The American skincare market is being inundated with new brands and products according to global information company The NPD Group. This may leave some women feeling rather overwhelmed by all the choices available to them. Many women boast medicine cabinets filled to the brim with various products that are either used at random intervals or as part of an over-complicated beauty routine. Amidst our demanding lifestyles, there is not always the time to engage in such complex skincare routines multiple times a day.

Thankfully it is also not necessary, as you don’t really require anything more than a quality cleanser, moisturizer, and facial serum to keep your skin looking radiant. While we, for the most part, know how to choose a good cleanser and moisturizer, many of us are still not familiar with serums. A basic understanding of serum, as well as what to look for in one, will be a great help when choosing a product that will benefit your skin best.

What exactly is a facial serum?

Think of a serum as a booster that can be utilized to amplify the effects of your existing skincare products. Skin serums are packed with powerful anti-aging agents such as vitamin C and other antioxidants that are combined with a range of other ingredients to render a lightweight substance that is easily absorbed into the skin. According to celebrity makeup artist Kristofer Buckle who counts Sheryl Crow, Jessica Chastain, and Blake Lively among his clientele, using a serum on a regular basis will leave your skin feeling smoother, firmer, and revitalized while also making your pores look smaller. If you want to enjoy the entire scope of benefits serums have to offer it is important to only opt for high-quality products.

Helpful vs harmful serum ingredients

Unfortunately, not all serums are created equal and many mass-produced serums contain a host of potentially detrimental ingredients that you should try to steer clear of at all costs. Common ingredients to avoid include glycerine, parabens such as methylparaben, butylparaben, or propylparaben which mimic estrogen and can cause a catabolic stress response, and hydroquinone which may cause papules and bluish-black pigmentation.

While not everyone may have the same adverse reaction to these ingredients, long term use is bound to take a toll on your skin whether you experience an immediate undesirable reaction or not.

Look for the good stuff instead

Just like there are serum ingredients you want to avoid at all costs, there are also those that can be of great benefit to your skin. Vitamin C is always a welcome inclusion in any skincare product as it effectively stimulates collagen production while also improving the skin’s immunity which subsequently reduces hyperpigmentation significantly. Another natural ingredient to look out for is DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) which stimulates fatty acid synthesis to reduce cellular ageing. When used for an extended period of time, a serum containing DMAE will help slow down the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Other beneficial ingredients to look out for include essential oils, rooibos tea extract, pomegranate, and MSM.

A good-quality serum that is free of dubious ingredients can be a great addition to your range of skincare products. No two serums are identical and although it may take a few attempts to find one that suits you perfectly, the effort will be well worth it once you start to see and feel the difference in your skin.