Do Face Serums Help or Hurt?

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Maybe it’s just me, but one of my serious guilty pleasures is the Vogue Youtube channel – specifically the Vogue Beauty Secrets videos. Something that I noticed after watching literal hours of makeup tutorials is that many of the women use face serums to prepare their face before applying their makeup. Women like Taylor Hill, Ashley Graham, Iris Law and Madelaine Petsch all swear by face serums, but it is only a small part of their extravagant skin care routines. I started to wonder, what do face serums do exactly? Do they work for everyone? Do they even work at all? 

Truthfully, I’ve been very hesitant to try serums myself as I have super sensitive skin and am nervous to expand my daily skincare routine. Recently, I’ve heard great things about the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum and the Glossier: The Super Duo pair, but I wanted to do some more research before investing both my money and skin into the products. 

So I thought I’d start at the very beginning. What is a serum? Is there a difference between a serum and a moisturizer? According to medical esthetician Sara Gray, serums are boosters.

“So, for you as an 18 year old your body produces more collagen, more elastin, more proteins and vitamins, and as we age we tend to lose those things. We need to use supplements, serums and moisturizers to input those [proteins] back into our skin. So serums, specifically, are a booster. They’re more concentrated than creams or moisturizers. Moisturizers mainly help skin look more smooth and dewy,” says Gray. 

In addition to being an esthetician, Gray is also the owner of Sedora Laser and Skin Spa in Syracuse, so she has seen multiple serum success stories. She can personally attest that serums work wonders on her skin. “A couple years ago, the skin on my cheeks started to get hyperpigmentation, which is the darkening of skin in certain areas,” says Gray. “I’ve always had really clear skin and even makeup wouldn’t cover it up, so I started researching and found three different serums. It took about 3 ½ weeks and and I saw a major difference, my skin started brightening and the darkening started going away.”

Gray swears by the three serums she found and shared that they can benefit any skin type; dry, oily, normal, sensitive or combination. The first is hyaluronic acid, which has a good source of collagen and is used to firm and plump your skin. Hyaluronic acid is actually a natural compound in the body and attracts moisture. Applying it to the skin helps cells retain hydration, making your skin look more plump and healthy.

The second is Vitamin C serum which is great for tightening, brightening and clears up sun spots. Allure magazine confirms that Vitamin C additionally helps produce collagen, repairs signs of aging and reduces skin inflammation. Finally, retinol helps to firm, plump and tighten skin. According to Harvard Health, retinoids reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well as stimulate blood vessels in the skin, improving color. 

“I definitely recommend mixing serums and moisturizers to both tighten your skin as well as hydrate it,” Gray advised, which explains why so many of the Vogue celebrities have extensive skin care routines. Depending on what serum you use, face serums can improve brightness, color, signs of aging and more. Because of their high concentration, potent active vitamins and small molecules, serums go deep and produce stronger, healthier skin. There truly is something for everyone, with specific serums that benefit certain skin types and serums that benefit all skin types.  The possibilities are endless. 

It may be a little nerve wracking to branch out of your normal routine; however, serums are definitely worth it.  It is all about finding the right one for you. There are so many options and when you find the right match, it will definitely help you on your path to Vogue-like skin!