Serums used to be intimidating products because they were pricier than the rest of the items in your skincare arsenal. But they’re more commonplace now than they were about five years ago. Dermatologists even dub them as “the new moisturizers.”
Their main selling point is their ability to deliver a higher concentration of active ingredients deeper into the skin than moisturizers do. This is a godsend for people with dry skin and need an added dose of moisture daily. However, there are actually serums formulated for every type of skin.
Types of Facial Serums
Serums can be in gel, emulsion, or pressed balm form and can be oil or water-based. Water-based serums are usually recommended for oily skin types and morning use. Meanwhile, oil-based serums can be used in the evening so your skin has time to absorb it.
The most popular of this type of serum is a vitamin C booster for your face. AHAs, grape seed extract, evening primrose, fruit stem cells, peptides (buy peptides), and growth factors are other common ingredients for this kind of serum.
Here are the general types of serum and the skin type that will benefit the most from each category:
1. Hydrating serums
This type of serum amplifies the hydrating effects of your moisturizer by providing an extra layer of hydration.
When applied before your moisturizer, this kind of serum locks in the beneficial ingredients from your moisturizing formula.
Hydrating serums usually contain hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, rosewater, argan oil, sea kelp, jojoba, vitamin E, ceramide, and glycerin.
Who will benefit: Dry skin and very oily skin
2. Exfoliating serums
This kind of serum helps your skin function efficiently by unclogging pores of accumulated dead skin cells, which cause dry, dull, or even cracked skin. In doing so, your skin is able to absorb other products properly.
Exfoliating serums usually contain alpha hydroxy acids (or AHAs such as glycolic acid or lactic acid), retinol, and enzymes from fruit or plant extracts.
Who will benefit: Various skin types. Glycolic acid will work best against acne and dull skin. Lactic acid is recommended for sensitive and mature skin.
3. Anti-aging and brightening serums
Most facial serums are known for their anti-aging benefits by increasing cell turnover, repair, and renewal. Anti-aging serums make the skin smoother, firmer, and plumper.
The most popular of this type of serum is a vitamin C booster for your face. AHAs, grape seed extract, evening primrose, fruit stem cells, peptides, and growth factors are other common ingredients for this kind of serum.
Who will benefit: Mature skin, although you can begin using this type of serum as early as your 20s.
4. Acne-fighting or anti-inflammatory serums
The goal of this serum type is to help prevent acne breakouts in the first place by absorbing excess oil, unclogging or minimizing pores, and tightening skin. These serums also help heal acne scars.
They usually contain AHAs and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), citric acid, zinc, and botanical extracts like green tea, cucumber, thyme, and tea tree. BHAs, the most popular of which is salicylic acid, can penetrate deeper into the skin than AHAs. While AHAs can peel away the surface layer of the skin, BHAs can go into your pores and remove excess sebum and dead skin cells.
Who will benefit: Acne-prone and sensitive skin
5. Antioxidant serums
This type of serum protects you from free radicals or unstable molecules from pollution and ultraviolet rays that can adversely affect your skin cells, collagen production, and even your DNA.
Antioxidant serums usually contain pomegranates and Vitamin E.
Who will benefit: All skin types, particularly dull skin