Face serums have quickly become must-have skincare products. Recommended by everyone from beauty magazines to dermatologists, facial serums have a wide range of formulations and benefits for every skin type. But the best way to use face serums isn’t always clear.
Can face serum be used daily? Depending on the type of serum, some can be used daily while others need to be applied a few times per week.
And what happens if you use serum too often? Let’s learn more about facial serums and how often to apply them.
Face Serum Explained
A face serum is a light liquid, often with a smooth, gel-like consistency. Facial serums have extremely small molecules, that allow them to penetrate the skin more easily, carrying beneficial ingredients deeper into the layers of the skin.
Face serums are usually concentrated, targeted formulas that provide specific skincare benefits. Because they don’t sit on the surface of the skin like lotions and creams, they don’t have emulsifiers or emollients, colors, or fragrances, and don’t have additional benefits like sun protection.
Can Face Serum Be Used Daily?
There are many different types of face serums, and each type may need to be used differently. Because serums have concentrated ingredients, they may irritate sensitive skin if used too often. In addition, some serums are best used when applied less frequently to begin with, and then more often over time as your skin becomes accustomed to it.
Here is a brief guide to different types of serums and how often to use them.
- Hydrating serums: use twice daily. Hydrating serums designed to fight dry skin and improve skin texture usually contain moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, and can be used morning and night to moisturize and hydrate skin from within.
- Retinol serums: use 2-3 times a week. Retinol is an active ingredient that comes in various concentrations, and can cause sun-sensitivity. If you are new to retinol serums, start with a low concentration, and apply the serum at night, twice a week. If you don’t experience negative effects, you can increase the frequency or increase the concentration of retinol over time. Find out about the powerful benefits of retinol serums here.
- Brightening serums: use daily.Brightening serums that can reduce the appearance of dark spots usually contain Vitamin C, and help even skin tone and color. If you have sensitive skin, start using a brightening serum 2-3 times a week to help produce an even skin tone, and increase the frequency over time.
- Exfoliating serums: use 1-3 times a week. Exfoliating serums designed to help combat oily skin often contain glycolic, lactic, alpha-hydroxy, and other acids. They come in different concentrations for different degrees of strength, and can irritate sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, choose a gentler exfoliant like lactic acid, and apply it once a week. If you have normal skin, start with a low concentration of glycolic acid serum and apply it once a week. Over time, you can increase the use of exfoliating serums to 2-3 times a week.
- Anti-acne serums: use 3 or more times a week. Anti-acne serums often contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and other ingredients to help clear pores and fight breakouts. Some are designed to be applied nightly, some are designed to be used a few times a week, and some are designed to be used to target breakouts when they occur. Click here to find the best serums for hormonal acne.
- Anti-aging serums: use twice a week or more. There are a huge range of anti-aging serums designed to reduce lines and firm the skin. Many of these products are based on retinol, so should be treated as a retinol serum, but there are many other types of anti-aging serums. Some are designed for daily use, while some should only be used 2-3 times a week. Read about which serums you can use for eye wrinkles here.
- Vitamin C serum: Depending on the exact composition of the Vitamin C serum in question, this is something you could potentially use several times per day. Even a small amount, a pea sized amount, of this type of serum can help clean skin, treat dull skin, create supple skin, reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone, and also help treat a myriad of other skin issues too.
Because there are so many different types of serums, with different ingredients for different purposes, it is important to always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are trying a new serum, especially if it is an exfoliating serum or has a high concentration of ingredients, do a small patch test before applying it to your face. It is often a good idea to start with a weekly application and then increase frequency over time as needed.
Can You Use Different Types of Face Serum at Different Times?
With so many different formulas and benefits, it can be hard to choose which type of face serum is best for your skin. If you have troubled skin, and want to fight acne while reducing signs of aging, or need deep hydration along with brightening, you may be wondering if it is possible to use different types of facial serums in your skincare regimen.
The truth is, you can use multiple different serums in your skincare routine. In fact, it is often recommended that you use one serum (like a hydrating, toning, or brightening serum) in the morning, and a second serum (like retinol, exfoliating, anti-aging, or anti-acne serum) at night, when the ingredients have more time to deeply penetrate the skin without the risk of UV exposure.
You may also want to alternate more powerful serums that should only be used a few times a week. For example, you may choose to alternate an anti-acne every other night, with a hydrating serum on the alternate nights, and an exfoliating serum once a week.
If you really love serums, you can even layer them and apply more than one serum at a time. Experts recommend not applying more than two serums to the face at one time, and allowing them 2-3 minutes to absorb and penetrate the skin between product applications. In this way, you could incorporate two face serums into your morning regimen, and two other ones at night.
You can use face serums daily, and you can even use more than one face serum every day. But it’s important to read and follow the directions for the specific facial serum you are using, and increase application gradually over time. In this way, you can get the most benefit from every face serum in your regimen, while avoiding stressing or irritating your skin. Face serums are powerful products, so use them with care.