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Harvard Health Blog
Skin serum: What it can and can’t do
About the Author
Kelly Bilodeau, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
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Can Niacinamide and Vitamin C Be Used Together?
A serum should not contain “stem cells”. What is the author thinking?
Excellent information; I will pass on to my trainees. Thanks, highly appreciated.
Thanks so much for this post. It is very helpful!! Of course I would love to know about brand names, but I understand it is not possible. Thanks again and, please, keep posting this kind of information!
Dr. Beckett makes a good point. But “serum” does seem to be the term used to market these kinds of products. If it means “watery fluid” in Latin, it is not a complete misnomer.
Please email names of recommended serums for dry, aging, brown/spotted face skin. Thank you.
We all run behind having a skin that looks gorgeous. We religiously follow a skin care routine, which includes cleansing, toning and moisturizing. But sometimes, we forget to include a very important component – serum. I have found an informative article regarding this with entitled “Anti-aging Serums for Oily and Sensitive Skin — Their Working and Impact” at zovon.
How do these serums work? How long does it take to see results? Lots of questions that were not explained in article. Recommended brand names???
what foods contain vt.C or do pills with C do the same?
also Dermadoctor Kakadu C. at Costco, Walmart $56, and Amazon. results in one week of use.
I agree with previous comments that express concern about which serums accomplish what and what scientific evidence supports these claims. I, for one am interested in serums that support the development of collagen. What are the proportions of which ingredients have been shown in clinical trials to accomplish this?
Alexandra King, Ed. D.
Looking for recommendations? I have used 2 different C serums over the last 20 years — Cellex C (one of the first, a product made in Canada) and Obagi C serum. I get compliments from many people about my skin. It looks 20 years younger than me!
The Obagi comes in 3 strengths; start with the mildest. Tretinoin is also great! Obagi alo has this. (I think you canget it on the internet now). I just saw that Dior makes a “lifting”serum. I plan to try it.
I agree with all of the comments posted. The article was like a teaser.
Phytoceuticals is a reputable serum line. Owned by chemist Dr Mustapher Omar. Dr Omar holds that patent on stabilizing L ascorbic acid(vitamin C).
What does a cream containing quinones do for the skin and what are the dangers of using it? I have been using serums for years and to tell the truth I bought this hell made from berries and what a difference it made to my skin! I use it in conjunction with a serum has caviar, torricellum and gold. An anyone comment?
I too would like to learn brand names that have close to the formulations you discuss. For the article to be helpful, I would need more specific direction, would not expect only one specific brand to be recommended but certainly a list of possibilities. The idea of the reader checking formulations with all the product out there is not really practical. You could make a disclaimer to cover liability. Otherwise your good information is not really helpful.
Please recommend some good serums. We don’t know which one to buy.
Dear Nurse Patricia Quigley:
How kind of you to mention that you’d heard high praise about one serum brand via a nurse in a plastic surgeon’s office and had even gotten samples for the serum!
I would be SO SO grateful if you would share the name of the serum and how to get samples of it. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
With many thanks and warm appreciation, wishing you much success in your own good efforts,
Some time ago, I read that tretinoin and l ascorbic acid are the only two ingredients in skin products that are evidence proven. What evidence is there for any other ingredients?
This article would have been much more helpful if it had pointed to brand names that follow the recommendations. My next stop is to see whether Consumer Reports has an article on skin serums. I too wish they’d come up with a better term than “serum.”
It would be nice to see a list of name brands that work for each condition. Serums with the right ingredients may not have the correct proportions to be effective. Trial and error can be both time and cost consuming.
I would like to see specific brand recommendations but maybe that’s advertising!
What the doc said. This was no help. Where was the what it will and won’t do part?
I support the comment made by Dr. Beckett as I have been hearing accolades for a serum brand from a nurse who worked in a plastic surgeon’s office. I have received samples of the products. I have no interest in plastic surgery but would like to trust the products that I buy for my aging skin.
Dr. Beckett is correct in requesting specific scientific documentation for claims of beneficial therapies. In today’s society, many informational propositions are without verifiable references. Not only does this promote chaos in the cultural memetic going forward, but when infiltrated into actionable medical praxis, poses a potential danger to individual well-being- and thus to society at large.
1. it would seem a good idea to note that the term “serum” here is a bit of a misnomer as a serum is defined as an animal or human protein derived material.
2. It would be helpful to cite blinded controlled clinical trials showing efficacy for even one of these products, and in fairness citing studies which have failed to show a beneficial effect.
William S. Beckett MD MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine, HMS
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