WHAT ORDER TO APPLY AND LAYER SKINCARE PRODUCTS
Should You Add Serum to Your Skin-Care Routine?
You think you’re totally covered in the skin-care department—especially considering the amount of steps already involved in your morning and nighttime routines—until one of your friends starts raving about her new skin serum. Wait, you’re missing a step? What else can you even fit between face wash, face scrub, moisturizer, night cream, and under-eye cream?
When your medicine cabinet is filled to the brim and your beauty budget has hit its max, you’re not ready to addjust anynew product to your repertoire. But your friend might have a point—serum does have some pretty unique abilities. In fact, it might be the one product that can treat your specific skin concerns, whether that’s acne, wrinkles, dark spots, or sun damage. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Serums?
They’re lightweight treatments that penetrate deep into the skin to deliver active ingredients for a wide range of skin concerns. “These products contain higher concentrations of active ingredients than moisturizers and creams, for example,” says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf advisor. The majority of serums are designed to treat a specific skin concern, meaning most serums will have different ingredients. The good news is there’s one for everyone—and finding the right one depends on your skin type and the concerns you’re looking to treat.
So Which Serum Is Best for My Skin Type?
“Those with normal skin types have the most options because they don’t have to worry so much about potentially irritating active ingredients,” says Schlessinger. Battling constant dry skin? A moisturizing one is your best bet. One of our favorites:Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum(, ulta.com), which contains ceramides for extra nourishment.
Oily skin types should opt for a lightweight serum that doesn’t have a greasy residue or exacerbate oiliness. “In some cases, people with oily skin can use a serum in place of their regular moisturizer,” says Schlessinger. TryFresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum(, nordstrom.com).
“Those with chronic skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis, however, need to be careful when using serums because they could cause more irritation due to the high concentration of active ingredients,” says Schlessinger. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid them altogether, though—just make sure you choose one that’s gentle enough for sensitive skin or specially formulated for your skin concern. We likeFirst Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum(, sephora.com).
If you’ve got wrinkles or dark spots, tryDr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum(, drdennisgross.com). Formulated to be used before bed—since retinol makes you more sensitive to the sun—this serum helps smooth lines and even out skin tone.
“No matter what your skin type, try to find a serum containing antioxidants, as they help neutralize free radicals from environmental factors like the sun, pollution, and smoke and also help prevent signs of aging for a more youthful appearance,” says Schlessinger. He suggestsSkinCeuticals C E Ferulic(2, lovelyskin.com). “It provides long-lasting antioxidant protection using a combination of 15 percent vitamin C, one percent vitamin E, and 0.5 percent ferulic acid, and helps to increase skin firmness and replenish lipids for a smoother, more balanced complexion,” he says.
How Do You Apply It?
The order in which you apply your products makes all the difference. “After cleansing and toning each morning, apply your serum, and then follow with your moisturizer and sunscreen,” says Schlessinger. “At night, your routine would go cleanser, toner, serum, and then moisturizer.”
Since most serums come with a dropper, application is fairly easy. But remember that a little goes a long way. “Because the formula in serums is very concentrated, you only need two or three drops in the palm of your hand before patting the product into your skin using your fingertips,” says Schlessinger.
Video: 3 Collagen Building Ingredients You Need in Your Skincare Routine
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