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If you’re one to obsess over your skin, it’s probably not your first time out here hearing about serums and skin treatments. They’ve been around for quite some time in the beauty industry, and if we listen to the wise words of the flying birdie, they’re kind of revolutionary when it comes to improving and restoring your skin!
That being said, these expensive little bottles of creams and liquid and whatnot are shrouded in a bit of mystery, especially to the layman. Why should you be clearing your knowledge up about them, you ask? Well, that’s because, through proper knowledge and research, you’ll probably be able to either:
- Not waste your money on a pompously marketed but generally useless product.
- Be able to find a product that’s actually going to show some great results for your skin.
So, are you trying to achieve flawless skin that’s picture-perfect even when all you have is a bare face? While that’s virtually impossible if you stick to simple measures. Serums and treatments could be your ticket to bringing your skin goals to fruition.
And if you’re clueless about what’s going on here, buckle up! We’re going to be telling you everything you need to know about serums and skin treatments so that you can decide whether they are for you or not. And as a bonus, you’re also going to get tons of tips and recommendations for choosing the right products for yourself, so stay tuned!
Are Skin Treatments And Serums For You?
Before you delve deep into skincare territory, you need to know whether all of this is worth your time, now don’t you? Skin treatments come in all sorts of varieties, each label promising that it will solve a particular kind of skin issue that you might be facing. However, you also need to remember that these products are on the pricey end of the bargain.
Therefore, if you’re set on buying a serum or treatment but lack the budget, we suggest that you only buy the product you totally need. The following is a list of skin issues that serums are popularly known to solve. If anything on this list irks you to the core of your very being or just really, really annoys you, you should probably get a nice skin treatment for it.
Get a Serum or Skin Treatment if…
- You have acne-prone skin, or your skin has acne scars that you’d like to get rid of.
- You want to prevent or reverse signs of aging.
- You have visible imperfections on your skin that you would like to correct.
- Your skin is extremely dry, and you would like to give it a boost of moisture.
- Your skin seems pretty dull, and you’d like to brighten it up.
- Your skin is lacking some essential vitamins or minerals, and your dermatologist is recommending them to you.
Now, What Are Serums And Skin Treatments?
Serums and skin treatments might have been marketed as the one ultimate solution to all of your skin problems, and to some extent, that might actually be true. Nonetheless, they are shrouded in some amount of mystery.
Like we said, proper research is crucial for making an intelligent purchase, so here we are today! Let’s talk about serums.
What Are Serums, and How Do They Work?
Serums are a relatively new introduction to the world of skincare, but you could say that they’re really effective. In simple terms, a serum is a solution that contains concentrated vitamins, minerals, or other special ingredients in large amounts in their pure and active forms. These are directly introduced to your skin when you apply the serum and actively begin their action, changing the appearance of your skin radically and giving you fast and effective results.
For instance, if your serum is rich in Vitamin C, you will immediately start seeing fewer wrinkles and fine lines, and your dark spots will start lightening after the first few applications. Active ingredients are the secret behind the fast effects of serums. While they are undoubtedly effective, though, you must remember that they will not be too helpful when it comes to more severe skin issues.
Moving On to Skin Treatments…
When it comes to the more stubborn scars and imperfections on your face, a simple serum won’t be able to be of any good help to you. If you’d like these flaws to be completely removed from their core, you will need to rely on chemical or surgical procedures performed by medical professionals that are popularly known as skin treatments.
Skin treatments are the most effective methods to achieve great skin. Albeit expensive, they are the fastest solutions and the longest-lasting too. Skin treatments involve the usage of chemicals that aren’t suitable for unsupervised usage.
Although approved by professionals, the layman wouldn’t be able to use these. This is why you need to see a doctor and pay a rather exorbitant price to have these procedures performed on you.
Skin treatments could include injecting chemicals into your skin, lasers, or chemical peels to achieve desired results. These can include side effects of pain and discomfort as well as recovery time, depending upon the procedure that you’re going for.
Now while skin treatments are generally the term that refers to medical procedures to alter the skin significantly, of late, the term has been thrown about a little for non-medical procedures too.
Essentially, a bundle of products that serve the same skin-healing products could be called a skin treatment. For instance, a set of products that contain an acne cream, an anti-scar cream, acne serums, and perhaps a few peels and face masks designed to help acne-prone skin could be labeled as an acne treatment.
As a fun addition, such a bundle could also include a medical procedure for acne scar treatment. The additional acne products could be there simply to help you achieve better results or prevent acne scars in the future. If you’re looking for such a treatment, your dermatologist should be the one you consult.
Therefore, here are the key similarities and differences between serums and skin treatments at a glance.
The Major Differences Between Serums vs Skin Treatments
- Skin treatments are vastly more expensive than serums as the latter are simple active ingredients, whereas the former can be complex medical procedures.
- There are hardly any side effects of serums. In contrast, certain skin treatments involve recovery times after each session and can lead to pain, discomfort, rashes, swelling, and other similar issues (depending upon the procedure).
- You do not require a prescription to purchase most serums, whereas skin treatments require prescriptions, and need to be overseen by professionals.
- Serums often take longer than skin treatments to start showing results, whereas skin treatments show results almost immediately.
- Serums cannot heal major scars and imperfections, whereas many cosmetic surgeries and skin treatments are capable of doing so.
The Different Types Of Serums You Should Look Out For
Serums come in all sorts of types, and they are generally classified based on the ingredients they use or the purpose they serve. Here are the serums that are most commonly used to treat some widespread skin issues:
- Anti-Aging Serums
- Brightening Serums
- Acne Serums
- Antioxidant Serums
- Hydrating Serums
- Exfoliating Serums
- Pore-Minimizing Serums
Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at these different types of serums and what exactly they do for your skin.
As their name suggests, anti-aging serums help reverse anti-aging signs by strengthening and tightening your skin and reducing wrinkles, fine lines, and other blemishes. The most common active ingredients in these serums are Retinoids and Vitamin-C, and they usually need to be used at least twice a day to see significant results.
It’s also rather interesting to note that Vitamin-C on its own has a plethora of skin-rejuvenating properties, so investing in a simple Vitamin-C serum on its own can give you a variety of anti-aging benefits.
If your skin has started to appear dull, and you’re starting to see dark spots and blemishes on it, a brightening serum will be able to help you achieve your faded radiance once again. Brightening serums focus on evening out the skin’s surface and targeting scars and dark spots to lighten or completely remove them.
Alongside that, they also help lighten the skin by halting melanin production and dissolving dead skin cells. Some brightening serums also contain light-reflective particles that give your skin an immediate glow.
One of the most popular serums out there, acne serums are designed to fight off bacteria and oils that cause breakouts to prevent acne and skin inflammation. They also immediately act on any acne or open acne scars present on your skin and help you get rid of them very quickly through consistent use.
Oxidation is one of the primary reasons behind the aging and loosening of the skin, and therefore, antioxidants have been extremely popular in the beauty industry of late. An antioxidant serum gives your skin an instant boost of Vitamins C and E, as well as some other ingredients that form a protective barrier around your skin and prevent any pollutants from causing damage to your skin by neutralizing them.
If your skin feels really dry at times, it’s a clear sign that your skin lacks moisture. Moisturized and hydrated skin not only appears bright, dewy, and healthy, but it also helps fend off a variety of skin issues. A hydrating serum introduces a layer of glycerin and hyaluronic acid to your skin to keep it hydrated throughout the day.
The serum that’s perfect for you if you’re trying to even out your skin and get rid of old acne scars. An exfoliating serum introduces active ingredients to your skin that help dissolves dead skin cells and help your skin feel and look softer, smoother, and more radiant.
If your skin has large open pores that tend to get clogged often and ruin the appearance of your skin, a pore-minimizing serum is perfect for you. These serums clear congested pores, help reduce the secretions from your pores and lighten them to reduce their prominence and make your skin appear more even-toned. These serums also help clear out any congested pores underneath the skin and flatten any bumps.
The Different Types of Skin Treatments You Should Look Out For
Seeking out skin treatments is a great idea if you’re trying to achieve perfect skin for a price. The most effective skin-healing strategy out there, cosmetology, has come rather far when it comes to helping people achieve flawless skin regardless of their age.
These skin treatments include:
- Chemical Peels
- Laser Treatments
Each treatment has its advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll break down below.
You’ve been living in a different century if you haven’t heard about Botox. The most advanced and effective anti-aging skin treatment at the moment, Botox treatments are fast and long-lasting.
Botox treatments generally involve Botox injections, i.e., your doctor will be injecting small amounts of Botox into your skin. Botox is a chemical that causes paralysis of facial muscles and blockage of your nerves from receiving signals. This action smoothes your existing wrinkles and prevents new wrinkles from appearing while the effect of the chemical lasts.
A standard Botox procedure shouldn’t take you longer than about 20 minutes, is relatively painless, and can be done without anesthetics. You don’t need any recovery time either, and the results of the procedure are immediate.
- Smoother, less lined skin
- Relatively affordable
- Quick and fairly painless
- Very low risk
- Only a temporary fix
- While initially cheap, it can add up in price
- Can cause bruising
- While risks are minimal, they still exist
Microdermabrasion is a common treatment that helps remove scars and imperfections on the outer layer of the skin and smoothen it out. The procedure involves the removal of imperfections on the outer layer of skin, and thus, you’ll have to be given a numbing agent, and your skin will require some time to heal from the procedure too.
Depending on the depth of the scars and imperfections that are to be removed, you might need several appointments with your doctor to complete the procedure.
If your scars are too severe, you might have to opt for dermabrasion, which removes deeper scars but is also more painful and takes much longer than microdermabrasion as it is the complete removal of the outer layer of the skin.
Microdermabrasion usually takes about 30 minutes during each session, and your skin requires 3-6 days to heal completely.
- Can reduce the appearance of fine lines
- This leads to better, brighter skin tone and color
- Can minimize the appearance of pores
- Can refresh your face
- Fairly painless
- Low-risk procedure
- Can have some risks (like redness and bruising)
- Doesn’t treat cystic acne
- Not very affordable
- Doesn’t address severe skin concerns
Chemical peels are essentially chemicals that your doctor applies to your skin to treat various imperfections such as wrinkles, acne scars, dark spots, and other similar concerns. Chemical peels come in three levels of severity:
The right peel for you will depend on the degree of treatment required for your skin. While mild peels hardly have any recovery time, stronger peels may need up to 2 weeks of recovery time or even longer. However, the plus side of peels is that their effects are extremely long-lasting.
- Can treat acne
- Has been shown to reduce fine lines
- Improves skin color and texture
- Can minimize the appearance of pores
- Shown to lift and tighten skin
- Relatively affordable
- Can be very dangerous if done incorrectly
- May be fairly uncomfortable
- Scabs and lesions possible after treatment
- Skin may be red and tender after procedure
Laser treatments are a fast and effective tool for treating various skin issues such as acne scars, dark spots, wrinkles, and the removal of facial hair. They usually involve the usage of UV light to remove regions of the skin or damaging hair cuticles.
Depending upon how strong your treatment is, you may require time to heal, and your procedure might be longer and can include several stages and sessions, too.
Pros of laser treatments:
- Can reduce the appearance of sunspots
- Shown to improve texture and color of skin
- May tighten and firm your skin
- Can treat fine lines and wrinkles
Cons of laser treatment:
- A fairly costly procedure
- Can be dangerous if done incorrectly
- May cause burns and scars
- There’s an elevated risk of pigmentation
The Steps To Choosing The Best Serums/Skin Treatments For Yourself
When trying to decide which serums and skin treatments are best for you, there are four main steps that you need to consider before you begin. These are:
- Figure out the imperfections that you would like to treat.
- Book an appointment with your dermatologist.
- Get yourself tested for any potential allergies.
- Research, research, and do some more research to find the right treatments and products.
Figure Out the Imperfections That You Would Like To Treat
Don’t forget that it’s never a requirement for you to use a serum or get a skin treatment; your skin is wonderful the way it is. However, if having minimal or no blemishes or imperfections on your skin is that important to you, you’re all good to go!
It’s always a good idea to look into the after-effects and risks of these products and procedures and weigh your options to decide whether it’s worth it or not.
If you’re set on it, be sure to clearly highlight what you expect to be fixed or removed so that you can get the products that target exactly those areas of your skin.
Book an Appointment With Your Dermatologist
Skin treatments and serums are both radical and powerful processes to heal your skin, which is why input from a professional is necessary. Your dermatologist will help you decide which route is perfect for achieving your skin goals and point you in the right direction when choosing the right products and treatments.
This discourse will also help you clearly understand what you will be putting your skin through and determine your final choice.
Get Yourself Tested for Any Potential Allergies
A simple skin test with your dermatologist will allow them to figure out if you’re allergic to any ingredients or chemicals. If you test positive for any allergen, be sure to stay far away from any products that contain the said allergen.
Research, Research, and Do Some More Research To Find the Right Treatments and Products
If you opt for full-fledged skin treatment, your dermatologist will likely recommend a clinic that offers the particular procedure you’re looking for. You can always look around for more suitable clinics and ask good questions regarding the procedure so that you can be assured of your own safety. Make sure that it’s covered by your insurance company, too!
As for serums, researching is key when it comes to finding the perfect product. Look extensively through the ingredient list to ensure that a product does not contain any allergens or harmful chemicals that will only end up deteriorating your skin. You can also get your dermatologist’s opinion on the product of your choice or ask them for their recommendations to make things easier.
Best Use Tips for Skin Serums
To get the most out of your skin serums, there are a few steps you need to follow. By being careful, you can help ensure you get the most out of your skincare regimen!
- Wash your face well.
- Apply the serums to damp skin.
- Don’t overdo it.
- Moisturize (but not right away).
Wash Your Face Well
The ingredients in your skin serums will actually cling to any lingering dead skin or dirt on your face, so to make sure they work well, you do need to wash your face thoroughly. Avoid using overly hot water, as it can irritate your skin. Coldwater will make it harder to wash your face. Warm water, though, should be just right.
Apply the Serums to Damp Skin
It’s important to keep your face damp before applying the serums, as moist skin is significantly more permeable than dry skin. Don’t rub them in briskly, either. Instead, just gently pat them on with the palm of your hand to help improve absorption of the ingredients.
Don’t Overdo It
While it may be tempting to want to splash on a lot of products, that can actually backfire. Not only is that very wasteful, but you’re not going to get any extra benefits from adding too much of the serum. The product itself is highly concentrated, so a little bit does go a long way. We suggest using just a pea-sized dot of serum on your entire face.
Moisturize (But Not Right Away)
Contrary to popular belief, these serums are not moisturizers and shouldn’t be treated as such. Instead, let the serum sink into your skin for about five or ten minutes. Afterward, apply a layer of non-comedogenic moisturizer to your face.
Pro Tip: Before patting your serum onto your face, start with an alcohol-free toner. Leave your skin slightly damp. This will help the ingredients penetrate deeper, lending more beneficial effects. In addition, if you find that the serum leaves a greasy or sticky film on your skin, it may mean that it’s not working as well, and you may need to look for a different brand or product.
Our Top Recommendations
Below, you’ll find all of our favorite skincare serums. We carefully vetted and personally selected each item on the list to help ensure you find the best product for your skincare needs.
What Was Our Selection Criteria?
To be included on our list, there were a few things that we looked for in each of the products. After all, we only wanted to choose items that would be beneficial to your skin and wouldn’t harm you.
All of the serums we chose were:
- Hypoallergenic. We wanted to avoid products that could cause a nasty skin reaction. After all, skincare isn’t a one size fits all approach, and we all have different needs.
- Highly reviewed. Just because an item was popular doesn’t mean that people liked it. Each item needed to have glowing reviews to be included.
- Reliable. We all have unique skincare concerns, and these products needed to treat a specific skin issue to be included.
- Non-comedogenic. Nobody likes getting acne breakouts, so we wanted to make sure these products were safe for sensitive, acne-prone skin.
- Affordability. While some of these products are more expensive than others, we wanted to avoid overly costly products.
Without further ado, let’s go ahead and take a closer look at our selections!
Our Favorite Vitamin-C Serum: Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum
Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum is a lightweight gel formula that is easily absorbed by your skin and shows results almost from the very minute you apply it. Filled with the miraculous skin-healing properties of Vitamin C and additional nourishing ingredients, this serum is pure. It promises you bright and healthy skin with the action of the ingredients in their truest forms only.
- Free of fragrances, parabens, and dyes, the product is clear and truly pure.
- 20% Vitamin-C gives your skin ample Vitamin-C to protect and replenish it throughout the day.
- Brightens your complexion and helps build up collagen to tighten your skin and reverse aging effects.
- Protects your skin from environmental hazards and pollutants.
- Contains Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid to smoothen your skin and help it glow.
- Suitable for all skin types.
- Some shippers do not package the product adequately. The serum is supposed to be stored in an airtight container and should be clear in color to denote that it is in perfect condition. Upon oxidation due to bad packaging, the product turns yellow/brown and is no longer fit for usage.
The Best Serum For Hydration: Hada Labo Rohto Hadalabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist
A fan favorite Asian brand that’s essentially become the face of hydrating serums at this point, the Hada Labo Lotion Moist is a light and creamy serum-like formula that’s beyond effective when it comes to giving your skin the boost of moisture it needs.
- Locks in your skin’s moisture, making it feel smooth, soft, and supple.
- Contains the magical ingredient — Hyaluronic Acid — in 3 forms to maintain the skin’s optimum moisture balance.
- Does not contain alcohol, colorants, mineral oil, or fragrances.
- Plumps up your skin and gets absorbed in a flash.
- Helps reduce spots and fine lines and prevent acne.
- A bang for the buck — costs just about $10 – $15 for a 170 ml bottle.
- Ingredient list not revealed by the company. The ingredients are written on the package in Japanese, but the official ingredient list is nowhere to be seen on the company’s English website.
- Many suspect that it isn’t the most organic and natural product in the market, so you’d probably be able to find an almost equally effective product for a greater price that has better ingredients.
Exfoliating Serum That Shows Results: GOOD GENES All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment
A serum that has worked its magic countless times, GOOD GENES All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment has been described as the holy-grail of exfoliating serums by many of its customers, thanks to its extensive and impressive ingredient list.
- Clears blackheads, bumps over and under the skin, and reduces pores’ visibility and opens up clogged pores.
- Smoothens skin and reduces dullness by making the skin appear more radiant.
- The lactic-acid-based formula helps your skin appear plump and dewy.
- Although the product fits all skin types, some customers have complained that it makes their skin extremely oily.
- It’s a pricey product.
Best Skin Treatments and Serums Final Thoughts:
Investing in a serum or a skin treatment is taking your skincare to the next level, and while it’s mostly amazing for both your skin’s health and appearance, it does come with slightly heightened levels of side effects and discomfort.
Of all the products on this list, our favorite will have to be the Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum. Full of antioxidants to help brighten and rejuvenate your skin, it will definitely give you the best results.
However, that said, the best serum or skin treatment for you would be one that you fully believe in, a product that is tried and tested and has proven itself to be effective and worth every penny you spend on it. Try starting safe and slow, and keep going at your own pace until you feel completely happy with your skin!