What is Serum? See Facts You’ve Never Heard About

Serums are often added and recommended alongside other skincare products. Rarely would you get a skincare routine recommendation that would leave out a serum?

If you have been talking to a skincare specialist about your face or have gotten a couple of other products for your face, a serum is an addition rarely left out. They are one of the top-picked that helps ensure that your face is getting all the nourishment it needs.

Although a lot of people often use face serums and other skincare products based on recommendations, many cannot answer questions about them.

They do not know what a serum is, the type of serum they are using, the benefits, and even the function of the serum in their list of skincare products.

If you are one of the people who have been using serum solely because you got a recommendation and did not know a lot about it.

Here is your chance to learn more about serums. We have compiled a comprehensive guide to serum, revealing many of the interesting benefits of using a serum and how it can help your skin and facials. 

What Is a Serum?

A serum is almost like your face cream or face lotion. However, unlike your face cream, it lacks some components, all of which make it unique, different, and active. It contains several skincare ingredients that help to tackle the skin’s inadequacies. 

Simply, a serum is a viscous skincare product applied to the face after cleansing. It contains ingredients and formulations specially designed to help it carry out its function properly and deliver many of the benefits attached to using it. Therefore, making it an important part of skincare products.

Serums are often compared to face lotion, but they are quite different. Its ingredients are active and fast-performing. They penetrate the skin easily and very fast to deliver the desired result in no time.

If you are looking to balance your skin using hydration, then a serum is ideal. It helps correct discoloration, acne, and dry skin. Serums do the skin a lot of good with their nutritional components.

SEE: The Right Way to Use Face Serums with Moisturizers for Maximum Effect

What Ingredients Are In Serums?  

Before we move to the benefits of using serums, let’s talk about the ingredients that make up the serum and allow it to do much of its work.

1. Hyaluronic acid

One of the foremost ingredients found in serum is hyaluronic acid. Alone, hyaluronic acid is the perfect solution for dry skin. It helps the skin to retain its water, remain moist and firm. 

When found in a serum, it also performs the same function. Hyaluronic acid provides serums with the positive effect of using lotion but without the heaviness. 

2. Vitamin C

Either taken orally into your body or absorbed by the skin, vitamin c provides the body with many advantages and does the body good. Inside the body, they help with bodybuilding and disease resistance.

Applied on the skin, they are the perfect anti-aging agent. They build your skin’s immunity and build collagen.

All of these functions you also get to enjoy when you apply the serum to your face. Vitamin C helps to reduce your face’s hyperpigmentation further and heal scars faster.

3. Vitamin E 

Vitamin E is another ingredient that you would find in typical serum. It does the work of moisturizing your face and helping to even your skin tone and texture.

Vitamin E further helps your skin to protect itself against UV damage, boost its immune system, and combat other free radicals. With the presence of vitamin E in your serum, toxic toxins do not have a lot of effect on your face.

4. Vitamin A (Retinol)

Another essential vitamin that helps the face serum to offer all of its benefits is vitamin A. It stimulates the production of collagen and further aids anti-aging. It also helps the pores as it tightens them.

As time passes, old cells are shed away and exfoliated, and new cells grow. Basically, retinol stimulates the process and helps to ensure that the new firm tissues replace the old ones. 

5. Antioxidant

Antioxidants are another ingredient whose function essentially is helping to protect the skin from the environment. They help prevent the damage of free radicals caused by pollution, stress, and other environmental hazards. 

Effects that may be caused by your face’s consistent exposure to UV and environmental pollution are controlled and limited by antioxidants. 

A common antioxidant often used is green tea. Green tea is used to protect the body, both the skin and internally, fighting free radicals.

6. Glycerine

Glycerine is also used to improve the skin’s hydration. It retains the skin’s moisture and helps to boost the body’s natural barrier.

Note: Of course, there are several other advantageous ingredients that you would find in serums. The above listed are merely the power ingredients you will find in any serum. There are ingredients like Niacinamide, Salicylic acid, Lactic acid, Calendula, MethylSulfonylMethane (MSM), and others found in serums.

Types of Serums

Serums differ because there are dozens of ingredients and more than one skin type. This makes it necessary to study the different types of serums and be able to pick the perfect one for one’s use.

 Here are the basic types of serums you will come across when shopping for a serum.

1. Hydrating face serum

One reason why the face serum is often confused with the moisturizer is that it also has a hydrating effect, but only in little quantity. 

However, some serums are specially designed with hydration in mind. Of course, they do not do all the moisturizer work and therefore cannot replace it. They only have a higher level of penetration to provide the inner layers of the skin with more hydration.

Even after applying a hydrating serum, ensure you apply moisturizer to lock it in and help it perform its functions better.

Hydrating serums often have a higher quantity of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, aloe vera, glycerine, and rosehip oil.

2. Anti-aging Serum

There are some other types of serums that help to slow down the rate of aging. They are known as anti-aging serums. 

Anti-aging serums contain essential ingredients that help the face get rid of wrinkles and other lines. They increase the rate of cell repair and help to give the skin a smooth texture and appearance. 

This type of serum also increases the production of collagen and reduces its loss. When applied frequently, they focus on targeting the sagging skin and help the skin to get firmer.

Anti-aging serums are rich in ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, retinol, proteoglycans, caffeine, green tea, and hyaluronic acid. They are also mostly applied at night.

3. Antioxidant Serum

Serums formulated especially for protection are antioxidant serums. They are made to protect the skin from free radicals that may have adverse effects on the skin. 

While the anti-aging serums help to remove wrinkles that may affect the face, the antioxidant serums ensure that you do not get them in the first place. They heal and repair the skin very fast. 

Antioxidant serums are great for all skin types and are not selective because everyone is regularly exposed to free radicals, toxins, and pollution. So, whether you have dry, oily, or normal skin, you can use the serum to battle cell-damaging radicals. 

Ingredients like Vitamins A, C, and E, melatonin, L-Ascorbic acid, and niacinamide are found in high concentrations in antioxidant serums.

4. Skin brightening serums

These are the serums created to help brighten the skin. They are very useful for people who have dull skin but would love to glow.

Skin brightening serums smoothen the skin’s complexion, help to get rid of spots and scars, even the skin’s tone, and give you a natural glow. They also target skin issues that may leave scars on the face and reduce pores.

They are ideal if you are trying to even your skin tone and reduce the rate of hyperpigmentation. 

In skin brightening serums, you’ll find more vitamin C and E, grapefruit,kojic acid, phytic acid, arbutin, and glycolic acid.

5. Exfoliating serums

Exfoliating serums help to get rid of dirt and dead cells. When applied, they clear pores and make the face feel less heavy. 

Yes, there are exfoliators applied ordinarily to the face, but there are also serums that combine the work of exfoliating and even do it majorly.

An exfoliating serum helps your skin to further perform normally, produce the right amount of collagen and protect itself.  

Exfoliating serums often have a high concentration of glycolic acid, fruit extracts, retinol, lactic acid, and even citric acid. 

Benefits of Serum 

Applying serum to your face comes with a lot of benefits. However, the benefits often depend on your skin type or the type of serum you use.

Generally, serums help to get rid of redness and even improve your skin’s texture. They get rid of wrinkles and lines that may make you appear older than your age. Serums also protect your skin from free radicals and can clear your pores to get rid of toxins that may cause your skin harm.

Want to get rid of some spots on your face? Apply a serum. They are also helpful in the brightening of spots and clearing of scars. They are one sure way to ensure you have fewer blackheads or whiteheads.

Serums are also known for their unique moisturizing property, which often gets them confused with the moisturizer. However, unlike the moisturizer, they are lighter and are known to penetrate deep into the skin. 

SEE: Benefits of Serums According to Skin Experts 

How to Use Serums 

Using serums during the step-by-step skincare product application requires that they are first picked. Pick a serum that agrees with your other skincare products. Apply it at the right time. 

The right time to apply your serum is right after cleansing and toning. Then after serum application, you can move on to moisturizing. Ensure that you massage it into your skin and leave it for a few seconds before you move on to the other stages.

SEE: How to Apply Serum to Face for AM and PM Skincare Routine

Side Effects of Using Serums

Want to know the disadvantages of serums or their side effects? There are a couple.

When applying the serum for the first time, you may feel a burning sensation. This is because your skin is not used to it and is experiencing the formulation for the first time. With time, it is eased into it.

If you are not using the right type of serum for your skin type, you may experience a burning sensation or a tingling feeling on application. People with sensitive skin may also experience these feelings.

Serums have no side effects in themselves, and experts consider them safe for all skin types. Side effects may only arise on using the wrong one or in the first few days of application.

Are serums moisturizers?

No, serums are not moisturizers. However, they have moisturizing properties that allow them to moisturize the skin when applied.

Using a serum does not nullify the use of a moisturizer separately. Consequently, you need to apply your serum and moisturizer on your face respectively.

SEE: Are Serums Moisturizers? Similarities and Differences

Are vitamin C serums good for your face?

Yes, they are. Vitamin C serums help your skin to get a good dose of vitamins. That is good if you are trying to get flawless and sparkling skin.

A vitamin C serum will help to improve your skin texture and hydrate it. Serums often also contain other vitamins like Vitamin E and Vitamin A.

What serums should you be using on your face?

If you are not using a skin combination serum, you should be using one specifically made for your skin type.

There are serums for normal skin, dry skins, and oily skins. Let your skin determine the type of serum you will go for, as the chemical ingredients in each serum for the different skin types differ.

You can also check the above for the basic types of serum. It will guide you based on what you want your serum to achieve. 

Why use serums for the face?

You should use serums to keep your face hydrated, brighten your skin color, get rid of scars and marks, and prevent wrinkles. They also clear spots and keep your pores clear.

Do serums contain oil?

Serums do contain oil. They are the constituents that help to lubricate the skin and keep it looking fresh all day.

However, you will also find a couple of water-based serums that have water content rather than oil.

Which serums have hyaluronic acid?

Serums made for dry skins are known to have a significant content of hyaluronic acid.

However, you will also find the acid in many other serums for other skin types.

Should serums burn?

No, serums should not burn unless it is the first few times of applying them. When applying the serum for the first time, it may burn because of the presence of the acid in it.

However, if you have been using it for a while and it still burns, you should check back with your specialist.

Is serum worth it?

Yes, serums are worth it. They offer a lot of advantages that you may not get from other skincare products.

They are an important addition to skincare products with many advantages, functions, and constituents that your skin will thank you for.

Does serum make your face shiny?

Yes, it does. It moisturizes your face, reduces pore, and gives you a glowing look.

The skin brightening serums that have higher concentrations of vitamin C and E, grapefruit, kojic acid, phytic acid, arbutin, and glycolic acid clear the skin. They perform the function of skin brightening, causing your face to glow and shine.

How does serum work on the face?

Serums work on the face based on the combination of the ingredients of such serum. Generally, serums help skin coloration, reduce pore sizes, and protect the skin.

For your serum to work, it has to be applied to your face and massaged in with your finger. This way, it can penetrate to the deep layer required for it to work. 

Does face serum cause acne?

No, it doesn’t. Face serums are one of the skincare products designed to help the face not cause more havoc.

If you suspect that your face serum is causing acne, you should talk to a skincare specialist about it.

Does face serum help with acne?

Yes, face serums help with acne. They clean out blackheads and help to get rid of scars left by old acne scars. It’s only one of the numerous functions that they perform.

Is serum water-based?

Yes, some serums are water-based. However, they are also oil-based.

If you specifically want a water-based serum, then you should ask your skincare expert, research, or check labels before purchasing one. Water-based serums are good, and they also offer the skin an experience different from oil-based serums.

Does serum evaporate?

Evaporation is not exactly the right word to use for serum. But their content does reduce when they are placed in an unfavorable environment because they dry out.

Read the description label on your serum to know the right temperature to store your serum so that you can maintain this temperature and save yourself from extra costs.

Are serums supposed to be sticky?

No, they are not. Serums should not be sticky. If your serum is sticky, then you have probably applied too much of it, or you are not using a good serum. Serums are known to be lighter than moisturizers. You can compare based on that. 

FAQs 

Does serum have an expiry date?

Yes, they do. serums, like other chemicals, have expiry dates. They shouldn’t be left on the shelf for long, as they would easily expire and would become useless.

Before you purchase a serum, check the expiry date and pick one that allows you a long term of use. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your skin from expired products. 

Does serum need to be refrigerated?

No, does not. It is not mandatory to refrigerate your serum. You can leave your serum unrefrigerated, and it would still be as good as now.

However, refrigerating a serum is not bad either. You can refrigerate to reduce the rate of oxidation. When refrigerating, do not put your serum in a fridge, as this may cause a negative reaction in the serum. Serums should be kept cool, not frozen. 

Does serum go bad?

Yes, they do. Serums go bad when they have exceeded their shelf life or they have expired. They could also go bad if you freeze them rather than store them in a cool place.

To avoid a bad serum, buy quality serums with a wide expiry date and store them properly.

Conclusion

Now you know all about serums and why your skincare experts always insist you include them in the list of skincare products that you get.

Like some of the other skincare products, serums have their work, and they are important alike. They clean, clear, and supply your skin with important nutrients. 

While you may consume food to nourish your body and help the general functioning of your body, applying serums helps to nourish the outer surface- the skin- down to its deepest layer.

Also, serums are easy to apply and very light on the face. They offer the skin a lot of benefits than mentioned above. Unlike some other skin products, they are absorbed quickly.

So much that a few minutes after applying, you may no longer feel their presence on your face. This makes them great for layering when applying skincare products.

Thanks for reading.

Want more information on serums or have personal questions? Serum101 has got you covered.