Facial serums - are they yet another ploy by the beauty industry for an easy sell? Or an essential step to add to your skincare routine? Before you groan at the thought of adding another step to your ever-growing routine, hear us out on why this is one step that once you take, you’ll never be able to turn back from.
What is a Face Serum?
Our face serums use moisturising ingredients that help bind water to the skin cells. This helps your skin cells retain moisture and keep the skin consistently hydrated. Face serums are easily applicable, lightweight in comparison to some of the other skincare products out there, and are effective in addressing a range of skin concerns that you may have - from dryness and dullness to wrinkles and acne.
The Benefits of Using a Face Serum
Adding a facial serum to your skincare routine, and the list of products you may be using, has a range of benefits.
#1 A Face Serum Will Do What Your Classic Moisturiser Can't
Serums will enhance your skincare in a way your classic moisturiser just isn’t able to, simply by the way they are structured. Serums are made using smaller molecules, and these molecules are able to truly penetrate the skin and offer benefits on the deepest level. Heavier creams on the other hand tend to sit on the outermost layer of the skin for surface level benefits.
#2 Serums Hydrate and Protect
You’ll find many different types of serums on the market that make various claims. ‘Brightening’, ‘smoothing’, ‘anti-ageing’ … but arguably the two most important traits in a face serum you should be looking for? ‘Hydrating’ and ‘protecting’. There are a lot of different adjectives to describe these two traits, but essentially we need a serum that tackles dehydration and strengthens our skin's barrier function.
The lower layers of our skin are where our skin cells experience dehydration (a lack of water). In turn, this can cause your skin to decrease in lipids and break down its protective barrier from the environment – inviting all sorts of havoc on the skin. Breakouts, premature ageing, inflammation, sensitivities…. you name it.
Nourishing your skin in this way gives it the building blocks it needs to function most efficiently and respond effectively to the active ingredients in your skincare that get you the best results such as Retinol and Vitamin C.
Why is it Important to Hydrate the Skin with a Serum?
Why should our skin need the extra moisture that using a face serum gives us? The answer is simple - because almost everything is working against us to draw it from our skin:
Seasonal changes bring about fluctuations in temperature and humidity, which will dehydrate your skin. You may then be more likely to try and regulate your body temperature (hot showers, cold air conditioning, etc.), which further exacerbates the drying effects your skin may experience.
Our everyday lifestyle choices… Yes, that coffee you need to get moving in the morning contributes to the dehydration of your skin. Other things such as lack of sleep, soaps and detergents, sun exposure, and salty or chlorinated water can all contribute to a decrease of moisture in the skin.
Believe it or not, skincare can actually contribute to drying the skin out. Sounds counterproductive, right? Unfortunately, those active ingredients that get you results against challenging skin conditions such as pigmentation can have drying effects to the skin.
Your skin type… Some skin types just lean towards the dry side of things - even those with oily skin types can be dehydrated. The overproduction of oil can dehydrate skin attempting to compensate.
There are tell-tale signs of dehydrated skin, including:
- Fine lines and surface wrinkles
- Increased sensitivity
Why is it Important to Protect the Skin?
A question that doesn’t really need to be answered, but one that allows us to go into a bit of depth in terms of the science. Your skin has what could almost be referred to as a ‘built-in defence’, which is otherwise known as a lipid barrier. The lipid barrier acts as a protective barrier against the world and all its harsh aggressors. It also serves other purposes we should all care about - working to retain and maintain adequate moisture levels in the skin to keep it looking radiant and healthy.
Sounds kind of important right? We wouldn’t want to impair it… If only it were that easy. A breakdown in barrier function can occur due to a number of reasons:
Free radicals found in the environment, such as air pollution, can damage our skin and cause it to age prematurely – these also happen to be pretty much unavoidable in our modern day-lifestyle.
Many of the same lifestyle factors mentioned that can contribute to dehydration can also lead to a damaged lipid barrier - UV exposure, lack of sleep, hot showers… You know the drill by now.
The initial dryness brought on by active ingredients in your skincare can deplete your lipids, in turn causing a weakened barrier.
Skincare self-sabotage a.k.a cleansers that are stripping on the skin, over-exfoliating and over-use of active ingredients.
Age is also a contributor, since your ability to produce oil diminishes over time. This makes it harder to replenish the lipids that are so essential to the integrity of our skin’s barrier.
Genetics can mean we are predisposed to certain conditions, such as dermatitis and eczema. These inflammatory skin conditions are generally accompanied by a weak skin barrier and keep it from functioning properly.
You’ll know something’s not quite right with your skin when it comes to a damaged lipid-barrier. When the skin isn’t adequately protected it will show in all forms of chaos on the skin:
- Dryness (lack of oil)
- Dehydration (lack of water)
- Reactions to products/sudden sensitivity to existing products
- Increased breakouts
With all things considered, it’s probably fair to say that our lipid barrier might need a helping hand to ensure it stays functioning, which is where your serum can step in.
3 Things You Should Be Looking For in a Face Serum
Making a choice can be tough when it comes to adding a new product to your skincare routine. However, to help make your decision a little easier, you should always look for a hyaluronic acid serum that includes niacinamide (B3) and panthenol (B5).
#1 Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule found in the skin and in the connective tissue of the body. It works as a moisture binder by attaching itself to water in the cells to make them plumper. Hyaluronic acid has the ability to hold 1000x its weight in water, which helps to retain moisture in the skin. This keeps you consistently hydrated throughout the day.
#2 Niacinamide (B3)
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3. Serums that take advantage of this ingredient are multi-tasking and work to strengthen the skin's protective lipid barrier, while also acting as an anti-inflammatory agent for stronger, more resilient skin. Having a serum that takes advantage of this vitamin will assist in regulating oil production, minimising the appearance of pores while maintaining adequate moisture levels in the skin and fighting against any harmful bacteria.
#3 Panthenol (B5)
Panthenol is a provitamin that can be readily converted by the body into vitamin B5. It is both a humectant and an emollient to attract and bind water to the skin while sealing the cracks in the skin and keeping moisture locked in. As well as its hydrating benefits, Panthenol also has anti-inflammatory properties and is involved in activating the proliferation of cells that are important for wound healing and restoring the function of the skin barrier.
The Secret Complement to Your Skincare Routine
The Secret Serum is a multi-faceted skin saviour that is formulated using hyaluronic acid, niacinamide (vitamin B3) and panthenol (vitamin B5) - combined with our Secret base.
Why The Secret Serum?
With each drop of this luxuriously smooth formulation, your complexion is made calmer and more luminous. It works to pull essential moisture deep into the lower layers of the skin whilst simultaneously improving barrier function to support the skin's healing process.
The Secret Serum was designed by doctors as the perfect complement to every skincare routine, fulfilling that missing piece our skin never knew it wanted, but has always needed. You can browse The Secret Serum range online today, or contact us online if you have any questions.