Over the years I have written a lot about serums, which is mainly because I think they are an essential skin care item. Why? Oil serums have many beneficial functions for the skin and can be blended to suit all skin types from oily, congested skin to dry and dehydrated skin. Of course it depends on the base oils used and their molecular structure…but more about that later.
I use an oil serum every night and have done so since I first discovered them. Way back when (about 10 years ago) I had blemish-prone, chemically sensitive and dehydrated skin. I didn’t leave the house without make up to cover my blotchy, reactive skin! Purely by chance I stumbled across Remedica and started using Sensitive Visage. Well I don’t think my skin knew what hit it (In a good way!). The red reactivity settled down very quickly and along with some internal work, my skin improved dramatically over the next 3 months. Ten years later, I think my skin is better than it was back then – even toned and hydrated and only very occasionally reactive (when I am doing things I shouldn’t).
The reason for the dramatic change was the oil and antioxidant rich serum. Basically my skin was starved of nutrients, water and good fats. The skin is designed to be selectively permeable. It absorbs fat soluble nutrients much more readily than water soluble ones. This is why you can use a toner but your skin still feels dry – your skin just isn’t absorbing the water based ingredients. Fat soluble oils are absorbed very easily and quickly by the skin. Once absorbed, the oils are incorporated into the cell membrane, helping to keep it flexible. A flexible cell membrane makes for a healthy cell as water and nutrients can get into the cell and toxins eliminated.
Oil based serums also help to correct the acid mantle, the protective layer of the skin that prevents moisture loss or TEWL (Trans epidermal water loss). I have written extensively about the things that disrupt the acid mantle before but to recap, they include hot water, swimming (so cold water also!), synthetic foaming cleansers and over frequent cleaning among others. Applying a serum regularly will help repair this barrier which means your skin is less likely to be dehydrated and sensitive. Please note, you need to give any skin repair program at least 6 weeks.
The other benefit of serums is that the oil based medium delivers other nutrients to the skin which are also important for cell protection. Fat soluble antioxidants protect the skin from free radical damage produced by sun exposure, pollution, chemicals in skin care and daily living. Even vitamin C, which is a water soluble vitamin has been changed to a fat soluble nutrient (by adding a fat soluble carrier) to make sure it absorbed and works effectively (don’t worry, it is still natural).
Oil absorption depends on the viscosity of the oil (thickness). Heavier oils such as macadamia, avocado and coconut remain on the skin surface longer which is better for dry skin types. Light oils such as rosehip, olive squalane and tamanu sink in more quickly without leaving a residue making them suitable for oily or congested skin types.
Our skin, like the rest of our body is resting and repairing at night. Oil serums are great to use at night to encourage this process. My picks include the following:
- For dry/dehydrated skin: Remedica Regenerate Visage, La Mav Antioxidant Rich Night Serum or TSB Rose Damask Face & Neck Serum
- For oily skin: Remedica Clair Visage
- For sensitive skin: Remedica Sensitive Visage or TSB Lavender Face & Neck Serum
- To slow ageing: One Skin System Vital Night Regenerate or Remedica Regenerate Visage