Skin serums are like this season’s Hollywood “it” girl. Suddenly they’re everywhere and everyone is using them. But what are skin serums used for? If you’re reading this, you’re probably new around here so grab a cup of coffee and listen close to a tale from the cutting edge of skin care science…
Here’s how skin serums like vitamin C serum and hyaluronic acid serums work:
To make your skin look smooth, ten years younger, vibrant, glowing, beautiful and sexy: You’re going to need to encourage your skin cells to die.
Skin serums and cell death
Cell death is a normal part of healthy skin. Our skin cells die every day, just as new skin cells are born every day. While this processes can sound a little scary, It’s a a normal part of maintaining healthy skin.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the rate of cell death and the rate of new cell growth are intrinsically related.
When our old, feeble cells are “seared” away by the acidic qualities of a good skin serum, special nearby cells trigger a process of new cell creation in order to replace the cells that just died. For this reason you’ll often see skin serums say that the serum “promotes cell turnover”. What we mean by “cell turnover” is really this process of killing feeble cells and encouraging the birth of new ones. In with the new, out with the old. And so on.
What does skin serum do?
When you gently apply a thin layer of skin serum to your face, it literally destroys a very small portion of the epidermal layer of skin. Depending on the size of the molecules in any particular serum, this effect may be limited to the very surface of the skin, or may permeate deeper layers if the molecules are able to penetrate the skin barrier.
The action of the skin serum causes the older cells of the epidermis to die and slough off. Again, this process of cell death is a vital part of growing new cells. As old cells die, new cells are created.
Within a couple days of regular serum applications most users will see that new, glowing layers of skin have been revealed. Skin will look revitalized, younger and healthier. People who use skin serums use words like “glowing skin” and “radiant skin” to describe the look of these new skin cells being visible on the surface. The reality is that what we call “glowing” and “radiant” is just “newer”. The old, lifeless looking skin on the epidermis has been removed and the newer, lower levels of skin are now what’s showing.
If that were all skin serums like Vitamin C serum did, that would already be enough for most people. But the real magic of many serums is what happens next — beneath the surface.
Skin serum reverses the signs of aging
If it sounds like this claim can’t possibly be true, we don’t blame you for thinking that. But the science is clear. Repeated destruction of a small number of cells stimulates collagen production and reverses the visible signs of aging. To put it simply, our skin responds to the loss of cells caused by skin serum by jumping into overdrive and creating new cells at a faster rate.
Some skin serums get absorbed by the skin better than others. C serum for example (Ascorbic acid) is absorbed more easily than some other types of skin serum. When microscopic amounts of C serum enter your pores, they begin to do “microscopic damage” to a small number of subsurface skin cells. By “damaging” the skin on a microscopic level, your skin cells become stimulated to “hurry up” and produce new skin cells and collagen. Typically as we get older our skin produces less collagen, which causes skin to look wrinkled and tired.
By using skin serum on a daily basis, our skin naturally begins to heal itself at a faster rate to compensate for the daily destruction of cells. Faster cell growth means faster collagen growth. And a build-up of collagen is exactly what makes skin look supple, plump and younger.
When you combine the amazing one-two punch of stripping away the surface layer of skin, with C serum’s amazing ability to stimulate collagen production deep within the skin, it’s easy to see why skin serums are taking the world by storm.
Can you apply too much skin serum?
Because skin serum encourages cell death and cell turnover, many people wonder if it’s possible to use too much serum. Can you kill too many cells? What happens if your skin serum is too strong?
The answer is yes. It’s possible to apply serum too often or apply a serum that’s too strong for your skin. While it isn’t dangerous, what you’ll probably start to feel is something akin to a sunburn. Your skin may look red and slightly inflamed if you start to sear away a bit too much skin on a daily basis. What’s happening is that your new skin growth isn’t happening quite as fast your serum is clearing older cells.
If that happens, don’t worry. You’ll probably need to take a day or two away from your face serum before starting again. Your skin might look a little red (probably more like a pinkish color) for a day. Once your skin looks like itself again, it’s time to start applying skin serum regularly again.
The good news is that with regular skin serum use, your skin will eventually become accustomed to the strength of your skin serum.
Cell turnover gets faster
As we age, the rate at which our cells turn over actually slows down. This is one of the reasons our skin starts to look lifeless and dull as we get older. What we’re really noticing is that there are a lot of dead cells accumulating on the epidermal layer. With regular applications of skin serum or face serum, your skin “learns” to keep reproducing new, healthy skin at a faster rate in order to keep up with your serum applications.
In other words, with regular applications of serum, the skin cells on your face will begin to behave a lot like younger cells. They’ll turn over quickly.