If you were going to splurge on one item in your beauty arsenal, you’d be wise to make it your serum. Why a serum? They’re the workhorses of any skincare routine. No matter what skin issue you’re trying to address, from anti-aging to acne or you just want perfectly glowing skin, there’s a serum that can help. Here’s a look at what exactly is a serum and what they can do, and our top picks of the best serums of 2021.
What is A Serum?
A serum is a highly concentrated liquid that delivers a big dose of nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants to the skin. Most serums are water based and have a thin consistency although some are oil based. Because serums are highly concentrated, they can deliver a big dose of good-for-you ingredients that penetrate deeply into the skin.
There are serums designed for every skin type and condition, and at every price point from wallet friendly drugstore buys to luxury brands, but the most important thing to do is choose the right serum for your skin. Depending on your skincare needs, you may need a daytime serum in addition to a night serum.
Serums do tend to be pricey but they last for a long time; if you break down a bottle into a per use cost, the sticker shock is softened. Another way to think about the price is that serums are highly potent so you’re getting a lot of ingredients for your money.
How to Apply A Serum
Serums need to be applied in a specific way. They should be applied after cleansing but before moisturizer. They should not be rubbed into the face like a cream. Instead, they should be patted or pressed into the face. After applying the serum, let it sink into the skin and get absorbed before moving on to the next step in your routine.
What Can A Serum Do?
Different serums can do different things, and there’s a serum for just about every skin type and concern. Many of them are multi-taskers, addressing more than one skin issue, but they can help with anti-aging, dryness, fine lines, protection and acne. They’re suitable for any age but can be especially helpful for anti-aging and prevention. In a news release from the American Academy of Dermatology, Dr. Lauren Eckert Ploch, suggests that women in their 30s use “a light antioxidant serum to protect their skin from the elements and improve signs of early skin aging.
Ingredients to Look for in a Serum
What to look for in a serum will largely depend on your skin concerns but if you’re on a mission to get glowing skin, a serum can help. Anyone with dry skin should look for moisturizing hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, and glycerin, a humectant. Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect the skin, and niacinamide, another moisture booster, can also help thirsty skin. Dull skin can benefit from a dose of vitamin C, a skin brightener, as well as glycolic acid, which helps to gently exfoliate the skin. For anti-aging concerns, look for retinol, which encourages cell turnover, along with peptides. Acne prone skin can benefit from a dose of salicylic acid, which helps unclog prone, along with retinol.
What Are the Best Serums of 2021?
No matter what your budget or skin concern is, we’ve rounded up the best serums of 2021. Here’s our look at the top all-around serums along with ones targeted for specific skin issues.