The Lowdown On Anti-Ageing Serums
The Lowdown On Anti-Ageing Serums

The Lowdown On Anti-Ageing Serums

Few skincare products work as hard as serums do. Packed full of active ingredients, they are one of the most vital steps of your beauty routine – particularly when it comes to anti-ageing. Unlike your creams, they have a thin, lightweight texture which means they absorb fast and penetrate deeper, allowing their key ingredients to do all the talking. To find out why these skin saviours should not be left out of your regimen, dermatologist and aesthetic doctor Usman Qureshi is on hand…

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Firstly, Understand A Serum’s Benefits

“Unlike a moisturiser, serums have a lipid-soluble base which simply means active ingredients can penetrate your skin better. They don’t lie on the surface and can sink down quite deep. It’s why we recommend using the most effective ingredients inside your serum. You can get highly-concentrated doses of, say, vitamin C or retinol directly into your skin, which is what makes serums so great for targeting ageing concerns like wrinkles, dullness and pigmentation.”

Don’t Be Put Off By Prices

“Serums soak into your skin better than any other product. Pair that with the fact that they contain concentrated doses of effective ingredients and it’s easy to see why they are often more expensive than some other skincare products on the market. Don’t be put off by this – given they are highly effective and known for driving results, it’s a part of your routine you don’t want to scrimp on.”

Invest In The Right Ones

“I recommend investing in a serum which contains retinol (vitamin A). This key ingredient works hard to reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles while boosting collagen production and, as a result, better skin texture. If you’re looking to prevent the signs of ageing, look for formulas containing antioxidants, including vitamins C and E as these work to minimise damage from blue light (from your digital devices), UVA/UVB and pollution – all of which are key factors in signs of premature skin ageing.”

Keep Your Routine Balanced

“Though it’s good to use serums with potent ingredients, it’s important you keep a balance. If you’re using a formula that contains retinol or exfoliating AHAs/BHAs, follow up with a moisturiser that is soothing and gentle. This will seal your complexion with a hit of hydration and keep any tightness or inflammation at bay. Use creams containing hyaluronic acid or ceramides. It’s also important you introduce a potent serum gradually. Don’t overdo it from the off – incorporate it slowly into your routine and always follow up with SPF to keep skin protected and to ensure it’s not overly sensitised.”


Layer Up The Right Way

“Your serum should be the first product you apply post-cleanse. The rule is always layer your products in order of consistency – so work from the lightest, thinnest formula through to thickest, which is often your moisturiser. Applying moisturiser after applying your serum seals in its goodness and all the actives inside, allowing them to get to work properly and deliver results at a quicker rate. You can apply a serum both morning and night – especially hydrating formulas with hyaluronic acid –  though if you’re using a retinol-based one, only use this in the evening. This is because they sensitise the skin – especially when in contact with UV rays – so it’s best to apply at night and follow up with SPF the next day. As for antioxidant serums – those with vitamins C or E – you’ll find they work best in the morning as they help protect skin from the damage of pollution, free radicals and environmental stressors – in short, everything you face throughout the day.”

Know That Retinol Isn’t Essential

“Retinol is one of few ingredients proven to yield anti-ageing results, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. If you find your skin can’t tolerate a vitamin A-based serum, don’t fret – there are other anti-ageing ingredients that work as hard, including bakuchiol and niacinamide. Both work in a similar way to retinol – they boost cell turnover, as well as better collagen production within the skin, while taking down inflammation and uneven tone, too. Plus, they’re incredibly gentle and well-tolerated by all.”

Finally, Always Use One With A Moisturiser

“We’ve already touched on this, but often I see clients who say they only use a serum as it’s potent enough alone. While they are a great preventative tool, they’re not enough to overhaul your complexion, in the same way a moisturiser isn’t enough on its own to keep the signs of ageing at bay. Both products need one another and neither replace the other. You don’t need a lengthy routine, but you do need to invest in these two products as they complement one another perfectly, allowing for maximum penetration of vitamins, active ingredients and nutrients. Always finish your routine with SPF too – we all know by now that UV damage is the key cause of premature ageing and skin wrinkling, so it pays to maintain protection at all times and at all ages.”


5 Anti-Ageing Serums We Rate:

Best For Antioxidant Protection:

Multi Correxion Revive & Glow Vitamin C Serum, £35.99 | RoC

RoC’s popular serum is often dubbed a ‘powerhouse’ for its potent formula. Using high levels of vitamin C, it’s balanced by emollient castor oil and glycerine – both ingredients hydrate and soften skin, while the former gets to work brightening up dullness and ridding uneven tone. It’s a must-try for those looking to smooth pigmentation.


Best For Dark Spots:

DermalQuench Liquid Lift+, £94 | Kate Somerville

This clever formula is dispensed as a foam for faster absorption. Using retinol, it works hard to minimise pigmentation and dark age spots with regular use. It does all this with little to no irritation, thanks to a hefty dose of hyaluronic acid that seals in moisture and cushions any harsh effects from the vitamin A. It feels good on your skin, too – never drying or stripping, unlike some retinol-based formulas.


Best For Smoothing Skin:

Metacell Renewal B3, £120 | SkinCeuticals

While no product miraculously rids wrinkles, this one certainly blurs and diffuses them over time. That’s thanks to niacinamide and collagen-boosting peptides. We love the immediate glow and plumpness this formula gives the skin and the fact that it works for all skin types.



Best On A Budget:

Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum, £32.95 | No7

You can always rely on No7’s formulas to perform. This one uses peptides, retinly (a gentler form of retinol), hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to smooth, firm and tone skin with minimal irritation. With regular use, your skin will have better texture and smoothness.


Best For Glow:

Youthbomb Serum, £185 | Beauty Pie

Promising to plump, lift and firm skin, this serum was one of the industry’s top-selling products last year – and with good reason. Formulated in conjunction with Dr Andrew Markey – a consultant dermatologist and dermatological surgeon – it uses ingredients like niacinamide and 18 skin peptides to strengthen, firm and brighten skin within weeks. Regular use is proven to reduce enlarged pores, minimise fine lines and boost better glow and hydration. It has a gel-texture that’s satisfying, too.


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