Many women have an immediate positive reaction to the words “essence” or “serum,” assuming that all skin care products’ effectiveness is concentrated in these products. Recently, a customer came in with sensitivity on her eyelids and cheeks after trying a serum that claimed to have “skin revitalizing” effects. But what exactly are essences or serums, and what are their effects?
Essences or serums are generally transparent, thick liquids with smaller molecules than moisturizing lotions, making them easier to absorb by the skin. They contain moisturizing factors as their basic components, which hydrate the skin quickly. However, different companies have different serum formulas, with some including concentrated ingredients such as vitamin A, collagen, plant extracts, synthesized extracts, vitamin E, vitamin C, and skin lightening compounds. These different ingredients target different skin issues, such as vitamin A for fine lines, vitamin C for antioxidant properties, and skin lightening agents for dark spots. Some companies even claim that their serums can fight various skin problems and improve the skin’s underlying layers. But regardless of the claims, the most crucial factor to consider is the ingredients.
The serum that the aforementioned customer used contained lactic acid, glycolic acid, arbutin, salicylic acid, and kojic acid. Arbutin and kojic acid have whitening effects, while lactic and glycolic acid accelerate cell turnover. However, if these ingredients combine, there’s a higher risk of allergic reactions or irritant dermatitis. While the product claimed to “revitalize” the skin, the customer’s skin was already prone to sensitivity, and the serum caused redness and swelling.
Although the manufacturers explain the ingredients’ functions and possible side effects, consumers often don’t understand the product’s ingredients and efficacy. When hearing claims of “skin revitalization,” they assume that dead skin will miraculously come back to life. But in reality, ingredients determine the effectiveness and risks of the product. Before using any skincare product, it’s essential to understand the ingredients and effects. If the skin is prone to sensitivity, it’s even more critical to consult a doctor’s advice.