Serums: the fruit and veg of skincare

For those with skin issues a serum can make a visible difference

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

If you have any skin issues (and who doesn’t?) a serum is the one step in your skincare routine that can really make a visible difference. Think of serums as the fruit and vegetables of skincare, full of things that are good for you and help create that “natural glow” we’re all after – of course real fruit and vegetables help in this department, too.

Don’t confuse serums with moisturisers as a friend of mine did. “Isn’t that what moisturisers do?” she asked? The answer is no.

Moisturisers help dry skin to feel more comfortable and form a protective barrier to keep active ingredients on the skin, but really that’s where their use comes to an end.

Most serums have a high concentration of active ingredients. Some moisturisers also have these active ingredients, but they are diluted by emollients to soften the skin and are therefore not as effective. There are a few key concerns that people have when it comes to skincare, and there are a few key active ingredients that remedy these concerns.

I’ve written about the wonders of retinol before and, if you want to reduce fine lines or pigmentation, this is the active ingredient I recommend you add to your routine. Dry or dehydrated skin is another common concern Irish women have, and the ingredient that will plump your skin right up is hyaluronic acid. Just make sure to pop on a moisturiser after applying to get the full effect.

Dull skin affects many of us, especially during the winter, and a vitamin C serum is the best way to remedy this. If it tingles a little, don’t worry, that is it doing its job. If congested skin is bothering you, I recommend adding salicylic acid to your routine. Finally, if you want to protect your skin and give it a helping hand in dealing with day-to-day environmental stresses, then an antioxidant will be right up your street.

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