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Be strategic with your serum


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If you’ve only just come round to serums, telling you that you need several of the things might need a little time to percolate. BUT we urge you to hear us out on this one. Because few of us have the skin of the genetically blessed, sometimes a more targeted approach is what’s needed. Yes, strategic serumming is the most efficient way to treat a multitude of skin concerns in one (albeit slightly more laborious) hit.


Just as multimasking involves applying different masks to different areas of the face in order to target specific concerns, the same principal can be applied to strategic serumming. Chances are you’re already doing it to some degree, zapping spots with salicylic acid whilst simultaneously rubbing rescue balm onto errant flakey bits; it’s just about ramping things up a notch. You might, for example, want to use a cheeky slick of azelaic acid on the hormonal breakouts along your jaw, a swipe of glycolic on your t-zone, some brightening vitamin c under the eyes and a dab of retinol on those naso-labial folds, all topped off with a slathering of hyaluronic acid. Less showy than multi-masking we grant you, but there’s nowt more satisfying than looking like you’ve made zero effort whilst reaping the rewards of all that dedicated detective work.



“The anatomy and function of skin varies all over the body; everything from thickness, hair density, oil and sweat gland distribution,” says Dr Catharine Denning, Advanced Aesthetics Doctor and Medical Director at Clinic One Point Six. “Facial skin tends to be more uniform but certainly has subtle differences depending on location. Everyone’s skin under their eyes or over their lips for example, is thinner and more sensitive so warrant formulas specifically designed for those areas - not least because you’ve got to be more cautious with actives such as glycolic and retinol there.” Then there are the areas of the face more prone to eczema such as the hairline or rosacea such as the nose. Like face mapping on steroids, strategic serumming draws on the same principals yet gives them a practical application. Or, to look at it another way, it’s being scrupulous about skincare.


It’s about being more mindful about where you apply your skincare, and taking a more expert approach. Founder of Decree Skincare, Dr Anita Sturnham says that during a treatment, she creates ‘facial zones’ so each can be targeted strategically, depending on the main concern. So which actives go where? Whilst vitamin C and retinol are touted as great all-rounders that should be slathered indiscriminately, for some, vitamin C can prompt breakouts whilst retinol isn’t advisable for areas of rosacea. In other words, it pays to really get to know your actives as well as your skin in order to identify any localized areas of concern such as wrinkles, pigmentation or breakouts and target your actives to these problem areas only.

Tackling oily sections:

These parts were made for actives – all the actives - including pore-purging AHAs as well as oil-absorbing niacinamide and rebalancing retinol. Treat with Biossance’s Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum and hydrate with Murad Clarifying Oil Free Water Gel.

Biossance’s Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum, £56

Murad Clarifying Oil Free Water Gel, £38

Breaking up break-outs:

Salicylic acid is your go-to for blitzing blemishes and also happens to be an adept anti-inflammatory making it ideal for areas of dermatitis too. Try La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Ultra-Concentrated Serum. 

La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Ultra-Concentrated Serum, £32

Quenching parched bits:

“The cheeks and periorbital areas are generally the driest on the face as oil glands are less prominent and may be most susceptible to side effects from potent active products. The neck is also quite sensitive and dryness can occur quite easily there from ingredients such as vitamin C and retinol which can also exacerbate the redness and skin sensitivity of rosacea,” says Dr Alexis Granite, American Board certified Consultant dermatologist. Instead go for Codex’s Bia Skin Superfood.

Codex Bia Skin Superfood, £48

Placating irritation:

Opt for soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients such as sea buckthorn and turmeric or the Chamomile and probiotics found in Darphin’s Intral Rescue Super Concentrate.

Darphin’s Intral Rescue Super Concentrate, £95

Minimizing Pigmentation:

Transexamic Acid as found in Skinceuticals’ Discoloration Defence Serum is excellent at tackling areas of discolouration whilst vitamin C and retinol have both been shown to help fade pigmentation (Strivectin’s Super-C Retinol Serum, £62, offers a double whammy of both ingredients).

Are you ready to get forensic about good skin?

Skinceuticals’ Discoloration Defence Serum, £85

Strivectin’s Super-C Retinol Serum, £62

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