Skin serums deliver a powerful punch of hydration, nutrients, and vitamins that your skin craves. That’s why it’s so important to understand exactly what ingredients are going to nurture your skin. Investing in the right serum can tackle even the most challenging skin issues head on, leaving you with the smooth, supple skin you’ve always dreamed about.

Just like any other skincare product, serums have to fit your skin’s profile. Trying a few different options and working with your dermatologist is key to nailing down exactly what your skin needs, but we can get you started with a few ingredient suggestions!


If your skin usually looks shiny or greasy by the end of the day, you probably have oily skin. The skin naturally produces an oil called sebum to create a layer of protection from the elements. Those with oily skin can also experience issues with their makeup, as the product won’t seem to “stick” to the oilier parts of your face. Acne is also common, as the oil clogs pores.

When searching for a serum, keep an eye out for these ingredients:

  • Glycolic acid reduces excess oils, unclogs pores and promotes cell turnover.
  • Hyaluronic acid provides a lighter moisturizer that’s perfect for oily skin. It replaces the petroleums and mineral oils found in traditional skincare products.
  • Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that combats oily skin by boosting collagen production and keeping pores clean.
  • Mandelic Acid  has antibacterial properties, absorbs excess oils, minimizes pore size and exfoliates dead skin cells.


Dry skin can feel flaky, tight, and dehydrated. Some areas of your skin can take on a dull, gray appearance. Many people with dry skin notice that their face feels stretched and uncomfortable after washing with certain cleansers. This is because dry skin does not produce enough sebum, and harsh cleansers wash away what little is there.

The key to serums for dry skin is moisture. Look for ingredients such as:

  • Glycerin is a hydrator that absorbs moisture from the environment and delivers it to thirsty skin. Glycerin has been proven to closely mimic skin’s natural ability to retain water.
  • Hyaluronic acid is a natural moisture binding substance that holds 1000 times its weight in water.
  • Panthenol (a vitamin B-5 derivative) works as a humectant, which delivers both a necessary boost in hydration and helps heal the protective layers of skin.


Those with combination skin have a particular challenge, as they are trying to combat two different issues. Typically, people with combination skin experience excessive sebum in the “T-Zone,” or the area of the face that includes the forehead, nose, and chin. Meanwhile, the areas surrounding this zone are dry and flaky.

Fortunately, there are serums catered to combination skin that help combat both issues.

Look for products that contain both:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), which is made from certain fruit sugars. These gently exfoliate the  top layers of skin, giving the healthy skin underneath a chance to shine. They help even out skin tone by resetting your skin to neutral ground.
  • Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is oil-soluble, which means that it can penetrate even deeper than an AHA product. It goes into pores, removing dead skin cells and excess sebum. It’s perfect for those with acne in their T-Zone.

If you have highly sensitive skin, chose products with polyhydroxy acids (PHAs). PHAs have powerful, nourishing anti-aging benefits without the irritation.


Sensitive skin can be any of the proceeding types, with the added bonus of becoming easily irritated by a variety of common skincare ingredients. This can be particularly frustrating if you’re dealing with extremely oily or extremely dry skin, as you may find that gentler ingredients just aren’t getting the job done.

Finding the perfect serum for sensitive skin is going to take a little work, but in general, you can feel safe using:

  • Marine algae extracts are soothing agents that combat inflammation. Even if your serum of choice contains typical irritants, these extracts can calm the irritation.
  • Lactobionic acid, a milk protein that soothes raw, irritated skin.
  • Rice protein neutralizes redness and blotchiness.
  • Vitamin E  (tocopherol) helps your skin heal, and strengthens the skin barrier function.

All skin types will benefit from antioxidants. They neutralize free radicals to protect skin against oxidative stress and provide visible anti-aging benefits.

Skin serums are one step of your skincare routine that you never want to miss. That’s why finding the perfect product for your unique skin conditions should start with a conversation with a skincare expert. Your dermatologist can help you discover exactly what your skin is looking for.