The Facts of Face Serums

by Maddy Selner, Contributing Writer

It is moisturizing, but you still use moisturizer. It can be oily, but it is not face oil. It can be watery, but is it essence? So many questions exist about the enigmatic product that is face serums. If you are just as confused as I am about the benefits and sheer existence of face serums; fear not, you are definitely not alone. Skincare should never stress you out, so follow this serum cheat sheet for healthy, glowing skin!

Serum is a skincare product you can apply after cleansing, but before moisturizing, with the intent of directly applying active ingredients onto the skin to combat issues such as rosacea or even wrinkles. Due to its smaller molecules, serum can easily penetrate deep into the skin and deliver a high concentration of quality ingredients. This makes them an excellent tool for targeting specific skincare concerns.

These products can also be packed with moisturizing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides, but that does not mean you should stop applying your daily moisturizers. Face lotions and creams are richer and usually heavier as well. They create a barrier on top of the skin to keep all the rejuvenating ingredients you just applied locked into your skin.

Although serums penetrate deeper and deliver active ingredients, they only moisturize to a minimal extent. By eliminating a traditional moisturizer, you risk potential skin issues like severe dryness and redness. Due to their potency, the powerful ingredients in serums can possibly irritate sensitive skin. Therefore, you should use them sparingly and in conjunction with a trusted moisturizer.

If you feel the urge to try this face craze, do not feel pressured to spend extensive amounts on high-end products. There are cost-effective serums on the market that provide all of the beneficial properties found in expensive formulas. According to the founder of Murad Inc. Howard Murad, M.D., it is crucial to look at the ingredients to “make sure that they not only address your skin concerns, but also that they don’t contain harmful additives that can be detrimental to healthy skin”

For a truly valuable serum, keep an eye out for ingredients like antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and hydrators. Antioxidants, such as pomegranate extract, vitamin C and grape seed extract help protect against sun damage and attempt to combat much of skin aging and fine lines. Anti-inflammatories, such as zinc, arnica, aloe vera and goldenseal, neutralize redness and prevent inflammation. Hydrators like ceramides, amino acids and essential fatty acids strengthen the skin’s barrier. These ingredients protect against dryness and fine lines by replenishing skin lipids, which, in turn, improves moisture retention. Below are some product recommendations to jump-start your journey to firmer, smoother and better-moisturized skin!

If you have acne-prone skin: Look for vitamin C. This will increase collagen production, enhance the skin’s repair process and reduce inflammation. The antioxidant Retinol will also reduce inflammation. Zinc soothes irritation and regulates oil production. which will help combat clogged pores. Try: The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Gel


If you have dry skin: Look for vitamin E, another antioxidant, which protects your skin cells from oxidative damage. Niacinamide helps improve your skin’s elasticity and increase moisture levels. Glycolic acid gently exfoliates, while lightening any discoloration. Hyaluronic acid, a hyrdrator will help retains moisture. Try: Hydraluron serum


If you are feeling a bit dull: Look for antioxidants such as green tea extract, resveratrol or ferulic acid. These ingredients increase the effectiveness of sunscreen by day and promote skin repair at night. Try: Neroli Firming Serum

There are a plethora of face serums on the market, so get to know your skin before jumping on the bandwagon with a serum that is not quite right for you. No matter your budget or skin needs, adding this product to your routine is a must.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

  1. Contributor, Murad. “What Is Essence Skin Care? | The Murad Skin Care Blog.” Murad Blog. December 15, 2015. Accessed February 07, 2017.

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