The Skincare Serums You SHOULD Be Using, And What They Actually Do

With the targeted treatment market growing, many new skincare serums/acids are emerging at a reasonable cost. Which serums should you be using however? and what do all those active ingredients do? Read on to find out.

Firstly, what is a serum?

Serums are a targeted treatment used to deliver active ingredients to the skin. These are typically used after cleansing, but before moisturising. Types of treatments include acne, anti-aging, dry skin, brightening amongst many others.

Many active ingredients are used in these serums and they all provide different results. Below are some of the most common ones you’ll find on the market

Types of Active Ingredients

AHA, Alpha-Hydroxy Acid

There are several acids which fall under this group, including Glycolic Acid, Citric Acid, and Lactic Acid. These acids are exfoliants, they penetrate the skin and promote cellular regeneration. By doing so, product absorption is also improved. Other benefits also include reduction in wrinkles, promoting collagen regeneration, and improving the look and feel of the skin.

Good for: Clearing up acne, brightening the skin, anti-aging

Be aware if: You have sensitive/dry skin, You’re exposed to sunlight

Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum

We recommend: Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum

£76, get it here

BHA, Beta-Hydroxy Acid.

BHA almost exclusively refers to Salicylic Acid. Salicylic acid works to reduce inflammation, it has non-steroidal anti-inflammatory properties. As a topical agent (applied to the skin), the chemical causes epidermis cells to shed more easily; preventing pores from clogging and promoting cell growth.

Good for: Clearing up acne & blemishes, getting rid of blackheads.

Be aware if: You have sensitive/dry skin, You’re exposed to sunlight

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid serum

We recommend: The Ordinary, Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

Read our review here


A form of Vitamin A, this chemical improves cell turnover while exfoliating the skin. It also helps plump the skin, which consequently reduces fine lines. Products with Retinol come in varying concentration, it’s best to start off slowly and see how your skin reacts.

Good for: Anti-aging, Clearing up the skin, Evening skin tone

Be aware if: You have dry/sensitive skin, You’re exposed to sunlight

The Ordinary, Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane - 30ml

We recommend: The Ordinary, Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane.

Price: £7.80

Get it here

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring acid in the body. It’s a fantastic hydrator which helps retain moisture in the skin, keeping it plump and supple. As you age however, the concentration of this acid is seen to reduce, therefore using a serum is a beneficial addition. This is therefore an excellent acid for those with dry skin, and to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Good for: Dry skin, Anti-Aging

Be aware if: N/A

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid

We recommend: Neutrogena Hydro Boost hydrating serum

Price: $17.19 (On sale!)

Get it here

Vitamin C

An excellent vitamin for brightening the skin and evening skin tone. Vitamin C is also known to: Boost collagen production, tightening the skin. Reduce pigmentation. Exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and improving complexion.

Good for: Brightening skin, Evening skin tone, Anti-Aging

Be aware if: You have sensitive skin, You’re exposed to sunlight

Clinique Fresh Pressed™ Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%

We recommend: Clinique Fresh Pressed™ Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%

Price: £58 (4 pack)

Get it here