Skin-care experts are constantly persuading us to add another step or product to our routine, and sometimes we gotta wonder if the additional formula actually makes a difference. Well, serums are one of those additions that are actually editor-approved and even dermatologist-recommended to adopt as a staple step in your daily regimen.
What is a serum, you ask? Serums are typically lighter weight than a moisturizer and can quickly deliver a higher concentration of active ingredients into the skin. “Serums are mostly water-based lightweight moisturizers with potent active ingredients that are small in size and can penetrate deep into the skin,” says NYC dermatologist and owner of Sadick Dermatology, Neil Sadick, MD.
“If you find that despite your daily routine, your skin still needs some nourishment, it’s time to consider adding a serum to your regimen.” Ahead, we’ve gathered 20 top-selling serums at every price point that will tackle the most common skin concerns with just a few drops.
For Dry Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum
For parched, dry skin, this serum delivers moisture with hyaluronic acid, a powerhouse ingredient that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water.
$15 at Target
For Dry Skin: Erno Laszlo Hydra-Therapy Skin Revitalizer
A mega-moisturizing duo, sodium hyaluronate and glycerin, work to increase and maintain moisture levels within your skin.
$90 at Erno Laszlo
For Acne: Clinique Acne Solutions Acne + Line Correcting Serum
When those pesky teenage breakouts continue to appear in your adult years, this oil-free formula not only will tackle those annoying blemishes but also address the fine lines and wrinkles that show up as we start "adulting."
$45 at Sephora
For Acne: Kate Somerville D-Scar Scar Diminishing Serum
Whether it’s acne or a hormonal blemish, those unwanted bumps can easily get inflamed and leave a scar. This potent serum, delivered with a rollerball applicator, not only treats the bumps themselves but helps smooth out scars that can be left behind.
$48 at Kate Somerville
For Dark Spots/ Hyperpigmentation: L’Oreal Youth Code Dark Spot Serum Corrector
From post-acne scars to age spots and sun damage, visible hyperpigmentation is a top skin concern among skin-care consumers. This serum acts as a brightener to heal and diminish the appearance of marks left behind.
$45 at Target
For Dark Spots/ Hyperpigmentation: Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Serum
Vitamin C does more than strengthen our immune systems. It’s a natural brightener that can powerfully transform spotted skin into an even-toned complexion. This potent potion is loaded with 20 percent vitamin C and a blend of vitamin E and ferulic acid to improve your skin's texture and tone.
$95 at Peter Thomas Roth
Peter Thomas Roth
For Dark Spots/ Hyperpigmentation: SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense
The combo of correcting acids and vitamins help reduce the appearance of inflammation and brown spots caused by a buildup of melanin in one concentrated area.
$98 at SkinCeuticals
For Enlarged Pores/Oily Skin: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Niacinamide, otherwise known as vitamin B3, and zinc help balance sebum levels and minimize the appearance of pore size.
$6 at The Ordinary
For Enlarged Pores/Oily Skin: Sisley Paris Global Perfect Pore Minimizer
A mattifying and smoothing serum infused with java tea extract to smooth and balance your complexion.
$215 at Sisley Paris
For Aging Skin: Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum
A coveted skin-care favorite, this moisturizing serum plumps, hydrates, and improves skin's texture while delivering active ingredients below the skin's surface.
$24 at Ulta
For Aging Skin: Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate
Two serums in one, this unique formula combines plant extracts that are both water- and oil-soluble and superfood ingredient turmeric to help erase years of aging.
$89 at Clarins
For Aging Skin: SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum
A dermatologist favorite, this highly effective serum is infused with shea butter, olive oil, hyaluronic acid, and green tea to reduce and slow down signs of aging on your face, neck, and decollete.
$320 at Dermstore
For Sun-Damaged Skin: Bare Republic Daily Recovery After Sun Serum
After a day in the sun, lather on this serum, infused with oat milk and manuka honey, to calm and soothe irritated and inflamed skin.
$11.99 at Bare Republic
For Sun-Damaged Skin: Laurel Sun Damage Repair
Inspired by historical plant traditions, this 100 percent whole-plant organic serum, uses nature’s own ingredients to soothe and repair skin from UV-ray-caused damage.
$88 at Laurel Skin
For Overall Repair: Bioeffect EGF Serum
If you don’t have a specific skin concern but aim to improve your overall complexion, this serum is a great buy. It addresses aging, hydration, texture, and tone to enhance skin's natural appearance.
$160 at Bioeffect
For Overall Repair: iS Clinical Genexc Serum
Healthy skin is a goal for most of us, and this serum combines enzymes, antioxidants, and fruit acids to not only reduce signs of stress and aging, but enhance your glow from within.
$170 at Amazon
For Dull Skin: No7 Early Defence Glow Activating Facial Serum
Sure, we use highlighter to enhance our glow, but there’s nothing more radiant than a healthy, glowing complexion. A blend of ginseng and vitamin C help to clear and revitalize your complexion while protecting against free radicals and pollution.
$25 at Walgreens
For Dull Skin: Nerium IllumaBoost Brightening & Shield
Created to add a boost to your daily skin-care routine, this serum can be mixed with your daily moisturizer or foundation to plump and illuminate skin.
$80 at Nerium
For Redness: First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum
Whether your redness comes from temporary irritation or a long-term skin condition, this serum combines colloidal sulfur, aloe, and ginger to target the root cause of red patches and calm any irritations.
$36 at Sephora
First Aid Beauty
For Redness: Dior Capture Youth Anti-Redness Soothing Serum
Infused with natural peptides from cotton, this luxurious formula reduces irritation and inflamed skin.
$95 at Dior