A dermat with solid product formulation creds tells you which serums are worth all that plastic and the ingredients you should be scouting for - By Parizaad Khan Sethi
Dr. Kiran Lohia knows a thing (or three) about skincare. The New York-based dermatologist moved to New Delhi a few years ago and the Capital’s looked prettier ever since. Lohia’s diploma in cosmetic science means she knows way more about unpronounceable ingredients than an average dermatologist. Serums, she believes, are one product category that will supercharge a beauty routine. “They penetrate into the skin with a higher concentration of actives. I tell my patients to throw out their toners and use serums instead,” she says. We talked her into revealing the serums she finds herself recommending over and over again.
If you feel the need for an advanced degree in space engineering to figure out which anti-ageing serum to pick, Lohia breaks it down. Look for active ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, retinol, alpha hydroxy acids and hyaluronic acid. “As we age, collagen is depleted, resulting in lines and sagging. These ingredients prevent oxidative damage, hydrate the skin and increase collagen synthesis,” she explains.
Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line Concentrate contains 10.5% stabilized Vitamin C, ideal for a daily morning serum. (The form of Vitamin C used is bio-stabilized, so it won’t disintegrate once exposed to the elements.) It’s good for all skin types and free of drying alcohols (common in serums). Its gentle silicones are designed to form a fine film on the skin, so no grease-face by 11am.
Uriage Isofill Serum. Pumped up with hyaluronic acid to fill out fine lines, this product avoids alcohols and citrus oils which can cause phototoxic rashes when exposed to the sun. Mica makes it feel dry and non-greasy to the touch.
Brightening + Pigmentation
For pigmentation, Vitamin C is fantastic as are ferulic acid, kojic acid, alpha-arbutin, licorice and AHAs (to exfoliate dead and pigmented skin cells. Bioderma White Objective Lightening Fluid contains both stabilized Vitamin C to brighten and the right percentage of glycolic acid to exfoliate. It’s power-packed and really delivers, though its high alcohol content may irritate some. Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution has the super actives ferulic and retinol, which give great results, and is ideal for even the most sensitive.
When it comes to dry skin, just add Omega 3 fatty acids, ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
The primrose oil in Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate is high in Omega 3, plus other natural oils promote hydration, vitamin delivery and antioxidant effects. Squalane, another fantastic active, feels like a silicone but is natural. It hydrates, leaving a smooth, light feel. The coriander oil, however, can be mildly irritating for some.
Forest Essentials Advanced Soundarya Age Defying Facial Serum is 100% oil-based; sesame and sweet almond are highly moisturizing oils that contain Vitamin E, Vitamin A and minerals. Zit alert though, as some ingredients may be comedogenic.
is a beauty and wellness editor based in New York. She was the former beauty editor at Vogue India and now serves as a contributing editor for the magazine. At age 5, Parizaad fell in love with an old cream blush she found in the back of her mother’s drawer, and has been in awe of the transformative power of beauty ever since. When she’s not writing about beauty, she researches advances in skincare as a hobby, and is constantly guinea-pigging herself in the name of beauty.
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