Serums (also known as targeted treatments) used to be associated with anti-aging and anti-wrinkle treatments, but with the obsession to preserve a youthful appearance, there are now serums for all ages, and for a wide range of treatments. There are serums that:
- Help reduce dark sun spots
- Reduce the appearance of wrinkles
- Smooth the surface of the skin
- Brighten the skin tone
However, do you really need to use a serum? Serums can be used as a preventative measure, or to treat a specific area. These days serums come in various formats; gels, essences, or a mixture of a gel and a moisturizer. Most will come with a dropper or in a pump dispenser to ensure the correct amount is applied, because serums can be active, and using too much can cause a reaction. Many will be packaged in a glass container, because it allows the product to remain stable for longer, increasing the shelf life.
Using a serum to treat a particular area takes time and patience to see results. The skin renewal cycle is 28 days, and that is in a healthy skin. One that is sluggish may take up to 40 days. Many people think if they apply serum frequently throughout the day it will work faster. This is untrue! A serum will work more effectively if used regularly morning and night, on cleansed and exfoliated skin. Gradually, the effects will be felt, but if the serum is too stimulating (it causes a reaction, with stinging or redness), that means the skin does not need the serum, and the ingredients are too active for the skin. You may notice a difference within a few days, but that doesn’t mean you should stop using the serum after a couple of weeks—like medication, the best results are gained by using the product for 4-6 weeks. Once a complete skin renewal cycle has passed, then use the serum a few times a week or occasionally as maintenance.
Often people try to use these serums to prevent aging, but that isn’t what all serums do. They cannot strictly prevent, but they work on specific issues. An example would be an anti-wrinkle serum; it would help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but if there are no wrinkles it will do nothing, and won’t prevent them. The only way to prevent wrinkles is to stay out of the sun, use hydrating lotions, and ensure you drink plenty of water. Applying an anti-wrinkle serum would be a waste of money—all it will do is soften and hydrate the skin, and if it is too active (on young skins) it will make the skin go red. It’s like taking cough medicine to prevent a cough; it won’t help unless you actually have a cough.
Most of the marketed preventative serums are concentrated moisturizing serums with added vitamins, usually with Vitamin C or E, which are well known antioxidants. These give a boost to skin that is dull, and is good to use after an illness or if you have neglected your skincare regime, and more of a marketing ploy as they are really intensive (and more expensive) moisturizers. If you have a healthy skin, it’s unlikely you will need a serum, maybe during winter when the skin suffers from the cold or artificial heating, or after a stressful time, the skin may need an extra boost. Use them only when you need to, because a healthy skin doesn’t need a serum all of the time, just every now and then as treatment.
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