Serum Secrets!

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

By Renata Block, MMS, PA-C

I am happy to share my serum secrets with you this month!

Using a serum is an essential step for any skin care routine because the vehicle (aka liquid) of delivery provides an optimal penetration into the skin.  Typically, these are applied with a dropper and are absorbed quickly.  The benefit of using a serum is providing your skin with ingredients that can make a noticeable difference to what you are targeting. I truly believe serums are the secret weapon for optimal skin care.

Though there are many types of serums to choose from, you should be careful and select one based on your specific skin type.  You don’t want to be applying something that can irritate your skin due to the penetration capability of the product.  Popular serum products are Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Retinols, Hyaluronic Acids, Ferulic Acid, Green Tea.  Antioxidants are critical ingredients in serums to give the skin extra protection from oxidative stress from Pollution, UV radiation from the Sun, Blue Light, and Infrared Radiation that all can lead to premature aging.

For best results, it is good to apply a serum within your morning and nighttime routine immediately after cleansing or toning.  You may want to wait a few minutes after you pat your skin dry to apply due to the nature of some serums having an increased concentration of ingredients.  The skin is more absorbent when it is damp which can increase the penetration of a product.  A person with sensitive or dry skin should be careful with ascorbic acid or retinol products; however, a hyaluronic acid serum would be perfect for someone with this skin type. 

Key Serum Secret: You always want to follow your serum with a moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning and moisturizer at night.  The rule of thumb for application of products is thinnest (serums) to thickest (creams); however, if you are on any prescription products you may want to consult with your Board-Certified Dermatologist first.

Diva Tip: Serum Secret Hack: What is the best vitamin C for your skin type?

For oily/normal skin: L-ascorbic acid

Dry/sensitive skin: magnesium ascorbyl phosphate

Start at a low concentration of 10% and increase the concentration as tolerated. MUAH????

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Renata Block is the creator of Savvy Derm Diva and is a Dermatology Physician Assistant practicing at Advanced Dermatology & Aesthetic Medicine, LLC in Chicago. Derm Detective is a monthly column exploring ingredients, procedures, and diagnosis of all things skin. Follow her on IG, Twitter, and FB @savvydermdiva