Do Face Serums Work? The Product You Shouldn’t Do Without

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Yes, they do. If you ask yourself this question “do face serums work” at one point in time, you should know that they absolutely work.

If you have been in the beauty and skincare game for a very long time, you would understand why these products are essential. However, it could mean playing the long ball when it comes to getting results.

This is what a beginner has to understand – it takes time and consistency on your part to build your face to its natural youthful glow. Your skin type and features can also affect this.

While you see some people reap the benefits of their skincare routine and products, others may take longer. However, this does not mean your product does not work.

If you are here looking for an answer to if face serums work, you are in the right place. I will walk you through why serums work, the benefits of using one, and why it may not be working for your skin.

What Is a Face Serum?

Face serums are targeted skincare products used in treating specific skin issues on your face. The often-liquid formula contains a concentrated amount of active ingredients proven to work for skin rejuvenating purposes.

Face serums came about with the need to provide a fast-acting solution with fast results more than what a moisturizer or toner provides. The topical treatment, as a result, provides the needed rejuvenation to the skin in a short amount of time and this works by increasing the concentration levels of active ingredients.

Additionally, serums are quick-absorbing and lightweight on the skin. This helps to treat simple to complex issues over time.

Do Face Serums Work?

Yes, they definitely do. Face serums have been proven to work on skin issues. As mentioned, they contain active ingredients that penetrate the skin in concentrated doses to provide the needed treatment to the skin.

When applied, these active ingredients penetrate deep into the skin layers to reduce the effects of free radicals, soothe the skin, hydrate and restore suppleness, brighten the dull texture, or smoothen out the fold and restore elasticity.  

However, the treatment level can be different from one condition to the other. For instance, if you have dry skin in need of hydration, a hydrating serum rich in hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, or peptides would help you attract and keep moisture in your skin instantly. Nonetheless, it has to be continuous.

This is because hydration depletes over time. Consequently, to keep your skin in a hydrated cycle, you need to constantly use hydrating serums to keep your skin supple. Meanwhile, for hyperpigmentation or dark spots, your skin gets better over time with continuous use.

The formulas are made to work differently on the skin based on the skin issue. Therefore, if you want to know if your face serum is working, pay attention to the changes on your skin and the skin issue you want to treat.

Benefits You Get When Your Face Serums Work

Reduces aging signs

Free radicals attack the positive neutrons in the skin, resulting in reactions like dryness, wrinkles, fine lines, spots, and crow’s feet. This reaction affects the look of the skin. As a result, when your face serum works, it helps to reduce the effects of free radicals, which cause rapid aging.  

Face serums with ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and green tea help to reduce and firm the skin elasticity to restore your youthful look. In essence, look for serums with these ingredients to treat aging signs.

Brightens dull skin

If you have a dull face due to exposure or lack of nutrients, a face serum works to brighten your skin and keep it refreshed. It does this by removing the dead skin cells and enhancing skin cell turnover.

Furthermore, the serum keeps your skin moisturized or glossy to change the dullness of your skin to get plump and glowing skin.

Hydrates the skin

Face serums work to hydrate your skin, keeping your skin refreshed. Naturally dry or dehydrated skin needs hydrating products to keep the skin from scaling or flaking.

Furthermore, extreme dryness can cause skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Therefore, the skin needs a rejuvenating formula that keeps the skin supple.

Face serums do that and more with their hydrating components. Furthermore, they boost the effects of moisturizers meant to hydrate your skin, having a long-lasting effect on the skin.

Soothes the skin

Face serums contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that soothe irritated skin. When your skin itches, is inflamed, or irritated, a serum helps to calm the skin, restoring a semblance of balance.

Treats hyperpigmentation

Another benefit you get from a working serum is clearing all forms of discoloration and hyperpigmentation. It could be from the over-production of melanin, acne scars, or age spots. Using face serums will clear your skin of discoloration, and over time your skin gets its color back.

Reduces acne

Acne shows up on the skin due to natural, genetic, or reactive reasons. Nonetheless, they can be controlled or reduced with the concentrated ingredients of a face serum.

When a face serum works to remove acne, it uses exfoliating means or highly concentrated components like retinol to reduce the breakouts on your face. Topical retinol, for example, can treat mild to severe acne based on the concentrations in the formula.  

Controls sebum

When the skin overproduces sebum (natural oil), it could lead to clogged pores and breakouts. However, face serum regulates the production of sebum. It also balances your skin’s pH level, keeping your skin balanced with the required natural oil to moisturize the skin.

Reasons Why Your Face Serums Do Not Work

Wrong skin type

This often happens to beginners who cannot tell the difference between skin types. Before you purchase any serum for the face, be sure it is suitable for your skin. There are dry, oily, sensitive, combination, and normal skin types.

Dry skin is characterized by closed pores, which makes it difficult for hydration and moisture to penetrate the skin pores, thereby making the skin scaly and wrinkled. Oily skin, on the other hand, has enlarged pores, which over secretes sebum to fill the open pores. This leads to breaks on the skin.

Sensitive is easily irritated skin. Meanwhile, combination skin is mostly oily around the T-zone area (forehead, nose, and chin) and dry cheeks. And normal skin is not too dry or oily. However, this changes based on the climate.

If you can tell what skin type you have, you are on the right path to getting a good product.

Not getting the right product could lead to reactions and side effects on the face. Consequently, you need to pick the right face serum based on your skin type.

Wrong formula

Just as the wrong skin type will derail the work of your serum, so will the wrong formula. That is, using the wrong ingredient for the wrong skin issue.

For instance, skin that needs to correct hyperpigmentation needs brightening ingredients as active ingredients in the formula. While some ingredients are versatile and work for different issues, some do better in some areas than others.

As a result, the formula has to be of the right proportion to work effectively on your skin issue. For example, to reduce aging signs with a retinol serum, you need the formula with one percent retinol above to get effective results in no time.

Underlying conditions

Although this is rare, your serum’s stagnation could be due to some underlying skin condition. Allergies, genes, or underlying medical conditions (hormonal acne for instance) can stop your face serum from working effectively.

In the case of allergies, discontinue the product to prevent adverse reactions. However, for genetic and medical conditions, it is best to see a professional (dermatologist, esthetician) for the best solutions.

Wrong routine

This also affects beginners who need to tell the difference between morning, evening, and weekly routines. Also, placing the wrong products before the other could hinder the effectiveness of your face serum.

The rule of thumb when applying your skincare products is to go from lightest to thickest. In simple terms – cleanser, exfoliator (optional), toner, essence (optional), serum, eye cream (and other treatment creams), moisturizer, face oil (optional), and sunscreen (for morning routine).

Low-quality product

Serums are usually on the expensive side due to the concentrated active ingredients in high proportion. This, however, does not guarantee expensive face serums provide optimum results. Nevertheless, it does guarantee you will get the best options.

Reading customer reviews or expert reviews on these products would help if you are lost on what to pick from. Searching for the brand you are interested in will bring out both good and bad reviews. Therefore, you have to sieve through the reviews to identify what is malicious and what is honest.

If the consensus of a product is great, it means it is great. However, if the review is mostly bad, avoid the product.  

Do You Need Both Serum and Moisturizer?

Yes, you do. Serums provide a concentrated solution to your skin issues; however, they should not replace your moisturizer. In general, you need both a serum and moisturizer to complete your skin care regimen.

Moisturizer is a lubricating and moisturizing product that protects and seals moisture in the skin. Its primary function is to keep your skin supple. While it cannot perform targeted treatment like a serum, it does provide a long-lasting moisturizing solution to the skin.

Furthermore, a moisturizer boosts the effects of serum on the skin, just as a serum boosts the effects of a moisturizer. Consequently, they work better when layered.

While a serum treats skin issues, a moisturizer locks the ingredients in with its emollient properties, helping the ingredients work better and last longer in the skin. Pairing the products immensely helps your skin stay hydrated, supple, and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is serum necessary?

Yes, it is. Face serums are necessary for your skincare routine. They provide targeted treatment to your skin, which helps in achieving faster results.

Furthermore, serums are the most concentrated products in your skincare routine. Consequently, they work better in getting you what you want in a short time.

When should you start using face serums?

In your early twenties. Incorporate face serums in your skincare routine from your twenties. You can start with simple brightening serums to improve your dull skin or hydrating serums to keep your skin supple.

You can also use anti-aging face serums to start countering the effects of free radicals in your skin before the depleting skin cell turnover starts taking effect.

How long does it take face serums to work?

In a month. You should start seeing the difference in your skin after a month of using face serums. Some changes are gradual while some are instant. Nonetheless, your skin gets a different look after your face adjusts to the serum’s formula.

If a face serum does not work for you, trace the cause and discontinue immediately if you are reacting to the formula.


Do face serums work? Yes, they do. Face serums do help your skin in getting a brighter disposition, clear your acne spots, wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and hydrate your skin. In addition, it can do much more than these features.

However, you can experience a setback with a face serum if you are using the wrong formula or ingredients for your skin. Furthermore, it could not be working if you are experiencing outbreaks on your skin, which are related to allergenic reactions, and rare medical conditions.

Nonetheless, this does not diminish the importance of the benefits of a face serum in your routine. In general, if you feel your serum is not working for you, change the product, or formula, or start all over again.

Furthermore, be patient. Having patience is a skill you have to practice to get your set goals. So hang in there. As long as you are doing the right thing, you will get the results you want.

Thanks for reading.

Serum101 provides a skin hack to help improve your natural beauty and skincare goals.