Are You Using a Skin Serum? If Not, You Should Be

Updated 12/19/14. Is your skin care routine in a rut and you’re no longer seeing any improvement with your skin? If you want to give your skin a boost of results, then adding a skin serum into your regimen is definitely the way to go.

What exactly is a serum?

A serum is a creamy or aqueous fluid that has a higher concentration of active ingredients and is meant for use under a moisturizer or mask due to its small molecular structure for maximum absorption.

For problem, acne-prone skin: Look for serums with ingredients like salicylic acid (to deep pore cleans the pores), beta glucans (to lessen breakout activity), sodium PCA (to give oil-free hydration) and lactic acid (to fade dark acne marks). I recommend my clients to use Skin Drink, BHA Clarifying Serum and Skin Correcting Serum.

For dry, aging skin: Choose serums with retinol (to smooth wrinkles and reduce pore size), peptides (to renew skin’s firming mechanism), vitamin E (to deeply hydrate), vitamin C (to brighten using antioxidants), glycolic acid (to remove surface dryness) and marine extract (to increase moisture). These can be found in AHA Smoothing Serum 10% Bio Radiance Night Serum, Vitamin C&E Treatment and Advanced Resurfacing Serum.

For sensitive skin: Look for serums with white tea (to provide soothing antioxidants), algae extract (to improve skin’s barrier to less sensitivity), magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (stable form of vitamin C to gently brighten the skin) and sea whip (to calm redness and irritation.) These can all be found in Soothing Relief Serum, Skin Correcting Serum and Vitamin C&E Treatment.

See the full collection of Renée Rouleau serums.

Anything to avoid when choosing a serum?

SD Alcohol 40 or Denatured Alcohol. These ingredients are dehydrating which will encourage dry skin cell build up. (See the full list of skin care ingredients to avoid)

How do I use a serum?

Did you know that moist skin is ten times more permeable than dry skin? After cleansing, use an alcohol-free toner and leave it damp on the skin before applying your serum. By leaving your skin damp with toner, the action ingredients in your serum will penetrate deeper within the skin giving you better results. Moisturizers are meant to create a protective barrier over the skin to keep moisture in the skin from evaporating and keeping environmental irritants and debris out. Serums, while meant to hydrate, should never be used alone as they don’t contain the protective properties that creams do.

How much should I apply to my skin?

Almost a dime size and not more than that. Many people think that if they use more, they’ll get better results. False. Your skin acts as a sponge and takes in all that it can and the rest may not absorb allowing for product waste.

Any special application tricks when applying serum?

Since moisturizer is to be used immediately after, keep your moisturizer in the refrigerator. When moisturizer is applied cold, it pushes blood away from the skin and in the process it creates a vacuum effect to pull the potent serum ingredients deeper within the skin.

Serums are very concentrated, so a little goes a long way. See all the Renée Rouleau serums.

Read: What’s the Best Moisturizer for Dry, Flaky Skin?

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take the Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

Need expert advice from a licensed esthetician? Schedule a virtual consultation to get customized advice in person, over the phone or online via Skype or Face Time.

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Content found on, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.