Not sure what facial serums are, exactly? "Serums are highly concentrated products that deliver active ingredients to the skin." explains dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai hospital Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD. "There are many different types on the market ranging from antioxidants to skin plumpers, many of which work underneath your moisturizer for added benefits. I recommend serums in your 20s because it helps keep the skin as strong as possible and gives it a better foundation to age from as skin cell turnover slows down starting in your 30s."
While you don't need anything too potent for a while, starting with kinder formulas that still improve and protect your skin is an effective way to begin. Here, the top 20-something skin serums to consider.
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Best Facial Serum for Pigmentation Woes
Whether it's due to sun damage or finicky skin that is highly impressionable by climate, ingredients or other elements, pigmentation is a pain to deal with. While you can usually cover up discoloration with foundation, it is always healthier to be proactive instead of reactive. This brightening serum helps to even out color and add even more shine to your cheeks. It features a slew of natural wonders, including Madonna lily plant stem cells, bearberry, licorice, green tea and C-ester. The superstar ingredient, though, is 'alpha-arbutin' which helps to produce evenly toned skin, no matter if you're battling discoloration, uneven pigmentation, sun damage or the onset of dark spots. According to a four-week consumer trial, 82 percent of participants noticed a difference in their skin, thanks to this vegan, cruelty-free serum that's free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, lanolin, gluten and GMOs.
Best One-Stop Serum
Between blowing out your birthday candles in a college dorm at the age of 20 to partying on a rooftop with your best friends (or ahem, splitting a piece of cake with your partner and your newborn), your 20s is a decade of change. Between growing your career, family, investing in a home and seeing every corner of the globe, you might not have a lot of time to dedicate to skin care. For a serum that provides big changes with zero effort, consider this pricey—but worth it!—product. Its formula takes all of the 14 steps of the sought-after Korean beauty routine and puts it into one product. This potent concentrate uses ginsenoside compounds to promote collagen, fight active oxygen and improve the overall elasticity and firmness of your skin.
Best Facial Serum for a Pretty Glow
If your perspective on serums—for now—is to merely dip your toe in and hope for the best, you'll want one that produces obvious results. A rejuvenating serum, like this one, is a smart place to start. Why? It transforms the appearance of your face is by removing an excess layer of skin to reveal the cleaner, younger cells underneath. This daily-use formula diminishes any fine lines or wrinkles that are starting to show, giving you a fresh glow, while under the surface, it's working to repair any damage you might have. It will also be less harsh than other serums, thanks to plant stem cells and powerful, but gentle, antioxidants.
Best Facial Serum for Dry Skin
Maybe she's born with—or can't get rid of it? Much like how we can't choose our parents, we also can't change our genetics, making our skin type ours from day one. While various hormonal periods—like adolescence, pregnancy or menopause—can cause flare-ups, if you normally have dry skin or oily skin or combo, you'll likely always have it. For those who fall in the first camp, a serum can make your patchy, itchy areas that much more painful, making a hydrating solution a must. This option has everything you seek out of a skin serum, including lactic and glycolic acid to decongest pores and exfoliate dead dermal cells, but also has vitamin-rich algae extract to tight and satiate your skin. A nightly application will have your skin looking firm, smooth and soft.