Target Your Skin Concerns With the Best Serum for the Face
Upgrade your skin care routine with these potent products.
Upgrade your skin care routine with these potent products.
Face serums are becoming more and more of a necessity for basic skin care routines and for good reason. We know skin care regimens can get really long, but this is one product (next to sunscreen) that you may want to incorporate into your daily routine. A serum for the face can help you tackle specific skin concerns and is highly recommended by dermatologists.
With an endless array of serums promising to “fix” certain skin issues (and at varying price points), it can be overwhelming to find one that’ll work for you — at an affordable cost. When in doubt, reach for a product that’ll work for your specific skin concern, or (like many of the L’Oréal Paris serums) is formulated to work on all skin types. To help you pick the best serum for the face, we’re detailing the best ones to use and their benefits with insight from Michelle Henry, MD FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consultant.
Serums are potent formulas with high concentrations of dermatological actives that, depending on the formula, can address issues such as dryness, dullness, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. Dr. Henry says, "If we're picking a serum, it is to address a specific concern.” This skin care product is usually formulated as a liquid to be added to the face after cleansing and toning the face. Some serums can have exfoliation properties depending on the infused ingredients while others can be used as an added layer of moisture.
If you already have a dedicated skin care routine that has all the ingredients you need to keep your face clean, moisturized and protected from the sun, then you may not need a serum. However, as we’ve stated before, serums are great for targeting skin concerns — like acne and dark spots — in a concentrated form without extra ingredients that moisturizers may have.
Dr. Henry says that not everyone needs a serum, but she often uses them as she likes having that concentrated targeted treatment. It’ll come down to preference, but if you’re dealing with acne-prone skin, redness, dull skin or other concerns, a serum can help.
“Serums are concentrated active ingredients, so we're using it typically for a specific skin concern,” says Dr. Henry. These concerns could be acne, dark spots or even wrinkles, while skin types like oily, dry and mature skin can also benefit from a specific formulation.
Once you have an understanding of these factors, you’ll want to look for a face serum that includes skin care ingredients — like hyaluronic acid or vitamin C — known to target your specific needs. Below, find the best serums for your face, based on skin type and skin concern.
If you have dry skin, Dr. Henry recommends using a serum formulated with hyaluronic acid to provide your skin with the moisture it needs. Hyaluronic acid is a potent hydration-attracting molecule that’s naturally found in the skin and helps skin retain moisture. As we age, our levels of hyaluronic acid start to decrease. That's where a hydrating serum can help save your skin.
Aging is a natural part of life and as we mature so does our skin. Things like fine lines, sun spots and wrinkles become more prominent as we age since the skin loses its strength, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If your goal is to reduce the appearance of these signs of aging that often accompany mature skin, look for a serum formulated with antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E to help protect and strengthen the skin from external aggressors.
The L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Anti-Aging Midnight Serum is formulated with an exclusive antioxidant recovery complex, which works to replenish the skin’s antioxidant levels, smooth out wrinkles and lock in moisture thanks to its dose of hyaluronic acid. This serum is designed to be used in the morning and evening, providing antioxidants both day and night. Be sure to apply it right before your moisturizer, that way the serum can absorb into the skin properly.
Over time, small fine lines on your face can transform into deep wrinkles, it’s a normal part of aging. If you’re noticing deepening wrinkles and want to minimize their appearance, opt for a serum that includes retinol, which is a form of vitamin A that has been proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin texture.
Consider adding the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum, 0.3% Pure Retinol to your regimen. It’s formulated with L’Oréal Paris’ highest concentration of pure retinol and works to reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles. It also helps to brighten your complexion, leaving you with radiant, healthy-looking skin.
Since this serum is potent, start by gradually introducing it into your regimen and apply it only two to three times a week. Once your skin has adapted (with less redness or tingling) you can increase your usage. And be sure to follow up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, like the L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Daily UV Lotion, in the morning since retinol can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
If you’re dealing with skin concerns such as dark spots, sun damage or post-acne marks, look for a serum formulated specifically for this concern. We recommend the L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal 12% [Niacinamide + Amino Sulfonic + Ferulic Acid] Dark Spot Serum for this skin concern which gently exfoliates the skin leaving your face looking fresher and more luminous.
If you’re dealing with dark spots in the form of post-acne marks this serum is ideal for fading the appearance of these marks left over from blemishes. Oily skin is known to be very acne-prone, per the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), since the excessive sebum (oil) can clog pores creating pimples, blackheads and other forms of acne. While the Bright Reveal Dark Spot serum is preferred for dark spots the added niacinamide is a hero ingredient for oily skin or acne-prone skin. According to Dr. Henry, “If you're oily, you may want niacinamide or something with zinc in it to help to reduce the oiliness.”
You can also use a serum with glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, known to help exfoliate dead skin cells and even out your complexion. Try the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum which is formulated with glycolic acid along with hydrating ingredients such as aloe leaf juice to help soothe the skin. This serum helps to visibly even your skin tone, reduce wrinkles and lighten age spots and dark spots.
If you’re experiencing dull skin, you may find it difficult to achieve a glowing complexion. Typically, skin dullness can be a result of factors like pollution, cold weather and the normal effects of aging. As we get older our skin starts to lose its elasticity as is no longer able to naturally produce collagen, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). The NIA recommends using products that will gently exfoliate the skin to boost elasticity for a smoother and clearer skin complexion. Try using a serum that includes vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that helps brighten and even the skin tone.
L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 12% Pure Vitamin C + E + Salicylic Acid Serum is one of our favorites for its superstar formulation. Made with the purest form of vitamin C (L-Ascorbic acid) along with vitamin E and salicylic acid, this serum instantly increases radiance and helps reduce the appearance of large pores.
If you have sensitive skin you won’t have to worry about irritation with this fast-absorbing, non-greasy formula that won’t clog pores. Finish out your routine with a broad-spectrum sunscreen like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30, which is formulated with pro-retinol, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to reduce wrinkles, and firm and brighten skin.
Always check the specific directions on the products you're using to determine the best skin care order and preferred application. For the most part, always apply your skin care based on consistency with the thinnest formulas going first. Follow this rule when layering serums as well to get the best absorption of the individual product. If you’re concerned about the product setting into your skin, wait a few minutes between steps to give the product time to absorb.
Edited by: Alexis Gaskin, Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn