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Are serums necessary in your skincare routine?

In the routines of skincare gurus and influencers across social media, serums are championed as a game-changing step in delivering moisture and anti-aging effects. However, few people look into the clinical research surrounding serums in order to understand their use, benefits, drawbacks, and whether they are actually an essential step for most people.

Are serums key to anti-aging?

While serums containing hyaluronic acid and anti-inflammatory ingredients are often recommended as Holy-Grail products for fine lines and wrinkles, the evidence suggests that serums are not actually necessary for all skincare routines.

In fact, serums are an extra step for those that want to put additional effort into their routine but must be used cautiously and with one’s skin type in mind. Many anti-aging serums contain ingredients that can actually aggravate sensitive skin, or cause flare-ups in people with conditions such as eczema and rosacea.

What benefits can serums provide?

Serums come in a variety of formulas to address different concerns, but the most common are those targeting moisture and signs of aging. Serums can be a beneficial step to add between facial cleansing and moisturizing if they contain quality ingredients that address your specific skin concerns.

The main components to look for include:

  1. Antioxidants. These ingredients work to fight sun damage as well as damage from free radicals, which are largely responsible for hyperpigmentation and fine lines. Antioxidants usually take the form of vitamin C or grape seed extract in serums aimed at skin brightening and anti-aging.

  2. Anti-Inflammatories. These ingredients work to “heal” the skin of blemishes, redness, and any inflammation that may be visible or disrupt the skin’s natural protective barrier. These ingredients tend to take the form of zinc or aloe vera and can be found in serums aimed at improving blemishes, sensitivity, and acne.

  3. Moisturizers. These are perhaps the most common type of ingredients found in serums, and they work by replenishing the lipids naturally found in the skin. This may help to prevent dryness and fine lines, as well as restore the skin’s natural protective barrier. These show up in serums as hyaluronic acid, amino acids, or ceramides.

It’s important to note that more expensive serums may not necessarily be better, and you should look for high concentrations of the above ingredients across whatever price point suits your skincare budget. Additionally, because serums tend to be very concentrated, more is not better. Trust that a little goes a long way with serums, and incorporate it into your skincare routine slowly in order to test for irritation.

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