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Facial serums are skin care products that the skin can absorb rapidly. They are formulated to contain high doses of ingredients, including actives such as vitamin C and retinol. They are not moisturizers. Instead, they are an additional step in a skin care routine selected to address specific skin concerns.
- Vitamin C face serum: SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF
- Face serum for acne: Avena Cleanance Concentrate Blemish Control Serum
- Face serum for sun damage: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
- Anti-aging face serum: Klur Stellar Restoration
- Low cost retinoid face serum: The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion
- Face serum for rosacea and redness: REN Clean Skincare Evercalm Anti-Redness
- Anti-aging face serum: True Botanicals Chebula Active Immunity Serum
- Face serum for wrinkles: Skin Authority Wrinkle Reversing Serum
- Brightening face serum: Peach & Lily Purifying White Waterful Serum
- Face serum for dark spots: SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense
- Face serum for dry skin: Bioderma Hydrabio Serum
- Face serum for sun damage: Eminence Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum
While many facial serums make claims about their benefits, limited scientific data is available to support these claims. The potential uses and benefits of a serum will depend on the ingredients and their concentration.
Many serums use active ingredients such as:
Face serums are generally considered safe. They are available without a prescription. However, because face serums deliver concentrated doses of active ingredients such as vitamin C or hyaluronic acid, people should exercise caution when trying them for the first time.
Pregnant people should exercise caution when selecting skin care products. Using products made with concentrated forms of vitamin A, such as retinol, can harm a developing fetus. Pregnant people should avoid skin care products that contain retinoids or other harmful ingredients.
People who are already using prescription or high dosage skin care products should check with their healthcare providers before using face serums to ensure they are not taking in unhealthy levels of powerful ingredients, such as retinoids.
When introducing a new active ingredient to the skin, there is a possibility of side effects such as:
If a person experiences these symptoms, they should reduce the frequency and dosage of the serum or stop using it altogether if symptoms do not reduce.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends trying just one new product, like a facial serum, at a time. Starting several new products all at once, particularly anti-aging products, can irritate the skin and make it difficult to determine which products are beneficial.
It is also helpful to perform a patch test for a week before using a new product on facial skin. A patch test involves applying small amounts of the new product on the inner forearm for a few days to check for reactions.
A skin serum will not be effective if it is not used properly. The best time to apply face serum is after cleaning the skin and before applying moisturizer.
Facial serums are concentrated, so people should only use a small amount to cover the facial skin.
No single skin care product can address all skin health needs. To pick out the best face serum, a person should first decide what skin concern they want to address, such as wrinkles or acne.
Look for a face serum that is a good fit for individual concerns and needs. For example, a person should choose a face serum that suits their skin type, such as oily, dry, combination, or aging.
Some people may wish to find products that are hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic, which means they are less likely to cause allergic reactions or acne.
Products do not have to be expensive to be effective, and serums are available to suit various budgets.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
Vitamin C face serum
This is an oil-free vitamin C face serum designed for people with oily or blemish-prone skin.
SkinCeuticals claims this serum can reduce skin oiliness and wrinkles, and improve skin texture.
The ingredients include:
- 15% L-ascorbic acid
- 0.5% silymarin
- 0.5% ferulic acid
- 0.5% salicylic acid
This serum costs $166 for a 30ml bottle.
Face serum for acne
Made with Avene Thermal Spring Water, this water-gel serum is safe for adolescents and adults.
It is suitable for oily skin and should be used after cleansing in the morning and evening.
Avena claims that this product can be used safely alongside other acne treatments and can reduce the appearance of pores.
This serum costs $28.00 for 30ml.
Face serum for sun damage
This antioxidant face serum is fragrance- and oil-free, and certified cruelty-free.
Drunk Elephant claims it can reduce the signs of sun damage and aging while hydrating the skin. It stays active on the skin for up to 72 hours and should be applied in the morning.
Customers must mix a powder and liquid to create the fresh activated serum.
This serum costs $78.00 for 28ml.
Anti-aging face serum
Klur states that this serum may even out skin texture, helps calms inflammation, and increases skin clarity.
People should use it at night and no more than 3 times a week.
This serum costs $110.00 for 30ml.
Retinoid face serum
This serum uses forms of retinoid that The Ordinary states may reduce the signs of aging better than other retinoid products, without causing irritation.
The company recommends people patch test the serum, before using it on facial skin. People should not use it in combination with other retinoid products.
Use only in the evening after cleansing, and refrigerate after opening.
This serum is vegan and free from oil, silicones, nuts, and gluten.
This low-cost serum sells for $9.80 for 60ml.
Face serum for rosacea and redness
This cruelty-free skin serum contains milk protein, seaweed extract, and arnica. Ren claims it may calm and soothe the skin while reducing redness and irritation.
It should be used morning and/or night before moisturizing.
This serum costs $58.00 for 30ml.
Anti-aging face serum
True Botanicals claims that this anti-aging serum may reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
After morning and evening cleansing, users can apply one half or full drop to their faces.
This serum costs $90.00 for 30ml.
Face serum for wrinkles
Skin Authority claims that this lightweight serum reduces the appearance of fine lines, by plumping skin folds and smoothing skin texture.
This serum is designed for use after morning cleansing.
This serum costs $155.00 for 15ml.
Brightening face serum
Peach and Lily claims that this serum can brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots.
It contains various ingredients from botanical sources, including green tea extracts, mushrooms, and arbutin. It also contains niacinamide.
It is suitable for all skin types.
This serum costs $39.00 for 50ml.
Face serum for dark spots
SkinCeuticals claims that this serum may reduce the appearance of dark spots and improves skin tone.
- 3% tranexamic acid
- 1% kojic acid
- 5% niacinamide
- 5% HEPES
It is suitable for people with all skin types.
This serum costs $98.00 for 30ml.
Face serum for dry skin
Bioderma claims that this face serum may increase the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Made specifically for people with dry skin, it is noncomedogenic, meaning it will not block pores.
People can use this serum in the morning and evening.
This serum costs $27.99 for 40ml.
Face serum for sun damage
This serum is suitable for use by people with all skin types. Eminence claims that this face serum helps reduce the appearance of sun-induced skin damage.
Its active ingredients include vitamin C and other antioxidants, which work together to brighten the skin and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
This serum costs $110.00 for 30ml.
Face serums are concentrated skin products that deliver high doses of active ingredients for rapid absorption into the skin. Different serums may address different skin concerns, including acne, redness, and signs of aging.
They are generally considered safe, but pregnant people or those already using high dosage skin care products should review ingredients carefully before use. Patch test new face serums to test for skin reactions before use.