Tag Archives: Serum

Know The Difference: Serums Vs. Lotions Vs. Creams

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Your friend tells you that you need to get a skin product that contains retinol, so you search for one on Amazon. You see a few products that fit the description, noticing that some are much cheaper than others. Seeing that they seem to have the same active ingredient, you naturally buy the cheaper one. Upon closer inspection, you see you have bought the cream or lotion formula, and that the more expensive one was a serum. Does it make a difference?

With the overwhelming selection of skincare on the market, it’s hard enough to choose a product with the right ingredients, and now it seems you have the added challenge of choosing the right formula. So, is there a difference between a cream, a lotion, and a serum? Apparently. And you should probably know what it is.

Lotions
Lotions are made of a mix of oil and water and are generally thin and free flowing. That means they can be easily applied to large body parts like legs and arms. Besides oil and water, lotions contain glycerin to keep in moisture, fragrances for an appealing odor, dyes to lend color, and preservatives to increase longevity. Lotions are generally preferred in the summer, because of their cooling sensation, and by eczema sufferers or those whose hairy bodies who call for a formula with a high spreadability factor.

Creams
Also a mix of oil and water, Creams are thicker than lotions, which means they don’t penetrate the skin as easily, although they are absorbed more quickly. This makes them better for applying to areas such as the skin around the eyes to prevent the fluid drip associated with lotions, and also makes them better for applying under clothes in the winter. Like lotions, creams contain glycerin to moisten the skin and also contain preservatives and fragrances. Some contain aloe, which reduces inflammation. Creams containing heavy oil bases are not recommended for facial use.

Lotions Vs. Creams

  • Both are a mix of oil and water that hydrate the skin.
  • Lotions can be more easily applied to larger body parts.
  • Lotions are best for hairy body parts. Creams are best for facial wrinkles and eye areas.
  • Creams are thicker than lotions.
  • Lotion penetrates the skin faster.

While lotions and creams both come under the category of moisturizers, one is not generally considered superior to another; preference is usually a matter of which is more tailored to your needs. Serums, on the other hand, are generally considered to be of a higher quality and tailored to address more specific needs.

Serums
Serums typically contain active ingredients that you want to penetrate deeply into your skin. This is why you’ll want to apply a serum to your skin immediately after cleansing and before moisturizing or applying sunscreen. They can be used morning and night and, while they will not replace your moisturizer, they may enhance its effects. Serums are made to address a variety of issues. Some contain skin brighteners, others prevent acne, while still others offer anti-aging properties. While they tend to bear a somewhat heftier price tag than creams and lotions, they are also more potent and a small quantity can go a long way. Bottom line: moisturizers are great for hydrating and preventing water loss, but when the going gets tough, it may be time to call in the serum.

What do you think? Does formula make a difference, or is it all about ingredients? Let us know!

Developing A Skin Care Routine Based On Your Skin’s Needs

Woman at mirror

When it comes to relationships, you know you need to consider the needs of your partners in order form a loving, solid, lasting relationship. But what about when it comes to your skin? Your skin has needs too. Are you listening to your skin? What is it trying to tell you? Are you giving it the attention it requires to perform at its peak and feel special and adored at all times? When it comes to developing a skin care routine, you need to take the needs of your skin into account in order to form a nurturing, healthy bond. Here are some tips for determining the right way to meet the needs of your skin for a more fulfilling relationship.

Simple Routine
An essential routine should be followed by everyone, regardless of skin type. A good general morning routine should consist of a cleanser, followed by and exfoliant, and topped off with a hydrating moisturizer with a built in SPF. An evening routine is basic repeat of the morning, only the SPF component of the moisturizer is not required. Daytime and nighttime moisturizers can be applied around the eyes as a substitute for eye cream, but if an additional eye cream is used, choose one with sunscreen for daytime application and one without sunscreen for the night, as with the moisturizer.

Woman using toner

Advanced Routine
If a specific skin issue needs to be addressed, such as signs of aging, uneven skin tones, large pores, and breakouts more advanced action may be called for. If this is the case, your routine may look something like this:

  • Cleanser
    A gentle cleanser should be applied first to remove debris and allow your skin to receive the maximum benefits from your other products.
  • Toner
    Toners contain replenishing ingredients to hydrate and refresh the surface of the skin after cleansing. They also smooth and calm skin, minimizing redness and the appearance of dry patches. Those will oily skin will notice tightening of the pores after repeated toner usage.
  • Exfoliant
    Exfoliants remove dead skin build up for noticeable skin renewal and elimination of dullness. Choose products with AHAs to exfoliate the skins surface, and BHAs which go deeper to penetrate oil that can clog pores and worsen the appearance of deep wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Acne Treatment (If Needed)
    If acne is an issue, a topical treatment with benzoyl peroxide is recommended to kill bacteria and prevent new blemishes from appearing. Use after exfoliation with AHAs and BHAs for maximum benefit.
  • Skin Lightening (If Needed)
    If dark spots and discoloration are a problem, skin lighteners with hydroquinone can fade spots within 8 to 12 weeks of use. Ongoing use will help to maintain results, as will the use of a broad spectrum sunscreen.
  • Serum
    Serums are packed with antioxidants and anti aging ingredients to help protect your skin from environmental damage. Apply twice daily to keep skin looking young and radiant.
  • Anti-aging Moisturizer (With Sunscreen For Daytime, Without For Night)
    Every skin type can benefit from a good moisturizer. When used daily, moisturizers, whether in cream, lotion, or gel form, work to hydrate skin keeping it plumped and noticeably younger.
  • Targeted Solutions
    Targeted solutions are optional products that can be used as an extra step to calm or hydrate skin, absorb an excess of oil, or address a certain issue, such as those related to aging. Examples of targeted solutions include facial masks, lip care, and mattifiers.

What do you do to make sure the needs of your skin are being met? Let us know! We love to hear from you!

Vitamin A Derivatives That Improve Skin Texture, Tone, and Color

As is the case with many of the best discoveries, the use of vitamin A as a wrinkle control agent happened largely by accident. It all began in the laboratories of Dr. Albert Kligman in the 1960’s when the controversial dermatologist began to experiment on prisoners with a vitamin A derivative called tretinoin as an acne treatment. Imagine the delight of the incarcerated men to discover not only the disappearance of their acne, but a noticeable decrease in wrinkles and smoother skin tones!

Woman applying vitamin A on her skin

Vitamin A and its derivatives have often been referred to as the “gold standard of skin care,” a paragon of excellence against which all other skin care products can be measured. If you are thinking of incorporating some vitamin A into your routine, here are some things you may want to know.

Retinoids
Retinoids are also known as the generic term for tretinoin, retin-A, or differin, and are available only by prescription. They are absorbed directly into the skin cells which makes them highly effective against hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and acne.

The downside of this miracle cream is its likelihood to cause skin irritation. Retinoids are often associated with redness and peeling and require adjustment to the dosage to combat these side effects. The key with these products is keeping the applied amount to a minimum. A pea-sized amount should be enough for the whole face, and a larger quantity is unnecessary.

Retinol
Retinol is vitamin A in its pure form and is an over the counter alternative to harsher retinoids. While the conversion to retinoic acid will decrease the potency of the retinol, it should still be effective enough to bring noticeable results. Although retinol may trigger minor irritation, side effects should generally subside over time as the skin grows more accustomed to the treatment.

Retinyl Palmitate
This combination of retinol and palmitic acid is one of the less effective vitamin A derivatives. While it does convert to retinoic acid, the process often takes so long that by the time it is completed, the product has lost most of its ability to affect the DNA of the cell. As a result, you would need a very high concentration of retinal palmitate to have significant effect, and most cosmetic companies who use it as a source of vitamin A usually do not put enough of it in their serums and creams to make a difference.
The bottom line: If retinyl palmitate is not combined with other vitamin A derivatives, it is almost useless.

Retinaldehyde
Retinaldehyde is a potent over the counter form of vitamin A which is commonly perceived to be the closest to retinoic acid without the irritating side effects. However, it is important to take note of content in your product. In order to be effective, a retinaldehyde concentration of 0.05% to 0.1% needs to be present. This is the equivalent of a 0.025 tretinoin. The biggest side effect of retinaldehyde will be the lightening of your purse. Most skin care products containing substantial amounts of the ingredient will be on the high-end side in price, so be prepared to pay for quality.

Other Advice
Be aware that vitamin A is not stable and tends to lose potency when it interacts with sunlight. Creams and serums are therefore best applied at night. Do not use a cleanser with retinoids, as the retinoids depend on contact with skin to achieve full benefit and should not be washed away. When purchasing retinoids, look for packaging that minimizes exposure to air and light which can affect the stability of the vitamin.

Let us know your choice when it comes to choosing Vitamin A derivatives. Which ones work best for you?

The Correct Amount of Product

Friends applying skin care products

If a little of something is good, then more must be better, right? Not so when it comes to beauty products. Use too little and you won’t get the full benefit of the products you’ve invested your hard-earned money in. Use too much and you can waste product, along with causing buildup and breakouts. Below is a cheat sheet for you to find out just how much of your most-used products to use.

Makeup Remover
If you’re looking for convenience, look no further than pre-soaked makeup remover wipes. Some wipes need to be dampened with water before use, others you take straight to your face. For those of you who prefer your makeup remover in a bottle, simply moisten a cotton pad with just enough product to saturate it, then gently remove your makeup.

Facial Cleanser
For regular liquid cleansers, a nickel-sized amount of product is enough to properly wash your face and neck. If you’re using a foam cleanser, one pump is all you need. Massaging the product into your skin first, before using a washcloth or other scrubbing device will ensure your skin is getting the benefit of the product!

Exfoliator
When using a physical exfoliator, like a facial scrub, a dime-sized amount is all you need. Chemical exfoliators (such as glycolic acid or lactic acid) can typically be used in smaller amounts; a pea-sized amount will do.

Mask
Depending on the face mask, a nickel-sized amount will be enough to cover your face and neck. Typically, masks call for a thin layer of product and using more doesn’t make the product work any better. Some masks, on the other hand, you won’t need to apply to your entire face, so start with a pea-sized amount and add more if needed.

Toner
For toners that come in a spray bottle, 2-3 spritzes across the face and neck are all you need. Regular liquid toners can be applied to a cotton pad and then wiped across the face and neck.

Serum
A serum is a concentrate of skin-loving ingredients, so a little goes a long way. Start with a pea-sized amount to apply to your face and neck and only use more if you need it.

Moisturizer
Whether you are using daytime or nighttime facial moisturizer, a dime-sized amount will suffice when applying it to your face and neck. Your skin should never feel greasy or dry after applying moisturizer, so if you find that your skin cannot absorb that much product, you may need a lighter formula, and if your skin is still dry— a richer formula.

Eye Cream
Apply your eye cream by gently dabbing a pea-sized amount of product around the corners and underneath of each eye with a pinky or forefinger to prevent tugging.

Sunscreen
This is one product most people don’t use enough of! For your face alone, use a nickel-sized amount for adequate protection. For covering the rest of your body, use the equivalent amount of a full shot glass.