abilities. Tocopherol helps in strengthening the skin barrier and aids in the synthesis of new skin cells. With UV damage protection properties, this form of Vitamin E can prevent oxidative stress caused by sun exposure.
Peptides  in your face serum boost the formation of collagen that prevents the formation of wrinkles. With an increase of collagen, your skin looks more taut, young and plump. According to medical research, topical application of face serums containing peptides have shown visible improvement in skin texture and skin health in a matter of 2 weeks.
Niacinamide or Vitamin B3 helps reduce skin inflammation. Owing to this it is often added to soothing serums for sensitive skin. Niacin or niacinamide promotes your overall skin health including the production of keratin for firm, young looking skin.
Retinoids are a form of Vitamin A that act as wonderful skin exfoliators. Topical application of retinol serums prevent dead skin cells from blocking your pores. Thus, serums for acne prone skin contain retinoids as it prevents the formation of comedones. Apart from treating acne, retinoids also reduce acne scars and prevent skin ageing.
Glycerin is an essential ingredient in face serums for dry skin. It hydrates your skin and helps your skin retain moisture. With improved moisture retention abilities, your skin appears visibly smooth, soft and supple.
H. Hydroxy Acids
These are naturally derived acids that have multiple skin benefits. Serums for acne prone skin contain hydroxy acids for their skin clarifying properties. By clearing oil and dead skin build-up on your face, they ensure better absorption of other nutrients. Hydroxy acids also prevent acne scars and brighten dull looking skin.
Damaged skin is a sign of a weakened epidermal barrier. Ceramides are lipids that help rebuild the impaired skin barrier thus preventing excessive transepidermal water loss. This helps your skin stay hydrated and reduces dry skin problems.
J. Salicylic Acid
A great exfoliating agent, salicylic acid is used in serums for acne prone skin to prevent clogging of pores. Salicylic acid effectively works on your blackheads and white heads by clearing your skin of dead cells, sebum and impurities that block your pores. It is also beneficial if you have enlarged pores or oily skin issues.
Dimethylaminoethanol or DMAE is your one-stop solution to all skin ageing problems. According to clinical tests, DMAE prevents skin sagging and gives your skin a boost of youth.
L. Bio Extracts
Oils and extracts from plants have been instrumental in skincare products for ages. From skin brightening, anti-ageing, clarifying, to soothing, these natural elixirs are overloaded with essential skin friendly nutrients such as antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins and amino acids. With innumerable herbs and plant sources being used in face serums, here’s a list of the most prominent ones:
- Jojoba oil
- Tea tree oil
- Lavender oil
- Aloe vera
- Allium cepa
- Gotu kola
- Acai berry
- Borage seed oil
Ayurvedic herb extracts in face serums such as curcumin from turmeric, licorice or yashtimadhu extracts, gotu kola extracts, kumari or aloe vera extracts all have an amazing effect on your doshas. This in turn aids your skin functions and keeps skin problems away.
5. Identify Face Serum Ingredients For Your Skin Type
A. Ingredients For Oily Skin
Oily skin is often prone to oil build-ups and acne. Clarifying, skin calming, pore refining serums are great for acne prone skin. You can check out one that includes anti-ageing benefits as well.
The best ingredients for oily skin are retinoids, AHAs, niacinamide, tocopherol, Vitamin C, aloe vera, tea tree oil, green tea, gotu kola, licorice, borage seed oil and burdock.
B. Ingredients For Dry Skin
Dry skin requires intense hydration. Thus ingredients that are emollient in nature and aid in cell renewal are best. Skin soothing ingredients also benefit dry skin by preventing inflammation and irritations.
The best ingredients used in serums for dry skin include peptides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, tocopherol, niacinamide, retinoids, ceramides, DMAE, borage seed oil, jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, argan oil and avocado oil.
C. Ingredients For Normal And Combination Skin
To keep your skin young, soft and glowing, choose a Vitamin C serum for your face that aids in cell regeneration, brightening and hydration. For combination skin, identify your needs. If you experience acne problems in the T-zone, then clarifying, skin soothing and cell repair serums may help. For those who experience dry skin around the mouth or eyes, opt for water based hydrating serums.
Best face serum ingredients for combination to normal skin are, Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, niacinamide, tocopherol, grape seed oil, avocado oil and aloe vera.
D. Ingredients For Sensitive Skin
When introducing new products to sensitive skin, always perform a patch test to check for allergic reactions. Find a skin soothing serum that does not irritate your sensitive skin. Look for mild, calming ingredients such as niacinamide, vitamin C, ceramides, calendula, aloe vera, black tea, burdock root, ginseng etc.
Vedix Tip: To make your own homemade natural face serum for glowing skin, mix 1 tbsp of jojoba oil, licorice oil, tea tree oil, sweet almond oil and aloe vera gel. You can even add some ghee or honey for some super hydrating benefits.
How To Apply Face Serum?
Unlike moisturizers and creams, serums contain higher concentrations of essential nutrients. This is why your skin only requires serums in moderation. A pea sized amount is enough for a single application.
Your daily skincare routine needs to include these 4 steps:
1. Clean Your Face
Wash your face with a mild face wash to remove dirt, grime, excess sebum and dead skin. Herbal face washes are best as they gently clean without stripping your skin of its essential oils.
2. Exfoliate As Per Requirement
Exfoliate 2 to 3 times a week depending on your exposure to pollution. Exfoliation further cleanses your pores and helps in regulating the formation of comedonal acne (blackheads and whiteheads).
3. Apply Face Serum
Now your face is ready to receive all the goodness of your face serum. Take a small amount on your fingertips (3 to 4 drops) and gently apply all over your face and neck. Pat your skin to cover all areas. Serums are lightweight and are quickly absorbed into your skin. Thus, avoid excess rubbing or massaging.
4. Moisturize/ Apply Sunscreen
Once the serum is completely absorbed, layer your face with a moisturizer to stay hydrated for longer hours. If you are stepping out during the day, apply a non-comedogenic sunscreen instead.
Follow this routine twice a day for visibly even-textured, soft, young and glowing skin.
When Should I Apply Face Serum?
To reap the most out of your face serum, apply it in the right proportions and the right manner.
- Apply your serum twice a day during your morning and night skincare routines.
- Serums must always be applied on a clean face.
- Use a toner before applying serum if your skin feels too oily.
- Wait a few minutes after application to allow complete absorption of the product.
- Layer with a moisturizer for better hydration.
Potential Side Effects And Risks Of Face Serums
Serums are generally grouped according to your skin requirements or your skin type and are usually safe on skin. If you follow the general instructions on the label while applying the product, you are less likely to observe any side effects. To be on the safer side, a patch test is recommended before trying a new serum on your face. However, like in all skincare products certain risk factors must be kept in mind.
1. Certain ingredients may not be well tolerated by your skin. Hence, thoroughly read the list of ingredients, in case your skin is prone to allergic reactions.
2. For sensitive skin, while using the serum for the first time you may experience minor skin irritations. But this is less likely to be long lasting.
The Last Word
Face serums are powerhouses of skin friendly vitamins and nutrients in concentrated forms. Regular application can give you naturally glowing, younger looking skin. Face serums for men and women slightly differ in the skin issues addressed by them. Face serums for men help prevent acne, oil build-up, rough skin, sun damage and gradual skin ageing. On the other hand, face serums for women usually prioritize hydration, skin barrier repairment and anti-ageing.
However, a good knowledge of your skin type and issues is important for selecting the right serum for your skin's needs. According to Ayurveda, an awareness of your Prakriti or body constitution can further help you select the right ingredients that benefit your skin and keep your Doshas in balance.Know Your Dosha Now
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