What is a Serum and is it a Necessary Addition to my Skincare Routine?
Serum is different from a moisturizer or cream because it contains a concentrated combination of one or a few specific, active ingredients in a liquid or gel-like consistency to penetrate the skin effectively. Unlike a moisturizer or cream, a serum does not have any 'sealing' ingredients such as waxes, oils or seed butters which form a barrier, to 'seal in' the water content of the skin.
So how is it applied? Serum should be applied before moisturizer on clean, toned skin to allow for deep penetration of the concentrated, active ingredients; moisturizer is applied afterwards. There are many types of serums out there, all with great benefits for skin rejuvenation and health. However, we're partial to Vitamin C serum as it is a time tested, unique powerhouse in the skin care world.
Benefits of a Good Vitamin C Serum:
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that cannot be produced in the body. We get it through our diet from fresh fruit and colourful vegetables, most notoriously from citrus fruit like oranges although its concentrations are higher in other fruit (as we will mention a little later on). Through these foods, we are able to absorb and use vitamin C, a lot of which goes into our skin cells through the bloodstream. However, the outermost layer of skin cells, the epidermis, does not have a robust blood supply so there is a question of how much vitamin C is actually getting to this layer through food. This is why a vitamin C serum itself can be beneficial to target the outer layer of skin! That being said, a vitamin C serum is not enough to get to the deepest skin layers, so a combination of both balanced eating and topical products is the best.
Vitamin C serum are great for any skin type, from acne-prone skin to aging skin, oily to dry skin. This is counter intuitive because how could the same serum work well for both oily and dry skin? The theory is that the vitamin C allows our skin to maintain its own hydration status, meaning it will regulate the amount of oil it produces because it is already hydrated! Aside from its use on all types of skin, vitamin C has several other well-studied benefits:
- Collagen and Elastin Synthesis
Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen and elastin production, which is what maintains the elasticity of our skin, giving it that plumpness [1,2]. As we age, the production of collagen and elastin decreases which is what causes fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C serum can help decrease these signs of aging
- Decrease hyperpigmentation and brighten the skin
Melanin is what gives colour to our skin cells, and sometimes when melanin is overproduced in certain areas due to trauma or inflammation (ie. From UV radiation) it can cause hyperpigmentation and scarring. Vitamin C inhibits the production of melanin, so is responsible for decreasing the uneven appearance of skin making it look brighter !
- Protection from trauma and environmental damage
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means that it neutralizes damage caused by free radicals. This could be anything from sun damage to pollution and other environmental toxins even from other skincare products (ie. Laundry detergents) [2,3]. In terms of wound healing from trauma, vitamin C decreases inflammation and (as we learned earlier) increases collagen production to help decrease wound healing time . This was even seen in children with extensive burns whose healing time improved when topical vitamin C was used .
- Moisturizes and decreases inflammation
As we mentioned earlier, vitamin C helps seal in hydration. It does this by enhancing the skin’s barrier mechanism by improving its production so that the skin can retain moisture more effectively . Additionally, as we mentioned earlier, vitamin C decreases inflammation so can help with any inflammatory skin condition from acne, to eczema and psoriasis, especially where there is dryness and itching. In terms of acne, vitamin C prevents oxidation of sebum, or the oil our skin produces to decrease inflammatory acne lesions .
What Makes Our Kakadu Plum Vitamin C Serum Stand Out:
We think our serum stands out because it is USDA organic and made from kakadu plum. Learn more about our USDA certification here, but essentially this means that at least 95% of our ingredients are organically produced without preservatives, parabens, phthalates, artificial scents and GMOs. Also, the source of our vitamin C comes from the kakadu plum which is a small Australian fruit with an incredibly high concentration of vitamin C (100 times more than the equivalent quantity of orange). The kakadu plum also has other benefits including two antimicrobial acids which further reduce inflammation and are great for acne-prone skin!
How and When to Use a Vitamin C Serum:
You can use a vitamin C serum day or night, although if you have very sensitive skin or will be exposed to a lot of sunlight throughout the day, it is important to apply SPF-protection on top. Apply the serum after cleansing the face when the skin is still slightly damp. This is because skin is more permeable when it is still slightly wet, and we want you to get the most out of your serum!
With a vitamin C serum, a little goes a long way (especially with our super concentrated formula). Apply just a few drops to your skin, and massage the product in. Creams and other moisturizers can go on top of this.
By: Dr. Arlene Dubier ND
- Farris P. 2016. Cosmeceutical vitamins: vitamin C. Cosmeceuticals: Procedures in Cosmetic Dermatology Series.
- Farris P. 2006. Topical vitamin C: a useful agent for treating photoaging and other dermatologic conditions. Dermatologic Surgery, 31(1).