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Layering Serum Products

Are More Products Really More Effective?

An Interview with Dr. Hal Simeroth, Founder and Chief Technical Officer for Stemology Skincare

As we know, not all products are created equal. Some products can be used in combination while others can give users a bad reaction when combined. With skincare products becoming increasingly more effective and potent, I often get asked about layering serum products. Is it safe? Is it more effective? Is there such thing as putting on “too much” product? So, today I want to discuss some of the most common questions and concerns when it comes to layering serum products.

Q:           Why layer serums? What’s the advantage of using 2 or more serums versus one? 

A:            Serums often only target one specific skin concern, and people often choose a serum because they usually have a higher concentration of a needed active to address one of those specific concerns (retinol for wrinkles, for example). Some may be focused on delivering antioxidants, others on delivering retinoids, others on skin discoloration such as brown spots or sunspots, and others simply feature a special active that is popular. If you want to cover all of the bases, and enlist a more focused approach to targeting specific skin concerns, you may very well need to layer on more than just one. A few serums have actives that address multiple skin aging issues. But even so, layering can offer a more targeted approach to addressing skin concerns.

Q:           Is there a limit to how many serums you should use at one time?

A:            No, there is not. However, with that being said, the best practice would be to use a multi-purpose serum and then one to two additional serums to further address and target a particular skin concern. However, it’s important to advise clients not to apply too much of any one serum. People often apply too much thinking it will be better, which is not usually the case. A thin layer pressed into skin is best and will get the same result, without all the extra layers and the time needed to let serums dry-down or set in between applications.

Q:           Are there any products that should not be used together?

A:            Be careful about using products that have topical retinoids. There is a limit to the amount that can used before irritation begins, and that can vary based on the sensitivity of your skin. Clients might not be aware that they can be using multiple products where each contain retinoids and, even though individually they are fine, the summation can be irritating. So, always ask your clients what products they are using at home and take the opportunity to educate them on retinoids and potential skin irritation.

Q:           What should I advise clients to look for if they want to combine treatment products?

Treatment products, such as serums, contain the most potent dose of anti-aging ingredients you can find in nonprescription products. It is really the combination of active ingredients that defines the serum – with the main six categories being antioxidants, peptides, retinol, growth factors, alpha and beta hydroxyl acids, and unique botanicals. A well-designed serum, which addresses a particular issue, will select multiple actives that are proven to help with the issue, and not just rely on a single active (e.g. such as Ferulic acid, or Vitamin C).  Be sure the serums clients are using together do not perform the same function or they will end up with duplication and wasted money. Also, if the client has a tendency for oily skin and/or breakouts, be sure that combining products do not deliver too much oil to the skin, which can cause further break outs.

Q:           What’s the best way to apply treatment products when layering?

A:            Once the skin has been cleansed and toned, apply serums beginning with the singularly focused serum, and then adding on a multi-purpose serum. Press each serum into the skin well before adding the additional layer. You do not have to wait for the layer to feel completely dry, just be sure that there is no product left on the skin surface and that it has penetrated well into the stratum corneum. The carrier ingredients of the next serum layer will assist the previous layer in good active delivery. Special area serums (such as eye serum) should be applied prior to face serums. After all serum layers are applied, and sufficiently dry, then apply the daytime or nighttime moisturizer to complete the regimen

Q:           Should the serums layered be changed seasonally? If so, what combination works best for cooler fall/winter temperatures? 

A:            Serums are usually designed to address or prevent various aging issues. One aging issue is sun exposure, which is normally much greater in the warmer seasons of the year. Adding an additional antioxidant serum or an environmental exposure product would be useful during this time of year. A good daywear sunscreen will also be full of antioxidants as well. Additionally, as summer comes to an end, often times we will experience an increase in sun induced hyperpigmentation in the way of brown spots, sunspots and uneven skin tone. This is the perfect time to add a brightening serum as a way to reduce the appearance of any brown spots that may have appeared on the skin’s surface as a result of increased sun exposure.

Stemology skincare offers Cell Revive Serum Complete, which addresses all 12 signs of facial aging – including fine lines and wrinkles, skin elasticity, uneven tone, large pores, free radical damage and more – in one serum.  Additionally, Stemology offers a wide range of serums targeted to specific skin concerns including Collagen Complete, Brightening Serum, Smoothing Serum and Eye Serum Complete.

 For more information about Stemology skincare, visit http://www.medresultsnetwork.com/stemology-skincare/.

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