Ask Belle: Serum Advice for Newbies
Jan 26, 2016
I turned 34 last month and while I’m not afraid of getting older in theory, practice is something different. The acne I had in my teen years (and still get sometimes) scarred my nose and chin. And now, wrinkles, why?!? Can you help me find a serum to fight the advance of time?
Serums are a mystery to many women, even a decade after they gained popularity. A serum is a light, fast-absorbing solution meant to treat skin imperfections. But it’s no wonder why we’re confused, when there are so serums many on the market. Here are a few recommendations.
Acne. I like iS Clinical Active Serum for acne sufferers. But the product I am most excited about is Paula’s Choice BHA 9. It’s not a serum per se, but it treats blackheads, acne scars, and reduces redness.
Wrinkles. They’re coming for us all. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair is my favorite serum for wrinkles. It works, it’s not heavy, or overly perfumed or medicine-y. And before you dive in, you can buy a $16 bottle that will allow you to try the product without a big commitment.
Anti-Aging. To protect against many signs of aging, including wrinkles, many dermatologists recommend Vitamin C. I keep a bottle of Paula’s Choice C15 serum and its powerful anti-oxidants on hand. (They also offer a $9 sample size.) If you need more punch, Obagi Professional C-Serum comes in several strengths so that you can choose regular or high test.
For something in the $20 range, Kiss My Face sells their Potent & Pure Ester C serum.
Brightening. Does your skin need some help in the glow department? Skinceuticals C E Ferulic can kick it into high gear. I prefer to do a weekly treatment like the Dr. Jart Brightening Sheet Mask or Tony Moly Radiance Mask.
Affordable Serums. If you’re on a budget, my favorite brand for under-$25 skincare is Boots No.7. They’re products pack more punch than their price suggests. They Yes to brand also offers a few serums that are paraben-free and at least 95% natural. I’ve also read a few positive reviews about Olay Micro-Sculpt Serum, just $9.
Give Your Serum a Boost. If you want your serum to reach maximum effectiveness, I recommend a micro-needle roller. It looks scary, like something out of a Medieval torture chamber, but it can improve your results.
Michelle Phan explains what needle rollers are and how to use them in greater depth. But basically, the needles create tiny channels in our skin that allow product to penetrate more deeply and stimulate collagen production. I use one (when my acne isn’t flared up), and I notice better results when I do. However, you need to keep your roller clean or you are just asking for problems.