While it’s true that every product in your routine should contain a skin-pleasing array of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients, you should have higher expectations for your serums. Why? Well-formulated serums differ from moisturizers in that they don’t “make room” for the traditional emollients or thickeners found in moisturizers—these are the ingredients that give moisturizers their lotion or rich cream textures. Likewise, serums won’t contain the sunscreen actives that a daytime moisturizer would.


Instead, serums use that extra space to pack in other beneficial ingredients or even more antioxidants than any other product in your routine.
Serums won’t replace your daytime or nighttime moisturizers, but they will boost your anti-aging results and overall skin health when used morning and evening. Exception: If you have oily skin (and thus don’t need extra moisture), a well-formulated serum can work as a double-duty product that replaces your nighttime moisturizer. It can be the only moisturizer your skin needs at night!
Finding a good serum is akin to starting a long-term relationship—the real benefits come from sticking with your serum day in and day out. While you’ll likely see some improvements right away (because the antioxidant-rich formula soothes redness and brightens skin), over the long term you’ll see other signs of damage fade and your skin will look and feel healthier and firmer!
Look to serums that contain anti-aging ingredients that are proven effective based on a large number of independent, peer-reviewed studies. Such substances include potent, stable antioxidants, such as vitamin C, green tea/EGCG, grape, and resveratrol, and cell-communicating ingredients such as retinol and niacinamide.
There’s no single “best” serum, so choose based on your skin type and concerns. No matter how well-formulated a serum is, if it isn’t right for you or isn’t a match for your skin type, you’ll end up disliking the results, and you won’t stick with it. For example, if you have oily or combination skin, look for a water-light serum that won’t feel heavy or greasy. Alternatively, if you have dry skin, you’ll likely love a serum packed with antioxidant-rich moisturizing plant oils! All others can choose a serum based on personal preference, and don’t be afraid to rotate among two or three serums so you can enjoy the
unique benefits each provides. Sensitive skin? Choose a serum’s texture based on how oily or dry your skin is, and make sure it’s loaded with anti-irritant ingredients like willow herb, sea whip, and licorice root among others.
Note: Well-formulated serums tend to be concentrated, and so also tend to cost more than moisturizers, even though serums typically offer a smaller amount of product than moisturizers.
When should you begin using a serum? It’s common knowledge that eating a balanced diet and exercising keeps your body healthier and younger-acting as you age. With that in mind, does it make sense to wait until you’re unhealthy and in your 50s or 60s to start a healthier lifestyle? Of course not! The same is true when it comes to anti-aging for your skin!
Start using serums loaded with these types of impressive ingredients before signs of damage occur (it’s never too soon) and you’ll be on track for a more even complexion and firmer, healthier skin as you age. Your skin never “gets used” to these types of ingredients, just like your body never “gets used” to eating healthy foods.
Of course, these ingredients will work even after skin damage starts showing up, but without question, sooner is better than later!


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