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Help! Which Serum is Right for Me?

April 16, 2021

Help! Which Serum is Right for Me?

I know it can be challenging to decide what serum is right for your skin, so I've created this handy guide.

Start by choosing one or two of your biggest concerns, and then choose the product(s) that contain the active ingredients to treat them. If you have several issues, considering using different serums on alternative days or using one in the AM and another one in the PM. Just don't pile on too many at one time, and be sure to let each product applied to absorb completely (wait a minute or two) before adding another.

Serums have more active ingredient(s), so using too many serums could be counterproductive and waste your money. (See Bonus Tips below) The best way to know what is working and what is not is to incorporate one at a time. Use it for a few weeks to see how your skin responds. Then incorporate another and observe how your skin responds to both of them.

As always, I recommend taking before and after pictures to see the subtle changes. Don't give up! It took time for skin to age. It will take time to reverse and improve the signs of aging skin.

Keep reading to learn how to choose serums based on the ingredients to get the results you desire. 

Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, select a serum with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta-hydroxy). BHAs exfoliate dead skin cells by going deeper into the pore because it is oil soluble. Pores that are clogged appear larger, so the goal is to choose a serum that can get into the pores. A BHA formula will reduce excess oil by slowing down sebum production. BHAs are great for healing and preventing acne, blackheads, and clogged pores.

I recommend including a retinol serum and apply it at night. FYI - all retinol should be used at night. They make skin sensitive to UV, but when used at night, they are fully absorbed by morning. The deeper exfoliation of a retinol serum will increase cell turnover, which evens out the complexion and further unclogs pores. Retinol will also help with blotchiness. If your acne-prone skin is sensitive, I recommend Sleep On It Vegan Retinol for a gentle retinol solution.

Mature, Dry, Wrinkled, Sun Damaged Skin

My favorite ingredient for mature, dry, wrinkled, or sun-damaged skin is found in the S2RM® adult skin stem cell molecules in NeoGenesis Recovery (70% - ideal for sun damage) and NeoGenesis Booster (40%), which also includes potent antioxidants, and anti-aging peptides for more hydration and moisture-retaining power. S2RM® works well because it is an ingredient the skin automatically recognizes, and it encourages the skin to return to a state of homeostasis for more youthful, healthier skin. It is Oncology approved.

Another of my favorites is PLLA (poly-l-lactic acid) found in Sculplla products. This ingredient works by stimulating collagen production to the max, which is needed for mature skin and for skin with a lot of wrinkling. 

For dry skin, you can choose a serum with hyaluronic acids (HA) such as HYAL and a long, lasting form of Vitamin C such as Triple C + Gold.

Well-hydrated skin will have fewer fine lines and wrinkles from the plumping effect of collagen. HA helps skin cell production increase making skin smoother with continued use.

Dark Spots, Uneven Pigmentation, Blotchy Skin

Choose a serum with a long-lasting form of Vitamin C and other skin brighteners like niacinamide and AHAs (alpha-hydroxy). That's why I love Triple C + Gold used together Sleep On It Vegan Retinol, and for stubborn dark spots, add Brighten the Day on alternating days/nights for even more skin brightening benefits. Also good for skin brightening is CaviPLLA with a high level of niacinamide and HYAL with the brightening power of B-casein from goat's milk. 

Nighttime Serums

At night, I recommend restorative ingredients, so this is a great time to use stem cell technology like NeoGenesis Recovery and collagen-boosting ingredients like PLLA found in CaviPLLA Multi-Serum. If you're not fond of Sculplla products, I recommend NeoGenesis Skin Serum for a supportive restorative serum that will add moisture.

BONUS TIP 1: Don't mix vitamin A derivatives, like retinol and retinoids, with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid, or you'll over-exfoliate the skin and cause irritation and inflammation. 

BONUS TIP 2: If you're not ready to incorporate retinol (which can be sensitizing and take some time for your skin to get used to), try Sleep On It Vegan Retinol. This plant-based retinol is encapsulated and safe for the most sensitive of skin.

BONUS TIP 3: Some serums are not meant to be mixed (applied at the same time). For example, don't use a peptide serum simultaneously with an AHA serum because the acidic pH of AHAs is undesirable for peptides. Remember, hyaluronic acid is not true acid, so it can be used with peptides quite well. 

BONUS TIP 4: If your skin doesn't respond well when applying vitamin C with retinol, you can use Vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night.

For help with layering products, READ THIS.

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