Different Types and Benefits of Face Serum

Different Types and Benefits of Face Serum

A face serum is a great next step after cleansing and before moisturizing as it is designed to nourish, protect, and hydrate your skin.

The best way to use a face serum is as a base layer under your heavier products like moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup. Serums are thin viscosity topical products that contain concentrated amounts of active ingredients.

And since a face serum is lighter and delivers active ingredients to the skin quickly, it goes on first, after you've cleansed your skin.

The concept with a serum is that larger amounts of active molecules will potentially penetrate the skin's surface for optimum effectiveness. Also, due to the higher concentration, it typically takes a shorter amount of time to see visible results.

While younger skin generally doesn't need much more than a gentle cleanser and daily broad spectrum sunscreen, it's helpful to get into a healthy, preventative skin care regimen.

Think of a serum as the secret weapon for treating skin issues like discoloration, oxidative damage, dehydration, dullness, premature skin aging, wrinkles and fine lines, or acne and a moisturizer as the key to hydrating your skin.

You can use a face serum once or twice a day after cleansing and toning your skin. How often you apply a serum to your skin depends on your goals.

Seal the serum to maximize the benefits, which is why a moisturizer or face cream is the next step.

Benefits Of Face Serum

  • Serums are lighter skin care formulations than moisturizers thus absorbing quickly into your skin. The thinner viscosity allows the serum to be absorbed more easily into your skin. This makes a face serum an ideal first step in the layering process.
  • Serums, with their light preparations, soothes sensitive skin. Serums are often better for individuals with acne-prone or oily skin types.
  • Some face serums contain ingredients like retinol that may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Serums with ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid, green tea, resveratrol, and astaxanthin help prevent oxidative damage from ultraviolet (UV) light and pollution, which can lead to premature skin aging and wrinkles. Serums helps protect your skin from free radicals and future damage. 
  • The higher concentration of active ingredients may provide more visible results, compared with other types of skin products.
  • Because they absorb quickly into your skin, a face serum doesn’t feel heavy or greasy and feels light on your skin.

Buffet | The Ordinary

Face Serum Types And Ingredients

It's important to recognize there are different types of serums, as well as specific ingredients to look for based on your goals. Face serums generally fall into the following categories:

Anti-Aging Serums

Anti aging regimens encourage skin renewal and collagen production. This type of serum often includes retinol or bakuchiol, or both.

Retinol is a fat-soluble vitamin that has been used for centuries to treat acne and other skin conditions. It works by promoting cell turnover. Bakuchiol is an anti-inflammatory compound derived from the turpentine tree. It can help reduce redness and swelling. Retinol and bakuchiol are best applied in the evening before going to bed.

Skin Brightening Serums

Skin brightening serums are often full of antioxidants and pigment fighting ingredients to improve skin tone. Key ingredients might include things such as vitamin C, glycolic acid, kojic acid, ferulic acid, mushroom extract, licorice root, or lactic acid, among others.

Hydrating Serums

Our body make lots of hyaluronic acid, and it's attached to collagen, but as we age, we lose collagen and also lose the attached hyaluronic acid. Hydrating serums contain hyaluronic acid, a molecule that physically binds water in the skin to make it look fresh, plump, and younger.

Topical serums with hyaluronic acid can temporarily bind water in the superficial layers of the skin, which can make your skin appear fresher and dewier. It also has the ability to temporarily minimize the appearance of fine lines.

Hydrating serums often contain vitamin B5, which helps to hydrate skin, making it appear smoother and more hydrated.

Free-Radical Fighting Serums

To help prevent skin damage from free radicals, choose a serum that contains ingredients like vitamins C, A, and E, and resveratrol. Antioxidants fight free radicals that can damage healthy skin.

Acne Prone & Sensitive Skin Serums

Serums for dealing with acne often contain salicylic acid or similar plant based derivatives.

Niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3), which is a soothing, hydrating, and anti inflammatory ingredient that's combined with other active ingredients to minimize irritation and soothe sensitive skin.

Skin Texture Improving Serums

Serums with glycolic acid helps boost your skin's texture and the overall appearance of your skin.

Glycolic acid is a sugarcane derived alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) can penetrate the top layers of the epidermis to disrupt the intercellular bonds. It can also help shed the dulling, discolored, dead cells to reveal smoother, glowing skin with more uniform texture, tone, and color, she explained.

When To Use Face Serum

  • Anti-pigmentation and antioxidant serums work best when applied in the morning. This helps protect your skin against environmental assaults and free radical production produced by light, including UV and high energy visible light.
  • Anti-aging serums are often best suited for nighttime application. This allows the ingredients to work with your body’s circadian rhythm for skin repair and turnover.
  • Hydrating serums for drier skin can be applied twice daily to help keep your skin dewy and moisturized.


There are many different types of serums, each with a unique purpose and ingredients. Some serums help to brighten your skin or reduce blemishes, while others focus on boosting hydration or fighting the signs of aging.

Face serums are lightweight products that contain a high concentration of active ingredients. They absorb quickly into your skin, making them an excellent next step after cleansing.