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Why your skin will benefit from a serum

You cleanse, you exfoliate and you moisturize. That’s enough for your skin, right? Not so fast — you should add a serum to your skin-care routine. Here’s why and how.

Woman with glowing skin

If you cleanse twice a day and moisturize well — with a sunscreen in the morning and a restorative night cream come bedtime — then you’ve covered your bases when it comes to caring for your skin, right? Well, you could be doing more for your skin by simply adding one more product to your arsenal of beauty goods: a serum. Not sure what these vials of product will do for you? Read on.

What is a serum?

A serum contains concentrated active ingredients. As such, you may notice they often come with a heftier price tag than, say, your average moisturizer. It’s these high-tech active ingredients that make the product more expensive, and while they’re often in a smaller percentage in your lotion, they make up more of a serum (hence, the often smaller size bottle). On the plus side, though, you only need to use a few drops at a time on your face.

How to use a serum

A variety of serums are available on the market. Some are for day use, others for nighttime, and some are formulated with specific benefits in mind (meaning they target specific skin concerns, such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation or uneven texture). It’s important to carefully read and follow the directions to get the most benefit from them. Some serums are designed to work on your skin at night when your epidermis is in repair mode. Others might not be safe to use during the daytime, as they contain ingredients that make your skin sensitive, and sun exposure may be risky if your skin is in this sensitized state.

You should apply a serum to freshly cleansed skin — the idea is to allow the serum to soak into your skin well — before you apply your moisturizer. After cleansing your face, pat your skin with a towel, and with your skin still moist, gently apply a smaIl amount (a few drops is sufficient) of the serum. Serums often come in a gel or oil format, and while you may find they provide some moisturization, often you’ll still need to use your cream or lotion on top of the serum. Be sure to apply the serum directly onto your skin rather than mixing a few drops into your moisturizer. It’s the direct application of the concentrated serum that will garner you the best results.

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