I'm sure that you've seen ampoules — those chic, clinical-looking vials of skin-saving ingredients — in a shelfie that you offhandedly bookmarked, or while browsing any retailer's new arrivals section. And even though they're little, you should still pay them major attention. While they're more of a recent trend stateside, for years, ampoule skincare products have been a staple of K-beauty routines as their potency surpasses that of a serum.
"Ampoules are highly concentrated active serums that are designed for one-time use," Dr. Hadley King, MD, a New York City dermatologist says. "The product often features one main active ingredient, and the ampoule form is designed to preserve the purity and potency of the product." And with many ampoules consisting of ingredients like retinol and vitamin C, which can degrade when exposed to light and air, the packaging serves an important purpose. "Because it's designed for one-time use, the ingredients aren't compromised by exposure to the environment," she says.
However, unlike a daily toner or moisturizer, ampoules aren't mean't to be incorporated into your skincare routine everyday. "Due to their high concentration and active ingredients, ampoules should not be used consistently," Josie Holmes, esthetician at SKINNEY Medspa in New York City, says. "They're designed to be used for a small amount of time to help treat or correct skincare concerns." That said, ampoules should be applied to cleansed skin at night, followed by a light moisturizer.
It's the efficacious ingredients packed into ampoules that set it apart from our everyday skincare staples. "Along with the retinol and vitamin C, you'll often see hyaluronic acid and ceramides in ampoules," Dr. King says. Retinol in ampoule form packs a potent dose of anti-aging properties that increase cell turnover in the skin, significantly reducing the appearance of wrinkles. For brightening, antioxidant-rich vitamin C improves the look of dull skin by repairing damaged skin cells. For dehydrated skin, hyaluronic acid and ceramides moisturize and plump the skin promoting increased collagen production.
And while you'll surely find those ingredients in other beauty products, ampoules are proving to deliver near medical-grade results without the downtime. "A lot of people want an at-home quick fix for their skincare issues, especially now, and ampoules can do just that," Holmes says. And as routine derm appointments are coming to a sudden halt, the skipping of the additives make for some much-needed skin rehab. "Ampoules are seeing a surge because there's an increased interest in active ingredients and their potency," Dr. King says. "Also, with customizable skincare being a popular trend, use of a specific ampoule to address your skin's individual needs is appealing to the consumer. It's like being your own skincare expert."
So ahead, check out five 2020 launches that will provide some serious skin deliverance.
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