Are Serums Good for Acne? Find Out if You Need One

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If you have acne, you become 101% alert for products that can help you get rid of those pesky pimples. Recommendations here and there on spot treatment creams are not news anymore. But when serums are recommended for your acne, can you trust that?

Serums may not look like it, but they are an effective treatment for various skin conditions that include acne woes. The fact that they are lightweight is a blessing to your large pores that characterize acneic skin.

However, to get the best of serums as a treatment for acne, you cannot grab or buy just any serum. This article details how effective serums are in treating acne and what serums you should use.

Should You Use Serum if You Have Acne?

Applying serum to your skin if you have acne shouldn’t be a bad idea if you have the right formula. Acne is a sensitive skin condition that can get worse if the wrong products or ingredients are used.

Serums are lightweight products that quickly absorb into the skin and leave no residues. They are very soothing and least likely to aggravate acne when used.

Dermatologists and other skin experts advise that you include serums in your acne skincare routine. To effectively manage acne, use a serum after cleansing your skin and moisturize afterward.

Can Serums Help Acne?

Yes, they can. As mentioned earlier, the lightweight and quick-absorbing nature of serums makes them exceptionally good for acne skin. Moreover, they have anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe inflammatory acne.

Serums are highly hydrating. Moisture is a vital key to managing most skin problems. The topical application of a serum that contains hyaluronic acid will hydrate your skin and help calm the discomfort around acne-affected skin.

Using serum on your acne skincare routine makes acne manageable. You can call them a miracle product for acne woes.

Can Serum Treat Acne?

Serums are treatment products for skin concerns like acne. They contain high concentrations of active ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, niacinamide, and glycolic acid.

These ingredients penetrate your skin and help in their capacity to tackle acne from the roots.

More so, a serum can effectively prevent acne breakouts by regulating sebum production and preventing your pores from being clogged. A hyaluronic acid-based serum provides the optimum hydration that is required to maintain steady moisture levels.

Such serums are good for acne. It keeps your skin moisturized, controls sebum (oil), and helps to effectively manage existing breakouts.

Can Serum Cause Acne?

There are conditions where the serums you use are the reason why you break out with acne. For instance, when you overuse serums, they turn against your skin.

Serums are not permanent skincare products. Therefore, when your skin clears out, you should cut down on the use.

Also, products like hyaluronic acid are natural humectants. When you overuse a hyaluronic acid serum, it may turn against your skin and strip it of its natural oils. Consequently, your skin gets too dry, overcompensates, and breaks out with acne.

Additionally, ingredients that stimulate cell turnover can purge your skin and cause acne breakouts. When you use a serum that contains the wrong ingredients, comedogenic or heavy ingredients, there are chances that your skin will develop acne breakouts.

A commonly overlooked thing with serums is how they are stored. Vitamins don’t fare well with exposure to sunlight, and serums are concentrated with vitamins.

When you expose your serum to sunlight, it denatures the vitamins and renders your serum useless and harmful to your skin.

Consequently, you have a weakened barrier, excessive dryness, and then your skin overcompensated and becomes oily. This puts your skin in a vicious cycle of acne breakouts.

Does Serum Prevent Acne?

Using serum can help prevent acne breakouts. Ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, rosemary, and other antioxidants that serums contain can help keep acne at bay.

The exfoliating acids penetrate your pores and unclog them of oil, dead skin cells, and any debris that can lead to acne breakouts. Meanwhile, they help to refine and minimize the appearance of your pores, reduce oiliness, and improve your complexion.

In addition, some serums contain antibacterial ingredients that control the activities of the bacteria that cause acne. They make your skin inhabitable for these bacteria.

These skincare products also contain antioxidants like vitamins A and E that protect your skin from environmental pollutants and sun rays. These antioxidants protect your skin from the irritants that can cause skin irritation and acne breakout.

Can Serums Remove Acne Scars?

Serums can help to improve the appearance of acne scars and give you a clear and even skin tone. A serum that contains an exfoliating acid like glycolic acid will help to stimulate cell turnover and fade acne scars.

Skin resurfacing serums are good for acne scars. They may contain ingredients like retinol or vitamin C, which have a great reputation for realigning skin complexion. These vitamins help to improve the appearance and texture of your skin.

Furthermore, skin serums are naturally hydrating. The moisture boost enhances the proper function of the skin barrier which encourages skin healing.

Which Serums Should You Use for Acne?

It is established that using serums for acne can be effective in the treatment and management of acne. However, what is most important is the ingredients in the serum you apply to your skin.

Acne is associated with oily skin. Therefore, you are certainly staying off serums that contain oils, especially comedogenic oils.

A serum that will effectively help with acne should contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid to help unclog your pores and control sebum production.

Also, it should contain antimicrobial ingredients like green tea to help disinfect your skin and make it inhabitable for acne-causing bacteria.  Moreover, it is best to use a serum that pairs two actives like salicylic acid with hyaluronic acid to bring a balance.

Salicylic acid can be too drying; therefore, hyaluronic acid becomes necessary to balance moisture. Other ingredients you may consider for acne treatment include retinol, niacinamide, and vitamin C. Most importantly, you should work with an expert’s prescription.

How Should You Use Serums to Treat Acne?

How you use your products determines the quality of your results. After picking the right formula, you can begin to apply your product to your skin.

Acne is a delicate skin condition, so, Dr. Mona Gohara, a board-certified dermatologist advises that you begin slowly. Introduce the serum onto your routine in bits until your skin can tolerate the ingredients in the serum.

Additionally, when using a serum to treat acne, it is best to reduce the frequency at which you apply products that contain actives, especially the ingredients in the serum.

Always apply serum to a pre-cleansed face and moisturize your skin afterward to lock in moisture and create a seal over the actives in the serum.  

If you’re using more than one serum for acne, alternate the serums on different days or times of the day. Otherwise, the ingredients may denature each other and become useless.

How Long Does It Take for Serums to Work on Acne?

To see visible and impressive results, you may have to use a serum for up to four weeks. During this period, it may look as though nothing is happening, but the serum is treating the acne from its roots.

Also, you may experience a skin purge and it begins to look as though you have applied the wrong product. This is all part of the healing process; it could be a skin purge because of certain ingredients in the serum.

To treat acne, in general, you need patience because acne breakouts are deep into the layers of your skin than you think.   


Does serum clog pores?

No, it does not. Serums, generally, do not clog pores unless you use an oil-based serum that contains comedogenic ingredients.

Additionally, when you use a product that does not suit your skin type or one that leaves emollient residues that also make the serum clog your pores.

Is vitamin C serum good for acne?

Yes, it is. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help treat and manage acne. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe your skin and calm redness.

Vitamin C is a skin brightening vitamin that can help to improve the appearance of acne scars and improve your complexion.

What ingredients should you avoid for acne?

Products that contain lanolin, mineral oil, fragrance, and other comedogenic ingredients should not be considered for your acne skincare routine. Otherwise, you may be left with more troubles than you started with.


Serums come in small bottles that make them look like they aren’t worth much. However, they are very powerful in the treatment and management of acne.

A serum can help to address existing acne, prevent future breakouts, and fade acne scars. Choose a product that works for your skin and soothes acne woes. Avoid comedogenic ingredients and whatever may render your efforts futile.

Thanks for reading.

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