Facial serums are quite different from creams and lotions. They are lightweight, water-based moisturizers that are designed to be quickly absorbed by the skin and attack specific problems. Serums are used to deliver active ingredients deep into the skin. Regular usage of various serums can help to improve skin health by repairing damage, improving collagen production and creating energy.
Unlike moisturizers, serums lack heavier oils, such as mineral oil and petrolatum; typically, they are entirely oil-free. This is because oils can slow the absorption process by acting as a barrier to water-based liquids. After the serum is applied, excess water is evaporated leaving behind the just the active ingredients.
Usually, serums contain a high concentration of active ingredients, making them highly potent. Nutrients found in serums typically include antioxidants, vitamins, peptides, and amino acids. While serums are generally easy to use, they may contain ingredients that are susceptible to degradation by sunlight or oxygen. Therefore, many serums should only be applied at night and sometimes be stored in the refrigerator, in an air-tight container.
Should I Use Serums in the Morning or at Night?
Depending on the type of serum you are using may determine whether you will use it during the day or night. The actives* in certain serums may be affected by sunlight. It’s important to read the directions to find out what the behind-the-scenes biochemist recommends.
Daytime serums can be designed to provide hydration and protection. They often include antioxidants to reduce damage from pollutants, along with anti-inflammatories, such as caffeine or peppermint.
Some nighttime serums are designed to repair your skin, and provide maximum hydration while you sleep. Other night serums include ingredients that speed up cell-turnover, promoting exfoliation. These serums typically include salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids. Night serums that contain vitamin A or retinol are intended to reduce oil, smooth lines, improve collagen production, brighten skin, and enhance firmness.
*An active ingredient is a compound that is responsible for producing the product’s intended effect. To break it down, the active ingredient is the main course and the inactive ingredients are the side dishes.
Best Time to Use Serums Guide
Vitamin A serum-Repair – Night
Vitamin C -Antioxidant- Night or both
Epidermal Growth Factors (EGF) -Repair- Both
Plant Stem Cells -Repair-Usually night
Peptides -Typically night
Other Antioxidants – Night or both
Hyaluronic Acid – Both
Arbutin – Night
Serum Usage Guide
Serums are best after washing your face, but before moisturizer, in this order:
- Cleanse skin twice
- Apply toner
- Use one or more serums (I mix them all together and call it cocktailing.)
- Apply facial oil, if you use one
- Apply SPF, if it’s during the day
Although it’s an extra step to your daily routine, using a serum is definitely worth it!