The Serum Summary

A serum is a modern skincare addition that delivers highly active, powerful ingredients directly into the skin and is usually used after cleansing but before moisturiser. The small molecules within a serum allow it to penetrate the skin’s surface and reach deeper layers than other products and it’s because of this that a serum “should be part of everyone’s routine”, says Dr Barbara Sturm, expert dermatologist and founder of Dr. Barbara Sturm skincare.

So what kind of ingredients should we be looking for? Dr Sturm highly recommends opting for products which contain the following:

Hyaluronic acid, which holds 1000 times its own weight in water and is therefore crucial for hydration

Antioxidants like peptides and herbs that have brilliant anti-ageing properties.

Anti-inflammatory, calming ingredients that soothe skin (these include chamomile, turmeric and prickly pear seed oil).

Read on to discover which type of serum will work for you…

You have: Dry, dehydrated skin
You need: Some added moisture

“Every skin type needs hydration,” says Dr Sturm. Even oily skin types can be dehydrated, and denying your skin moisture can often lead to over-compensation of oil. If you’re unsure where to start, picking something that claims to hydrate – particularly with hyaluronic acid – is usually a safe bet.

The Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum sinks into the skin and contains short and long-chain hyaluronic molecules which work to penetrate deeper layers of the skin, while also helping to hydrate the surface. Equally, the Dr Dennis Gross Clinical Concentrate Hydration Booster suits all skin types, and has a nourishing blend of hyaluronic acid, evening primrose oil and coconut juice which all help to hydrate and plump the complexion.

You have: Dull skin
You need: A glow boost

We all suffer with dullness from time to time, usually because of a lack of sleep and fluids, or due to external factors like the changing seasons or pollution. A nourishing, glow-enhancing serum is a great option for skin that has lost its way and looks tired or unhealthy.

Try something with an energising blend of natural essential oils, like the Aurelia Probiotics Skincare Revitalise and Glow, which contains jasmine, tuberose and zesty mandarin. Oskia’s water-based, oil-free Get Up and Glow Serum is another great option; it leaves an irresistible pearlescent finish on the skin, making it perfect for priming the face for makeup as well as boosting skin health.

You have: Fine lines
You need: An effective anti-ageing solution

According to Dr Sturm, optimum hydration is a crucial factor: “Your collagen and hyaluronic levels lessen with age so you want to plump your skin with these ingredients”.

Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Super Anti-Aging Serum encourages cell renewal with its blend of moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid and active, antioxidant ingredients like skullcap and purslane. Likewise, the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Age-Repair Serum boosts collagen production while protecting skin against harsh environmental aggressors such as pollution that can damage and age skin.

You have: Pigmented, uneven skin
You need: A hit of brightening vitamin C

Pigmentation causes dark spots and uneven skin tone on the surface of the face, and it can be difficult to fade. As well as wearing a high SPF to prevent further damage, a brightening serum with vitamin C is one of the most effective products to target pigmented skin.

Vitamin C is a “potent and stabilised antioxidant [which helps to] neutralise free radical damage”, says Gerwyn Powell, Education Manager at Kiehl’s. Try Sunday Riley’s C.E.O Rapid Flash Brightening Serum or the Dr Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C Serum, both of which deliver a stable yet powerful dose of vitamin C to improve uneven texture as well as dullness.

You have: Skin that suffers from blemishes or rosacea
You need: Calming yet effective formulas

Dealing with problem skin can be difficult and can really affect your confidence, so picking the right skincare is crucial. Opt for active formulas that gently exfoliate and turnover skin yet do not irritate.

The Ren Evercalm Anti-Redness Serum works brilliantly on skin that suffers with rosacea or any kind of redness, thanks to an ultra-calming yet nourishing formula that’s enriched with milk polypeptides and hyaluronic acid. For blemish-prone complexions, the Sisley Intensive Serum with Tropical Resins is a top pick. With fruit acids that act as natural exfoliators and salicylic acid to treat any problem areas, this effective yet non-irritating serum reduces the appearance of pores and redness while aiding acne.