How to apply serum on face and choose them properly, benefits and side effects

face serum blog banner • How to apply serum on face and choose them properly, benefits and side effects

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You know lots of skin problems improve with age. As we get older, our skin problems get worse. Wrinkles, fine lines, sagginess, dryness, hyperpigmentation are mostly a matter of concern. Sometimes in spite of following a strict CTM routine, you may face sagginess and less radiance in your skin. You know why?

The disappearance of Face Serum in your beauty regime may create this kind of problems. Serums contain some active ingredients (glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, niacinamide, zinc, retinoid, hydroquinone, kojic acid) with high concentrations that focus on your specific skin concern like wrinkles, acne, acne scars, oiliness, dryness, hyperpigmentation and also inhance the skin luminosity, glossyness. It helps to improve overall skin barrier function.

It is clinically proved that if you can choose the right serum and apply it every day in a proper way, you are able to combat premature signs of aging. Here I will help you to choose the right serum according to your skin condition and when and how to apply serum properly with lots of possible FAQ so that you are never be misled. I also have made a fantastic table so that you can choose and select your right serum and some special pro tips at the bottom of the article for you so keep reading it.

What is Serum?    

Basically, Serums are a concentration of active ingredients that are designed to penetrate deeper into the skin and so they can help to target specific skin problems and should be used these products after cleansing and before applying moisturizer on your face. As it is made with small and lightweight molecules so it can be absorbed by a deeper layer of skin easily.

This is the best feature that makes it more effective than any other skincare product. Usually, the serum is water-based but now you can get oil-based also. There are also different types of serums available in the market which focus on your specific skin concern. As we have different face conditions like acne wrinkles, dark spots, dry skin, sensitive skin, Rosacea, Melasma and so many so you should choose the right face serum according to your face condition.     

What is serum

Face Serum type

The right choice and proper knowledge about face serum type can help you to heal your specific skin problem. It has some active ingredients which help to focus on the specific skin concern. Not all active ingredients are contained in all face serum types. Active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, Retinol, Niacinamide, Vitamin c, glycolic acid, Salicylic acid, citric acid, hydroquinone, zinc are all the active ingredients preserved in a particular face serum. One face serum doesn’t contain all active ingredients at a time.

Vitamin C serum
  1. Vitamin C Serum
  2. Hyaluronic Serum
  3. Anti-Aging Serum
  4. Brightening serum
  5. Exfoliating Serum
  6. Collagen Serum
  7. Retinol Serum
  8. Pores minimizing serum

What types of face serums are there?

Six most common types of serum are available.

  • Anti-aging serum
  • Brightening serum
  • Acne fighting serum
  • Vitamin c serum (anti-oxidant serum)
  • Pore minimizing serum
  • Hyaluronic serum (Hydrating serum)

What type of face serum should I use?

What face serum should you use depends on your face condition. Vitamin C serum for oily skin, dark spots, and pigmentation, serum-containing niacinamide are good for oily acne-prone skin, Hyaluronic serum for dry and dry acne-prone skin, Retinol serum for those who have wrinkle and fine line problems.

Does serum glow skin?

Yes, serums have exfoliating properties. It helps to remove dead cells, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and unclogs pores which make your skin glow, shiny and smooth.  

Face Serum benefits

Almost all skin dermatologist’s opinions are positive about Face serum. Active ingredients included in serum all are skin-friendly and effective for the skin. You can use them once or twice a day in a proper dimension. Lots of benefits of serums you will get if you are able to use them properly.

Benefits of face serum

Pore refining and tighten your skin

Some Serums contain hyaluronic acid, AHAs (Alpha Hydrochloric Acid), BHAs (Beta Hydrochloric Acid). Serum the combination of these ingredients will help to refine and minimize your pores and tighten your skin. “AHAs and BHAs dissolve the connections between your cells and the surface of your skin to essentially ‘unclog’ pores,” says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Anti-Aging property

Anti-aging serums help to smooth out any signs of aging and sagging. As you get older, your skin loses radiance and glow. So it helps to add radiance and collagen into your skin and makes you look younger.  “I definitely recommend serums for anyone who is concerned about aging. It’s a really good way to get extra anti-aging effects, more than your typical moisturizer and sunscreen,” says Dr. Waldman.

Anti aging serum

Reduce fine lines, wrinkles and acne-prone:

Retinol and hyaluronic ingredients in Retinol Serum or hyaluronic Serum that I mentioned in Serum types are some of the most important to reduce your existed fine lines, wrinkles, and acne-prone. Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, added that retinol reduces the tendency of cells and keratin debris to clump together and clog up pores, making it especially helpful for those with oily and acne-prone skin. Moreover, AHA is effective for mild acne-prone skin. So exfoliating serum that contains AHA (Alpha hydroxyl acid) and BHA (beta hydroxy acid) is good for your mild acne-prone skin.

If you want to learn deep about retinol and how does it work and side effects of it you may read it

Anti aging serum

Reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation:

Face Serum contains Azelaic acid, Glycolic acid, Kojic acid, Retinol, Vitamin C, hydroquinone that all are useful to fade your dark spots and lightening hyperpigmentation. 

Topical Azelaic acid has so many beneficial properties like anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, anti-keratinizing effects which help to kill bacteria, remove dead cells, down the process of inflammatory. It’s also known as a tyrosinase inhibitor means decreases excessive melanin production which is good for those who have rosacea, melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Why is it important to use a serum?

By incorporating a serum in your beauty regime prevent the sign of aging by reducing wrinkles and fine lines. It also helps to remove dead cells, unclog and minimize pores and increase the luminosity of your skin.

Can serum remove dark spots?

Yes, serums contain some active ingredients like mandelic acid, vitamin c, Kojic acid, hydroquinone all are fruitful to fade your dark spots. Since its molecules are so small and lightweight, active ingredients can seep into deeper layer easily and solve your specific skin concern

Does Face Serum work?

If you are able to pick the right serum, it will work. It has some active ingredients that really work and it’s clinically proved. Moreover, its molecule is so tiny and lightweight and so it can penetrate into the deeper layer of your skin and let the active ingredients target specific skin problems.

Is there any side effect of face serum?

Basically, serums are good for the skin. All active ingredients of serums are skin-friendly. Active ingredients like AHAs made from sugary fruits, BHAs made from willow bark and sweet birch trees. So don’t worry. But those who have highly dry skin and acne-prone skin should do a patch test before applying it or consult with a dermatologist. If you want to avoid any side effects you should have proper knowledge about the application of it.

When is the best time to use face serum

You can apply face Serum once or twice per day during night and day after cleansing your skin pores clearly. If your serum is exfoliating type apply it at night because it exfoliates the upper layer of your skin. So whenever go out, there is a heavy chance of having sunburn and your skin will damage. I strongly recommend you to choose anti-oxidant type serum during daytime which protects your skin from pollutants, free radical damage (caused by UV rays) and must wear sun protection cream before going out. If you are a new user and have heavy dry skin then try once a day will be the best for you.

Is it better to use serum in the morning or at night?

You can use serum during night and day also. Apply exfoliating type serum during nighttime (which contains AHAs and BHAs). Apply anti-oxidant type serum during the daytime that will protect your skin from free radical damage and sunburn.

Should I use an antioxidant serum?

Anti-oxidant serums contain vitamin A, C, E that help to stimulate collagen production, protect your skin from free radical damage, dark spots, hyperpigmentation. It is also good for those who have oily and acne-prone skin. So you can use it once a day in a proper dimension.

Can I use Vitamin C serum at night?

Yes, you can. But if you use two types of face serum a day so use vitamin c serum during the day and the rest at night. Since you should go out during the day, it will protect your skin from UV rays, free radical damage, and pollutants.   

What age should I start using serum?

After 19-20. Since your skin produces collagen and skin protein naturally during your teenage so you don’t need to use it. After 19 to 20 if you notice any kinds of problem like inflammation, oiliness, acne-prone, and the sign of aging so you can.   


How to apply serum on face

Well, you may already have learned a little bit about face serum and its benefits. But if you don’t know how to apply serum on face properly, it will not be fruitful for your skin. You know, the epidermis layer of the skin produces new skin cells which push the dead cells off to the upper layer of the skin. So your upper layer contains cells that are dead which work as a barrier in your upper layer and make your skin dry. Actually dead cells get stuck in the pores of your skin which clog pores of your skin.

How to apply serum on face

As the serum is featured to penetrate into the deeper layer of the face skin, so removing dead cells from the upper layer is the most important thing to be absorbed by the deeper layer of skin. If you don’t remove dead cells from your skin, the serum will not be able to seep into the deeper layer of your skin. However, you should maintain some order to apply it properly. 

Cleanse the pores of your skin

Before applying face serum you have to use a good face wash to clean the pores of your face. If your pores are full of dirt which makes them clogged, this face is not suitable for serum since it will not be absorbed into the skin because of having unclean and clogged pores.

cleansing face before appying face serum

Besides, if you are in heavy make-up so only face-wash can’t clean all dirt and grime from your skin. So, a deep cleanser should be used to remove heavy make-up, dirt, and impurities. Thus you can clean your pores. By the way, if you want to know better how to treat clog pores and unclog them, you can go inside.

Apply toner

The importance of toning is beyond description. After cleansing the face, your pores become open and may produce more oil which will make obstruct for the serum to penetrate into a deeper layer. Basically, toner removes all residual dirt and impurities after washing your face and minimizes the skin cells gap. Eventually, help the serum to be absorbed by the deeper layer of the skin. Now let’s come to the point.

Toning before applying serum

Take a small amount of toner on tip of the finger and then apply it gently on the cheeks, chin, and nose area. And keep the focus on the neck area also.

If you do not use any toner, take a little mild-warm water after washing your face and just apply it on your face which will wash away all remaining grime. Then take a piece of ice into a clean cloth and gently apply it to the face for 20 to 30 seconds. Then wipe your face well with tissue or a clean cloth. This method will work like a toner.

Now apply Serum on face

After cleansing your face and toner- if you feel little tightness in the face so your face is ready to use the magical product (face serum).

Before applying face serum I recommend you read the label of the bottle of the serum. Because everything is mentioned in the bottle like how many times, how many drops can you use it and the active ingredients also.

how to apply serum on face

Now let’s come to the direct point, the standard application of serum is 2 to 3 drops. But it can vary from skin to skin and serum to serum.

Well, you can apply it through a dropper and also can apply through your fingertip and gently apply on cheeks, chin, and in your neck area. Then gently tap your skin. Since its molecule is too tiny, it will be absorbed easily. You don’t need to rub and tug your face skin. That’s the fantastic feature of it. You will feel lightweight even after applying it to your face.

Wait for 2 to 3 minutes

If your serum is water-based, you should wait for 2 to 3 minutes. But if it is oil-based try to wait 4 to 5 minutes to be absorbed. Let your face serum give some time to penetrate into your skin properly.

Now apply moisturizer

After waiting for a while, now your face is ready to apply moisturizer. Apply it on your cheeks, chin, and neck area with your fingertip.

how to apply serum on face

Actually applying moisturizer is necessary to lock nutrient ingredients of face serum. Because moisturizer stays in the upper layer of your skin, whether face serum is absorbed by the deeper layer. Moisturizer helps to protect and hydrate your skin creating an extra layer. Get the best moisturizers that really blend easily with serum and shows no irritation.

Another important thing is that moisturizer makes your skin ready for the next day to use other skincare products.   

Can we apply serum directly on face?

No, serum should apply after cleansing and before moisturizer. If you don’t clean your face, your pores will not be unclogged. Clog pores come as a barrier for face serum. For this, serums can’t be absorbed properly by a deeper layer of your skin. Apply it after cleansing your face.  

Can we use face serum daily

Yes, but if you are a new serum user try 3 to 4 times per week. Let the serum be suited to your skin and use a moisturizer afterward, one month later you can apply it on a regular basis. But make sure to pick the right serum according to your skin condition and use it moderately.

What should I apply after face serum?

If you are a day user, you can choose sunscreen after applying serum. Then you can apply foundation or whatever you want but let the sunscreen take few minutes to set. If you are a night user, just apply a suitable branded moisturizer after using the serum. 

It is good to wear sunscreen every day but if you don’t wash it off before bedtime it may give you reverse effects. Get more facts about sunscreen that you might not know.

How do you apply face serum at night?

Apply toner after cleansing your face. Then apply the serum on your cheeks, chin, and neck area also with your fingertips. Don’t need to rub your face, just tap your skin gently and let the serum be penetrated into the skin. Finally, try to use moisturizer after applying serum.

Is it OK to use serum without moisturizer?

It depends on which environment you belong to, your skin condition, and the serum that you use. If you are in a moist environment and use hyaluronic serum or hydrating serum so you can skip moisturizer. You also can skip it, if yours is oily skin.

Do I need both serum and moisturizer?

Depends on what type of serum you use. Some of the serums are exfoliating type contain AHAs and BHAs which help to exfoliate the upper layer of your skin. So applying moisturizer can protect your skin from sunburn and help to make your skin prepare to use serum again for the next day. If you use a serum that contains hyaluronic acid, you can skip it.

Should I use toner or serum first?

Obviously toner first, after applying toner you can apply the serum on your face. Toner removes all residual dirt and impurities stuck in pores after washing the face. So it is important to use toner before applying serum to clean pores properly

Which is better serum or toner?

The serum is better than toner since it has some active ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, BHAs, etc. These active ingredients focus on specific skin concerns (acne, oiliness, dryness, wrinkle, fine-line, etc.) while toner balance the skin’s PH removes residual dirt and impurities after washing the face.  

Is it bad to use toner everyday?

It depends on the skin and environmental conditions and what type of toner you are using. If your skin and environment are so much dry so pick moisturizer base toner once a day that contains glycerine and hyaluronic acid. Alcohol base may irritate your skin but It is good for oily and acne-prone skin if you can use it moderately. 

How to choose face serum

You already know, different types of face serum are available in the market. Neither each skin type is the same or each face serum type. Each serum is contained with different active ingredients. So you should have proper knowledge about each serum type and its active ingredients. Then you will be understood what serum you should use to solve your specific skin problem.

How to choose face serum

Oily acne-prone skin

If your skin produces excessive sebum (oily skin) and has acne and scars problems on your cheeks or anywhere else then I will strongly suggest you use the serum with niacinamide active ingredient. Niacinamide has antimicrobial property that helps to kill or slow the spread of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It is also known as vitamin B3.

Besides, you may use glycolic, salicylic, and retinoid ingredients which will exfoliate your upper layer. It will help to renew the lipid barrier in your skin and get all the dirt out of the pores. So vitamin c serum or exfoliating type serum-like AHAs and BHAs will be the best choice for you.

acne-prone skin

On the other hand, if your skin is dry acne-prone, choose a serum that contains hyaluronic acid. It also helps to reduce reddish and acne and rehydrating your skin and defends against moisture loss.

But if your skin has highly acne-prone problem, it is better to consult with a dermatologist.

Wrinkles, fine-lines skin

Retinol is the best one for reducing the signs of aging. It reduces wrinkles, fine-lines and defends against free radical damage, exfoliates the upper layer of the skin, and stimulates producing new collagen.

You may use ascorbic acid (vitamin C) which also helps to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots and it is proved with research. So Retinol serum (Retinoid serum) or vitamin C serum will be the most suited for you.

Dark spots, discoloration, hyperpigmentation   

When your skin comes to sun exposure, it produces melanin to protect your skin from sun damage. But excessive production of melanin causes dark spots, blackheads, hyperpigmentation.  Use Mandelic acid, vitamin c (a form of ascorbic acid), kojic acid, glycolic acid, and 2% hydroquinone. These all ingredients are expert to reduce dark spots, blackheads, and hyperpigmentation reducing excessive melanin from your skin.

Our experts find some outstanding ingredients and tricks to remove blackheads you may read it

You can choose vitamin c serum considering above mentioned ingredients and exfoliate type serum like hydroquinone serum.

Melasma and Sensitive skin

AHAs are good for treating Melasma and sensitive skin. AHA like Glycolic acid (made from sugar cane), Mandelic acid (made from almond), Salicylic acid. You also can use Hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is very gentle and helpful for all skin types even for sensitive and rashes-prone skin it also helps to fill the dermal. So you can apply hyaluronic serum and serums that contain AHA ingredients.

Table: What face serum should you use

Skin conditionActive ingredientsSerum types
Oily skinGlycolic acid, cyclic acid and retinoidVitamin C serum, or exfoliating serum
Dry skinVitamin E, Glycolic acid, Hyaluronic acidHyaluronic serum and serum that contains glycolic acid and vitamin E.
Oily acne-prone skinNiacinamide Zinc, vitamin c, salicylic acidVitamin C serum or serums that contain niacinamide
Dry acne-proneHyaluronic acidHyaluronic serum
Wrinkle fine-line problemRetinol, vitamin c, peptideVitamin c serum or Retinol serum
Dark spots, Hyperpigmentation skinMandelic acid, vitamin c, kojic acid, 2% hydroquinoneHydroquinone serum, vitamin c serum
Melasma and sensitive skinGlycolic acid, salicylic acid, Mandelic acid, hyaluronic acidHyaluronic serum and serum that has AHAs

How do I choose a face serum?

Choose face serum according to your skin condition. For treating wrinkles, fine lines, and regaining the radiance of your skin choose retinol and vitamin c serum. If you have oily acne-prone skin, use a serum with niacinamide and salicylic acid. For dry skin, use a hyaluronic serum. For removing dark spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation, use a serum with 2% hydroquinone, kojic, and mandelic acid.

Which serum is best for face?

Which serum is best, it depends on what your face skin claims to.

  1. Retinol serum – fade wrinkle, fine-line
  2. Hydroquinone and Vitamin c serum- remove dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and increase rediance
  3. Hyaluronic serum- good sensitive and dry skin
  4. Serum with niacinamide or vitamin c- good oily acne prone and remove acne scars

Which serum is best for aging skin?

For aging skin retinol and vitamin c serum is best. Retinol and vitamin c help to heal sagging and fine-lined skin and revitalize your skin by stimulating producing collagen.

What serums should not be mixed?

We should not use the same active ingredients during using the serum. Retinol serum should not be used with vitamin c, benzoyl peroxide, AHAs (Glycolic, lactic, citric acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid), and any bleaching products. If you use vitamin c, you should avoid cleansing foam or soap base face-wash.

Well, well, well considering above all matters we can say it is the best and magical product for our skin. Now let’s consider what does face serum do one last time.

what should face serum do
  • Since its molecule is so tiny, it can seep deep into the skin and heals the skin deeply.
  • Face serum has some active ingredients which can target and treat major skin problem like wrinkles, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, aging discoloration, acne, melisma, etc.
  •  It not only treats major skin problems but makes your skin healthy by protecting skin from free radical damage, stimulating to produce new collagen.
  • It firms and tightens your skin and creates a smoother skin texture.
  • It removes dead cells and unclogs your pores.
  • It increases luminosity and makes your skin luster with its active ingredients in a jiffy that makes your skin vibrant.
  • You can use two different types of face serum at a time, one at night another in the morning. You can use it before make-up also.

Special tips for serum user 

What should do

  • Before going out sunscreen should be used since some serums are exfoliator type.
  • If you are a new user make a patch test to check whether it makes your skin irritate or not.
  • It is good to use moisturizer after applying face serum since moisturizer creates an extra layer and locks the nutrient of the face serum.
  • Be gentle with your face.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • If you use two types of serums a day, try to understand the combination of both serums and is it good for your skin or not.

What should not do

  1. If you use chemical exfoliants like an exfoliating serum, so don’t use a physical exfoliator.
  2. Don’t scrub if you use an exfoliating serum.
  3. Do not use any bleaching cream.
  4. Shouldn’t be used retinol serum with vitamin c, benzoyl peroxide, AHAs (Glycolic, lactic, citric acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid), and any bleaching products.

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