If you had to choose just one change-making product to add to your skincare routine, it should be a serum. “Generally, serums are water based, allowing for quick absorption into the skin,” explains Dr Tania Romano, scientific and education communications manager at SkinCeuticals. “As they are lightweight, they can easily penetrate the skin’s epidermal layer, making them the ideal way to deliver active ingredients into the skin.”
But don’t think serums won’t deliver on hydration just because they are lightweight. In fact, their formulation makes them ideal for the job. “The moisturising properties of serums allow them to deliver hydration to the skin from the inside out, rather than just from the top skin layer down,” says Romano.
If you’re new to serums, Romano suggests learning your ABCs.
She cites vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B (niacinamide), and vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) as essentials in a skin routine. “Using these three active ingredients – plus cleanser, moisturiser, and of course the non-negotiable SPF – is a robust skincare routine that your skin will thank you for in the long term,” she says.
For application, there are some things to know. Firstly, order counts. Romano advises applying your serums and other products from thinnest to thickest, meaning serums are usually a precursor to your moisturiser and SPF.
If you’re looking to boost your skin’s brightness, improve skin tone and help protect your skin against everyday aggressors such as pollution and smog, vitamin C is a good place to start.
“Vitamin C in the form L-ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant that provides protection against premature ageing by blocking free-radical damage,” says Romano. If you have had sensitivities in the past with the power-packed antioxidant, heed this advice: “Night-time use is normally associated with irritation, as this is when most people are using a retinol serum,” explains Romano. The best time to apply a vitamin C serum is “in the morning after cleansing”.
Advanced medical-grade skincare brand SkinCeuticals is the authority when it comes to vitamin C. And that’s due to the label’s long history of antioxidant research and innovation, backed up by science. For example, the C E Ferulic Serum, the brand’s most beloved vitamin C product, has a whopping 30 years of scientific research behind it.
Seeking a vitamin C serum in a crammed market can be daunting. But, says Romano, there are ways to find a frontrunner. Some vitamin C serums contain derivatives that don’t effectively penetrate the skin or provide the results we crave (Romano cites ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate). “Other products will be in a base that’s too irritating on the skin, so they won’t be effective,” she warns.
SkinCeuticals’ vitamin C serums are effective because of their precise formulation, which is able to deliver C to the skin thanks to a combination of pure L-ascorbic acid, a pH within the 2.0-3.5 range, and a concentration between 10 and 20 percent. But don’t just reach for the brand’s most Instagrammed C. SkinCeuticals has two other frontrunners that cater to different skin concerns. Phloretin CF is for normal to combination skin and those with hyperpigmentation, while new Silymarin CF has been specifically formulated for people who have oilier skin types.
“Traditionally, many people with oily skin struggled to use a vitamin C serum,” explains Romano. “SkinCeuticals’ Silymarin CF has been specifically designed to provide advanced environmental protection for oily and blemish-prone skin.” It’s also able to help reduce oiliness, refine skin texture, and visibly improve skin clarity and fine lines. So while we can all have moments of doubt about feeling secure in our skin, update your skincare routine and it could be the boost you need.