What is a serum and when should I start using one? | Doctor Anne

What is a serum and when should I start using one? | Doctor Anne

These days a skin care routine seems to have so many steps that it’s easy to get confused. But it doesn’t have to be that way, which is why I created this series: to go through a skincare routine step by step and Talk about each one of them so you can figure out what you need in your routine. Today’s topic: serums! Hi, I’m Doctor Anne. I’m a medical doctor with a passion for skincare that works. On this channel We explore the science behind skin and do quick reviews so you learn to pick exactly those products that work for your individual skin concern. So if this is something you’re interested in, please consider subscribing and Ring the notification bell. Today I want to talk about serums, or more specifically: What is a serum? What does a serum actually do? Can a serum replace a moisturizer? And: At which age do you need to invest in a serum? A serum is a skincare product that you can apply to your skin after cleansing, But before moisturizer, with the intent of delivering powerful ingredients directly into your skin. Traditional serums are water-based, but a little gooier than Essences ,and if you are confused about toner, tonic, essence, I did a whole video on that which I’m going to link up in the cards. But more and more companies do Oil-based serums, which feel richer and don’t go onto your skin as a second step after cleansing, But as last step, where usually a facial oil or something Like that would go. Water-based serums contain so-called penetration enhancers, like butylene glycol, ethanol, oleic or linoleic acid that help the ingredients to penetrate Deeper into the skin. And this definition gives you an explanation for one of the other common questions: Why is a serum usually so expensive? Well, because it uses a high concentration of so-called actives or beneficial ingredients That target skincare problems directly. At least in theory, I think we all have learned that we can’t always believe what is printed on the packaging. What does a serum actually do? Our skin’s needs change daily, or monthly, Or seasonally, and as you age your skin’s needs get more different. My skin has more problems than it had when I was in my early 20s, my skin has different needs in the winter time than it has in summer, It has different needs in the evening than it has in the mornings, You get the gist. And serums are the part in your skincare routine where you can change up what Boost you’re going to give your skin, because that is what they aim to do. They aim to give your skin a boost in hydration, a boost in texture enhancing, a boost in collagen production. Whatever your actual concern is, a serum is particularly good suited to this task because usually contains smaller molecules and less occlusives and emollients then a moisturizer, So it’s designed to penetrate into the skin rather than sit on the surface of the skin and lock in all the goodness That’s inside. Because there are so many different skin needs, there are many different categories of serums, But the main three categories I would identify are first: Antioxidants. Think Ubiquinone or vitamin q10, vitamin C, vitamin E, Everything that you need to protect your skin from the free radical damage that it experiences through pollution, UV exposure And just general stress. I will make sure to link some examples in the description box below. The second category of serum is the anti-aging serums, and these are the one that contains actives like acids, like Retinoids, like peptides that aim to improve collagen production. These target the concerns that older skin has, they aim to yeah, like give an anti-aging boost by evening out the skin texture, Smoothing out the skin, plumping fine lines. And the last main category I would identify is the hydrating serum. These are the ones that are rich in humectants like Glycerin, different forms of hyaluronic acid, Basically all the humectants you can think of in small molecule forms, So they penetrate deeply and plump up your skin. And hydration is something that basically everyone needs, so I think these are the ones that you can introduce into your routine the earliest. With all that information you can now actually Answer the next question yourself: Can a serum replace a moisturizer? Well, I don’t really think so, with one exception. As I said a serum is a booster, it delivers ingredients deeply into the skin and for these ingredients to stay there and to be active and not to Evaporate through Transepidermal Water Loss or something like that, you need to seal it in with a light layer of moisturizer. That doesn’t have to be a thick cream. It could be more of a lotion And if your skin is especially oily so you have your own sebum You might be able to skip moisturizer because your own sebum is going to seal in all the serum goodness that you applied before that. These days it’s a little more difficult because there are lightweight lotions or heavier serums that I think are more of a hybrid between a serum and a cream, so there is some like tThe Inkey List q10, which has quite a few emollients, is Technically a serum, but in the summertime for me with my oily skin it’s more than enough to Wear on its own, no moisturizer on top, but if you have something that really has zero occlusive and basically any emollients then yes, I think you need to follow it up with something more Occlusive. And the last question: At which age should you invest in a serum? Well, I think if you’re young your skin just needs a basic routine : cleanser if you wear makeup, a good sunscreen, Maybe a lightweight moisturizer if you tend to have dry or dehydrated skin, but once you reach your mid-20s Early 30s, depending on your skin type and your lifestyle you should start introducing antioxidants and probably hydration and I think a Serum is a good way to start. So a good cleanser and an antioxidant, hydrating serum and a good moisturizer plus of course your SPF in the daytime is something that I think in your Mid-20s should be part of your skincare routine. Once you reach my age, like 40s plus, Then your serum arsenal will get much more diversified, but at a young age I don’t think that it’s worth investing a lot of money into this step basically because your skin does not Yet need it. If you’re curious about which Ingredients to use when, I have a whole video dedicated to the topic that I’m going to link up on the screen. So in summary I think a serum is a really important step, especially as you grow older. A serum is a necessary Step if it’s serum in the traditional sense that it actually delivers a boost of active ingredients or a boost of hydrating ingredients. I think a serum is a step worth investing your money in if you get a high quality product, because it can really make a difference in your skin care and It is the part that I would personally change up the most. Good cleanser, a basic moisturizer these are the foundation of your skincare Routine and the serum is the extra that you sprinkle on top to really give your skin the extra love that it needs. I hope that answered all your question If there’s anything else you want to know, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below I’m going to link to a few more videos of the skincare basics series on the screen now And I’m going to see you all very soon with another video. Bye!


  1. I use Shiseido and egf serum from iceland… I have sensetive skin- those I stick to shiseido – as it does not make my skin worse- but I red its not so good ingriedient wise… so I want to try something different and more effective

  2. I very much like serums and along with sunscreens they are the skincare I buy the most frequently. I currently use:
    Simply Pure Hydrating Serum: it has ceramides, lactic acid, and urea, and it is fragrance free and much cheaper than CeraVe
    The Inkey List Q10: because Q10 applied topically has been shown to actually get into the skin and improve the antioxidant abilities of vitamin C and E
    The Inkey List Niacinamide, but it is empty now and I am going to change to the ordinary for various reasons
    The ordinary granactive retinoid 2% emulsion: because I have some blackheads and chronic redness but tolerate retinol and HPR well.

    There are a few serums that I would be interested in trying but haven't yet. These are:
    Garden of Wisdom Azelaic Acid 10% because the ordinary's azelaic acid is kind of terrible in texture
    Garden of Wisdom Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid. I have tried 2 vitamin C serums before, one burned and the other made my skin yellow
    Purito Centalla Unscented Serum: this is kind of like the ordinary's buffet but with centella asiatica and it is only €15 for 60 ml. But I am not sure I trust yesstyle to not send the fragranced version after they sent me the old fragranced version of the Comfy Water Sun Block, that I don't think Purito even makes anymore, today. It has to be the best consistency in mineral sunscreen I have ever tried but the essential oils immediately sting my face. It gives no white cast, pills, or shine and I am almost tempted to gamble with buying another and hoping they send the right one

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