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What is the Purpose of Facial Serum?

You may have considered adding a variety of facial serums to your skincare routine, but not be totally sure what it is they do. That’s OK! We’re here to clear it up for you.

A serum is simply a skincare product with a high concentration of active ingredients, sort of like a lightweight moisturizer, but more powerful. It goes on before moisturizer to allow active ingredients to deeply penetrate the skin. Most of the time, serums are specifically formulated to address a problem with skin, such as wrinkles or sun damage.

You can find serums in many forms. They come in gels, light creams, oils, and sometimes even have a watery consistency. The important thing is to find the serum that’s right for you and incorporate it into your daily skincare routine.

The Benefits of Adding Facial Serum to Your Skincare Routine

There are so many reasons why adding a serum to your skincare routine is a win for your skin – and you! As mentioned, serums deliver a powerful punch of active ingredients to your skin to help target specific skin issues. People often use them to help:

  • Refine pores

  • Reduce signs of fatigue

  • Reduce wrinkles and fine lines

  • Help skin lock in moisture

  • Smooth the surface of the skin

  • Minimize dark spots from sun damage

  • Brighten the skin

  • Manage skin prone to acne

The active ingredients in many serums can also work to reduce inflammation, dryness, and redness. That leaves your skin looking refreshed and feeling supple. Serums are easily absorbed by the skin due to their special formulation, penetrating much deeper than other skincare products, such as moisturizers.

What to Look for in a Facial Serum

What to look for in a facial serum really depends on the role you need it to play in your skincare routine. You must also consider your skin type: oily, acne-prone skin may call for different active ingredients than dry skin. Here’s a breakdown to help you find the right facial serum:

  • For smoothing fine lines and wrinkles or repairing sun damage – Choose serums with retinol to help your skin deal with fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage.

  • For acne-prone skin – If you really struggle with blemishes, look for ingredients such as salicylic acid, beta-glucan, manuka oil, zinc, and tea tree oil that can help address these issues. These ingredients will help to calm inflammation and redness while tackling the surface bacteria that can lead to breakouts.

  • For skin that needs hydration – Surface dryness can lead to fine lines so fight back by choosing serums that contain phospholipids, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, or allantoin. These ingredients work to infuse skin with moisture and improve its overall look and feel.

  • For sensitive skin prone to redness – Ingredients such as water lily, aloe vera, green tea, zinc, white tea, licochalcone, red marine algae, and sea whip all help to reduce irritation and redness on even the most sensitive skin.

  • For discoloration – Discoloration of the skin can happen for many reasons, chief among them hormone changes and age. Vitamin C is your best weapon against discoloration and dark spots on your face to help brighten your skin tone and even it out.

  • For toning – Everyone wants a face that’s firmed and toned, which is why you should use a serum with ingredients such as palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide. These ingredients will give your skin a natural lift.

  • For smoothing and exfoliating – Encourage healthy skin with an even tone by choosing serum-containing malic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, and glycolic acid. These ingredients work to reduce the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin to reveal smooth, healthy, and glowing skin underneath.

Ingredients to Avoid

Of course, not every serum is good for your specific skin type. It’s a good idea to avoid certain ingredients that can encourage the build-up of dead skin cells as it dries out your skin. If you find serums with any of these ingredients, you may want to give them a pass:

  • Denatured alcohol

  • SD alcohol 40

Is Facial Serum for Everyone?

As long as your skin isn’t too sensitive to handle some of the ingredients in a serum, then everyone should use them! Just remember that serums are very concentrated, so more is not always better when applying. Too much of an ingredient can irritate your skin. Before you start using any new product, you may want to consult with your doctor or consider doing a patch test to ensure you won’t have a reaction. Also, if you’re pregnant or have another skin condition such as eczema, you probably will need to avoid serums with potent ingredients.

Do You Need a Facial Serum and a Facial Moisturizer?

Since serums are meant to deliver a power punch of nutrients to your skin to help hydrate it, you may be wondering if you actually need a serum and moisturizer in your skincare routine. The short answer is that yes, both serum and moisturizers are recommended.

Why? Moisturizers work to form a protective barrier for your skin. This helps to lock in moisture and keep things in the environment from irritating your skin. While serums also hydrate, they don’t protect your skin the way a moisturizer does. So, always use both in your skincare routine.

How to Apply Facial Serums and Moisturizers

Your skincare routine in the morning should follow this order:

  • Cleanser

  • Toner

  • Serum

  • Moisturizer or Cream-Based Active Product

  • Sunscreen

In the evening, your skincare routine should be:

  • Cleanser

  • Toner

  • Serum

  • Retinol cream

  • Moisturizer or Cream-Based Active Product

Notice that during both your morning and night skincare routine, a serum is applied before moisturizer. That’s an order you always want to stick to since it allows for the active ingredients in the serum to infiltrate deep into the skin and for the moisturizer to serve as a barrier to the outside world.

When you apply serum, you only need about a dime-size amount. Remember, more does not mean better when it comes to serum since your skin can only absorb so much. Apply the right amount to your face and neck, then follow with your other products.

Pro tip: Keep your moisturizer in the refrigerator. This cools down the moisturizer so that it not only feels good when you apply it, it also causes the blood vessels on the surface of the skin to restrict. This has a sort of vacuum effect, pulling the serum deeper into your skin where it can do its work.

The Bottom Line

No one has perfect skin without a little work. If you have issues with your skin that you’d like to address, then serum, in conjunction with an effective, medical-grade skincare routine, is what you need. A good serum, like Sente Skincare Serum, can boost your skin’s natural defenses, create tighter, stronger, and more even-looking skin as it nourishes and restores the skin’s natural balance of vitamins and antioxidants. At The Skin Spot, we think everyone should use a serum as a part of their healthy, medical-grade skincare routine.


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