What Do Serums Do? 6 Reasons Why You Need One Right Now

Share this:

Some people might say that serums are like the “creme de la creme” of skincare. They are a must-have for beautiful skin because they can work wonders on everything from acne and wrinkles to inflammation and hyperpigmentation.

Serums are lightweight liquids that have been infused with several key ingredients that work to get deep down into your pores to improve your skin’s texture and tone by focusing on specific areas of concern.

This article explores the benefits of serums and what types of serums you should be using when you should use them, and why they’re such a great addition to your skincare routine. Read on to discover.

1. Targeted Treatment

Serums work by going deep into the skin layers to provide a more targeted treatment. These treatments can range from antioxidant protection, evening skin tone, to increasing skin hydration, or even anti-aging.

According to Joanna Vargas, a celebrity esthetician, “serums are more potent and concentrated than even the most effective creams. This is because their ingredients allow them to target problem areas in a way that moisturizers can’t.”

2. Reduced Signs of Aging

As you get older, your skin’s appearance and texture can begin to change. These changes include signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines which are caused by a loss of collagen in the dermis (the middle layer of your skin).

Serums contain ingredients like retinol, which help to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in your skin. This in turn strengthens your skin tissues, which can help get rid of these aging signs.

3. Lightweight

Serums are lightweight skincare products that are especially great for those with oily skin. According to the experts at Dr. Brandt Skincare, lightweight products like serums can help control excess oil production without overdrying or irritating your skin.

And unlike moisturizers that sit on top of the skin (and don’t do much for deeper issues), serums penetrate deep into your skin layers to help balance hydration, exfoliate dead cells, and reduce oil production.

4. Intense Absorption

Serums are typically water-based products that feature a light, easily absorbed formula. This light formula allows them to penetrate the innermost layers of your skin to deliver targeted ingredients.

And unlike creams and lotions that take a while to absorb, serums penetrate your skin in a matter of minutes.  As a result, you spend less time waiting around and more time enjoying its benefits.  

5. Protection Against Free Radicals

Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that steal an electron from other cells in your body, causing damage to cell membranes. These free radicals can prematurely age your skin and lead to breakouts, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.

A good serum should include antioxidants such as Vitamin C and ferulic acid, which protect the skin from free radical damage. Antioxidants prevent premature aging and keep your skin looking youthful for years to come.

6. Increased Hydration

Serums work with your skin to strengthen its natural moisture barriers while providing optimum hydration. Hence, the most effective serums will have you looking refreshed, revitalized, and ready for whatever life throws at you.

Apply a serum to your skin after cleansing and toning, but before using a moisturizer or any other type of product for that matter. Doing this will make the serum penetrate deep into your pores to hydrate your skin and give it a healthy glow.

How to Choose a Serum for Your Skin

When choosing a serum, it’s important to remember that not every serum will work for everyone. Serums are designed to treat specific skin conditions. Some serums are created for fine lines, others for acne or wrinkles.

To choose a good serum, you must think about your skin type and needs. Besides this, you should also consider the product’s price and ingredients before you make a purchase.

Here’s a list of the most common types of serums and their functions:

Resurfacing Serums

Resurfacing serums are a type of product that can help you with smoother, firmer, and younger-looking skin. These serums work on the skin’s uppermost layer, targeting aging signs and skin damage caused by free radicals and UV rays.

Ingredients: Resurfacing serums contain several active ingredients such as lactic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid that help to rejuvenate your skin by removing dead cells from the surface of your skin.

In addition, they help to smooth out your complexion by boosting elastin and collagen production in the skin. This results in a significant decrease in the appearance of aging signs like fine lines, age spots, and wrinkles.

Anti-aging Serums

Anti-aging serums are a concentrated and highly effective formulations of high-potency ingredients for targeted skin rejuvenation. They help to keep your skin looking young by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and other aging signs.

Ingredients: The active ingredients in anti-aging serums include retinol, vitamin C, peptides, hyaluronic acid, hydroxy acids (AHAs) and (BHAs), enzymes, cysteine, and niacinamide.

Together, these ingredients penetrate deep into your dermis layers to boost the production of collagen. This increased collagen helps to fill up the cracks in your skin, thus improving its firmness and elasticity.

Antioxidant Serums

Antioxidant serums are skincare products designed to protect your skin and fight against free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that can come from ultraviolet rays, smoke, dust, and other environmental factors.

These free radicals can also be a byproduct of normal metabolic processes that happen in your body. Unfortunately, they can build up and cause damage to your skin, hence leading to wrinkles and other premature signs of aging.

Antioxidants can prevent these effects by scavenging the free radicals before they cause harm. When you put on this serum, it boosts your skin’s natural defense system and supplies it with antioxidants to fight off free radicals.

Ingredients: These serums harness natural ingredients like vitamins C and E, which can help protect against wrinkles and other signs of aging. They also help replace lost moisture and protect your skin from UV rays.

Hydrating serums

Hydrating serums are essential for every skincare routine. They are a must-have for everyone because they’re lightweight and penetrate deeper into the skin than regular lotions, leaving your skin feeling soft.

Ingredients: These types of serums work by going deep into your skin layers to provide you with a burst of essential ingredients such as vitamins, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin, which help to hydrate your skin.

For instance, hyaluronic acid is a strong hydrating agent. It also has emollient properties which help to prevent moisture loss in your dermis by providing a barrier on the surface of your skin that acts as a sealant.

So if you have dry and dull skin or you just want glowing skin all year round, give hydrating serums a try. However, they don’t replace your creams and lotions, so it is best to apply them just after cleansing but before moisturizing.

Brightening serums

Brightening serums are one way to tackle both age spots and hyperpigmentation at the same time. These skincare products are your best bet if you want to brighten your overall skin tone and complexion.

Ingredients: Brightening serums contain natural key ingredients like niacinamide, ferulic acid, vitamin C, glycolic acid, and sometimes lactic acid, which help in balancing your skin tone and reducing hyperpigmentation.

These ingredients work by stimulating new cell production and inhibiting melanin production. This will help smooth out the appearance of your skin and erase dark spots or scars caused by hyperpigmentation.

Clarifying serums

Clarifying serums is a must for everyone. While they may seem simple, they can make a huge difference. These products use active ingredients to remove impurities and dead skin cells from your skin.

Ingredients: Some of the most commonly found ingredients in these serums include salicylic acid, niacinamide, witch hazel, and vitamin C. But the best ones contain beta hydroxy acids which help to cleanse pores and regulate oil production.

Furthermore, clarifying serums can help with fighting against acne and blackheads, as well as reduce the appearance of larger pores on the skin. These can also help to lighten dark spots and other types of hyperpigmentation.

How to Apply Serum on the Face

Serums are a very important layer of skincare. You can apply them after cleansing and exfoliation, but before you apply your moisturizer and other skincare products.

Here are steps to apply serum to your face:

  • Wash your face and neck with warm water, then pat dry with a towel.
  • Use the rubber applicator to squeeze out about 5 drops of serum on your fingertips.
  • Apply the serum to your face and gently massage it, starting from the outer areas of your face (temples, cheeks, and jawline) and working towards the center (the nose).
  • Gently rub the serum into your neck and massage until you’ve fully covered the entire area.
  • Allow the serum to penetrate for about 10 minutes before applying your moisturizer and makeup.

Side Effects of Using Serums

According to dermatologists at the Cleveland Clinic, serums can cause side effects like irritation, and dryness, if you have sensitive skin. Serums containing retinol can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so it’s best to use them at night.

You can also experience mild to severe side effects if you have skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. If these side effects do not stop after 2-3 days of serum treatment, stop using it and see a professional immediately.


Do you need both serum and moisturizer?

Yes, you do. Serum and moisturizer are two different products essential for a complete skincare routine and to keep your skin from drying out.

Moisturizers help to hydrate your skin and keep it supple, while serums infuse your skin with active ingredients that help it look more radiant. Together, these products help to nourish your skin, making it look and feel healthier.

Can you use serums daily?

Yes, you can. Serums are the most effective and beneficial beauty products you can use on your skin daily. The best part is that they’re easy to use and incorporate into your routine.

Serums work by targeting specific skin concerns on your skin. They penetrate deeper than a cream or lotion and deliver vitamins, antioxidants, and other essential ingredients directly to your skin cells.

Can you use serums with toners?

Yes, you can. Serums and toners are two different and important parts of a daily skincare routine.

Serums work to either treat specific skin problems or to protect against aging, while toners help to remove any remaining traces of the cleanser and impurities on your face.

When should you use a serum?

You should use serums every day after cleansing and toning, but before applying a moisturizer and sunscreen.

The reason behind this rule is simple: serums have a lighter consistency than other skincare products, which means they`re able to penetrate deeper into your skin cells more than the most effective creams or lotions.


Serums are a great way to provide your skin with the nutrients it needs without the heavy feeling moisturizers sometimes leave. They work deep inside the skin to deliver targeted nutrients and ingredients.

Some serums are designed to help with anti-aging, some are designed to help with acne, some help with hyperpigmentation, and some help to hydrate the skin. The key is to choose a serum specific to your skin type and needs.

When you use a serum, you should apply it to your skin directly after cleansing but before applying a moisturizer. However, serums can cause side effects if you have sensitive skin, so it is best to do a patch test before applying it.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Serum101 to learn more about serums and how they can benefit you.