In part two of our Basic Beauty Steps with skincare expert Susan Fox of the Eden Beauty Group, we’re concentrating on how best to nourish our skin, post cleanse, with the help of serum and the active ingredients that work best…

STEP TWO: Choose a serum with key ingredients to nourish your skin                       Photo: Pixabay

Susan says: Your skin is the largest organ of the body and the hardest working as it is exposed to so many strains, stresses and environmental factors so what can you do to ensure it thrives and looks it’s best? Simpe. Feed it!

I like to think of my skin as a house plant, if you want it to grow well and flourish you need to hydrate and nourish it. The simplest way to feed your skin from the outside is to apply a serum. Many of my clients are unsure what they need a serum for or when to apply it. So let’s start at the beginning:

What is a serum and why do you need it?

A serum is full of active ingredients, they have a small molecular size which allows them to penetrate deeply into your skin and give it the nutrients and vitamins it needs to flourish.

I tell my clients that applying a serum is like feeding your plants with Miracle Grow…it quite simply will give it a much needed boost.

Serum are usually more expensive than moisturisers as the ingredients used tend to be more active and potent. The ingredients you should look for in a serum include Retinol, Vitamin  C, D, E, peptides, amino acids or hyaluronic acids.

Finding the best serum: Look out for the key ingredients that will give your skin the optimal boost    Photo: Pixabay

Retinol: Is a derivative of Vitamin A which has been proven to be one of the most powerful anti ageing ingredients. It is highly effective in reversing sun damage, decreasing fine lines, evening skin colour, tightening pores and stimulating collagen production.

Vitamin C: Is a very powerful antioxidant ie. It kills the free radical which cause skin to age. It also has an anti inflammatory effect on the skin and has a role in the production of collagen making it essential to the skin.

Vitamin D: Contributes to cell growth, repair and metabolism. It boosts the skin’s immune system and helps destroy free radicals. The body can produce Vitamin D through sun exposure but obviously too much sun exposure is bad for you so taking it orally and applying it topically will help give our sun deprived Irish skin a major boost.

Vitamin E: Is a protector for your skin…think of it as bouncer on a night club door, it stops the bad guy’s getting in and knocks them out if they do. It neutralises free radicals which are unstable molecules in your skin which cause premature ageing. Studies have shown that it can help protect skin from sun damage and is super hydrating.

Peptides: Are chains of amino acids that are the building blocks for protein in your skin. Collagen is a protein in your skin and as you age your collagen production reduces and your skin wrinkles and looses volume.There are lot’s of different peptides in skin care but their main function is to stimulate collagen production thus slowing down skin ageing.

Amino acids: Are proteins and are the repair system for the skin. They supply energy for the skin to metabolise and reproduce thus promoting cellular renewal. As we age cell renewal slows down and rather than producing new cells every 28 days we produce them every 30 or 40 days from age 40. They only reason you don’t have the glowing skin of a 25 year old is that your skin is not renewing itself as quickly. By feeding your skin with amino acids your cell renewal will accelerate and like magic you get your youthful glow back.

Hyaluronic acid: Is a super ingredient, it is a humectant meaning it can hold many times it’s own size in moisture. It has the ability to penetrate very deeply into the skin thus it hydrates and adds volume.

How to choose the right serum for maximum results: look out for key ingredients                  Photo: Pixabay

Which serum should I buy?

My all time favourite serum and the one I have used on my own skin for the last 15 years is the Afa gel. Afa’s are a cosmeceutical range from the USA. Cosmeceuticals are medical grade ranges developed and tested by doctors ensuring that the most potent ingredients are used. They are also put through clinical studies to prove their effectiveness. Afa serum or gel is packed full of vitamin C and acidified amino acids which means it exfoliates deeply, while increasing moisture levels by 3 times their normal amount and is also a powerful antioxidant reducing sun damage and lines.                                                              

Susan’s favourite serum: AFAs gel which exfoliates and moisturises at the same time

It is applied nightly on cleansed skin and results are seen very quickly as it stimulates cell production and removes dead skin cells. It is €66 but you only use a few drops at night so it lasts ages. It comes in 3 strengths and you should always start with mild and build up to plus and max. It is available to BUY HERE

If you have sensitive skin prone to redness the Casmara Luxury Revitalising Complex is ideal for you. It contains peptides and Vitamins ACE.

How to choose the best serum with beauty expert Susan Fox

It ensures that the vitamins penetrate deep into your skin by encasing them in proteins which penetrate and then dissolve releasing the vitamins deep down where they are needed. It is very soothing and suitable for sensitive skin types. It also smells divine and has 99% organic ingredients. It costs €54 and you can BUY HERE

Susan’s top pick for relaxing wrinkles: Casmara’s Renovating Regenerating Serum

Last but not least for powerful anti ageing with the added addition of a wrinkle relaxer try the Casmara Renovating Serum. It contains Argireline an anti ageing peptide formulated with 6 potent amino acids. It prevents repetitive facial movements (botox effect). It slows the onset of wrinkles and reduces existing ones. All for just €30 BUY HERE

Serums can be applied morning and evening on cleansed skin. I usually like to apply mine at night as it allows it time to penetrate and do its work while I sleep.

Skincare specialist Susan Fox of the Eden Beauty Group gives her expert advice on choosing the right serum

Tip: Cleanse your skin with a warm face cloth and after cleansing apply the warm cloth to your face for a few minutes. This opens pores so that the skin is more receptive when apply your serum and it will penetrate more deeply and be more effective.

Next week….Hydration.