Retinol 1% In Squalane
The Ordinary Serum for Fighting the Signs of Aging
The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane
This product is the highest-strength retinoid serum from The Ordinary, and the brands answer to more traditional retinol products. Its excellent for preventing and minimizing the signs of aging.
Retinol is the gold-standard for minimizing wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. Those who are experienced with retinoid products may prefer the Retinol 1% in Squalane over the Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, as it is more potent. However, with the higher strength comes a higher risk of irritation, so it is best suited for those whove used retinoid products in their routine.
- High likelihood of irritation, especially as skin adapts to the product
This serum contains squalane and jojoba oil, two ingredients that hydrate and soothe the skin. They may help minimize the irritation caused by the retinol.
Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Retinol, Solanum Lycopersicum Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, BHT.
Best Peptide: Youth To The People Triple Peptide + Cactus Hydrating + Firming Oasis Serum
What We Love: The clean, fragrance-free formula comes in an eco-friendly glass bottle.
What We Don’t Love: The serum feels a bit tacky when you first apply it.
This peptide face serum is top shelf quality, providing deep and long-lasting hydration, which is a must for anyone with dry skin . It’s also fragrance-free, which makes it a great candidate for sensitive skin types, too. However, it can leave behind a sticky residue so we recommend using this in your nighttime regimen and letting it really sink in before adding the next layer in your routine.
Benefits: Deep hydration, plumping, firming, improves elasticity, reduces fine lines and wrinkles | Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination, oily, sensitive | Size: 1 ounce
Other Ingredients To Reach Your #skincaregoals
Its a good idea to keep other goals in mind as you shop. Many of these serums can tackle more than one concern at a time like reducing the appearance of fine lines, increasing firmness, or reducing breakouts.
Our derms have some suggestions for picking out the best serum for you, based on a few common skin concerns:
- Acne and breakouts. Fowler tells us acne-prone peeps should look for serums with glycolic acid or salicylic acid. But keep in mind that these are strong actives that can cause irritation on dry skin, so you should avoid using them every day or use them with a moisturizer to dilute them a bit. Casey suggests serums that are noncomedogenic and contain actives like vitamin C or niacinamide the mighty chosen ones that are proven to treat acne a little more gently.
- Hyperpigmentation. If youre looking to get rid of acne scars or dark spots from UV exposure, vitamin C is where its at. For top-notch vit C performance, look for one that also has vitamin E and ferulic acid.
- Sensitive or inflamed skin. Look for soothing ingredients like panthenol , green tea, or bisabolol.
- Premature signs of aging. If youre tryin to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles, look for serums with niacinamide, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, or gentler AHAs like lactic acid.
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Cerave Resurfacing Retinol Serum
This serum is a perfect option if you have combination skin and are looking to address post-acne marks and discoloration. This formula contains brightening ingredients like licorice root extract and niacinamide, plus time-released encapsulated retinol to reduce the appearance of large pores and improve skin smoothness.
Our Process And Why You Should Trust Us
We consulted with two dermatologists to get tips for choosing the best serums for dry skin for different skin goals and concerns. We used those tips to pick the products above.
Before writing about those products, we put them all through a thorough vetting process that checks for unsupported health claims , shady business practices, and lawsuits concerning a companys products. We also checked that the main ingredients in each product are evidence-based and actually do what the company says they do.
After wrapping up our recommendations and tips, we sent this entire article to a third medical professional specializing in dermatology for review.
So basically, you can feel good knowing that we put in WORK to get you these recommendations.
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Is Clinicals Vitamin C Serum Is Essential For Younger
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Ive been known to dump just about anything on my face in an effort to keep my skin healthy and looking its very best, but Ive generally eschewed vitamin C products in favor of other active ingredients, like retinol, mandelic acid and more. This is not only because I was wary of adding too many ingredients to my routine, but because I have acne-prone skin, so Im extremely wary of any oil-based serum with pore-clogging potential. But recently, my beloved esthetician, Rebecca Kruysman at Sofie Pavitt, recommended adding iS Clinicals Super Serum to my lineup, and now I cant imagine my skin without it.
The iS Clinical Super Serum is an oil-based vitamin C-rich serum that not only has the potential to help reduce typical signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage, but can help to reduce scarring as well. The key is a combination of 15% L-asorbic acid with copper tripeptide growth factors, the latter being a protein molecule that stimulates and accelerates skin regeneration and repair. Along with a couple of other ingredients, these two wonder actives work in tandem to stimulate collagen, smooth uneven pigmentation and even promote healing.
Dry Vs Dehydrated Skin: Whats The Diff
Fowler explains how to tell if youre working with dry or dehydrated skin. Heres what to look for:
- Dry skin signs and symptoms. Fowler says dry skin is usually scaly, itchy, and rough. Dry, scaly skin can also lead to irritation and redness, she tells us.
- Dehydrated skin signs and symptoms. If your skin is dehydrated, it can also cause itchy patches Fowler says. But it may also include an increase in wrinkles, dullness, and a sunken in look. Ugh.
So, should you be approaching dry and dehydrated skin the same way? As Fowler explains, dehydrated skin lacks water and dry skin lacks natural oils. Dehydrated skin is treated from the inside and dry skin can be treated from the outside with serums and creams, she says.
tl dr: Dehydrated skin peeps, fill those water bottles, and get to chuggin. Dry skin friends, time to find your skin care match.
Serums are a great way to double down on your moisture game. But every serum is v different, with diff ingredients starring as the main characters.
Sooo, what should dry skin peeps look for?
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How We Chose The Best Face Serums
We selected the best face serums for each skin type with the help of dermatologists and skin care professionals. We also included products for users with specific skin care needs, such as those looking for affordable face serums, sustainable beauty products, retinol alternatives, or quick results.
In this list
Best For Very Dry Skin: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum
Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
Parched skin got you down? Water Drench has your name on it. This fan-favorite from Peter Thomas Roth contains a whopping 75% hyaluronic acid, plus essential ceramides and the brand’s proprietary HydraFence to keep your skin moisturized for up to 120 hours.
Benefits: Hydrating, softening, smoothing | Skin Type: Dry, balanced, combination, mature | Dosage: Small amount a.m./p.m. | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Yes
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Best Exfoliating: Sunday Riley Good Genes All
Lactic acid resurfaces and brightens
Lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid, is one of the more gentle acids out there. This makes it a choice pick for either sensitive skin types or for those looking for a product they can use every day sans irritation. Its the key player in this serum, which helps to dissolve dead skin cells to improve the look of lines and wrinkles, and generally leave skin looking smooth and glowing. Fun fact: Lactic acid is also innately hydrating, so you get a little bit of that benefit, too.
Benefits: Improves texture, evens skin tone, hydrates | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | No
How To Use Serums In Your Combination Skin Routine
As part of your skin care routine, a serum should be the first thing you apply after cleansing and toning your skin. This prepares the skin to absorb the active ingredients in the serum more readily.
As a rule, skin care products should be applied beginning with the product thats thinnest in consistency to the thickest. When layering products, allow time for each layer to dry to prevent pilling, or collecting on top.
Some serums are better suited for use at night than day. Any serum containing retinol, vitamin A or AHAs should be used at night as they can increase your skins sensitivity to the sun.
If your combination skin is on the oily side, you may be able to use a hydrating serum during the day in place of a moisturizer. But if you omit the moisturizer, youll still need to wear sunscreen containing at least SPF 30.
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Do You Need A Moisturiser After A Facial Serum
This is up for debate among skin experts. Moisturisers and serums are the main way we can treat our skin to an injection of potent ingredients. Doubling up on these ingredients can enhance results, or it can be too much for your skin and you might start to notice some sensitivity. Also, if you have oily skin and are already using a hydrating serum, you may find that you don’t need. a moisturiser on top. On the flip side, if you have dry skin, a moisturiser can help lock in all that nourishment and boost the hydrating benefits.
By Elle Turner
What Is A Face Serum
According to board certified dermatologist Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, serums are thin-viscosity topical products that contain concentrated amounts of active ingredients.
A serum can treat skin issues, like discoloration, dullness, fine lines, or acne. The concept is that a serum contains a higher concentration of larger molecules for optimum effectiveness. Its also lighter than a moisturizer and delivers active ingredients to the skin quickly, so it would go on before a moisturizer, after youve cleansed your skin.
Skin types generally fall into the following categories: oily, dry, normal, combination, and sensitive. Sometimes, skin can show signs of aging and look more mature.
Here are the symptoms of each type:
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How To Choose An Anti
Not all serums are formulated for signs of aging. To choose an anti-aging serum, consider the concerns that are important to you, and choose a serum that contains the appropriate ingredients for targeting those concerns.
Serums formulated with vitamin C and other antioxidants help to fight free radical damage, improve skin texture, and even out skin tone, Liu explains.
Retinol helps with wrinkles and fine lines by increasing the production of collagen. Some serums contain a cocktail of ingredients like AHAs, niacinamide, peptides, etc. that all work together to improve the signs of aging, Liu adds.
Also consider your current skin care routine. Certain ingredients do not mix well, such as retinol and glycolic acid. A retinol serum and exfoliating treatment should not be used in the same skin care routine, so use these products on alternating days.
Similarly, retinol might not pair well with vitamin C, so use your antioxidant serum in your morning routine and retinol serum in your evening routine.
You can also account for your skin type. Sensitive skin might not react well to certain active ingredients, like retinol, exfoliants, and niacinamide, so opt for a serum with gentle and soothing ingredients.
People with oily skin may prefer oil-free serums that are lightweight, while people with dry skin may benefit from heavier serums.
The Results: Circles Be Gone
Within days of using this all over my face, I began to break out in small pimples around my cheeks and chin I was worried that might happen because even though zinc is supposed to treat acne, products with it had given me pimples in the past. I immediately stopped using it all over my face and that acne disappeared within a couple of days.
But from the first day of using it on, Ive noticed a huge difference in the intensity of my under-eye circles. As soon as I put this on in the morning, its as if Ive put on concealer. The result is more significant than a retinol cream, which Ive noticed immediate results from but couldnt handle the subsequent peeling and tenderness of. Ive been using this serum every day for months now, and Id say that my under eye circles in the morning are about half as bad as they were before I began it. Once Ive applied it, theyre minimal enough that I dont generally even think about applying concealer.
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Best Budget: Rosen Skincare Paloma Serum
AHAs and BHAs target uneven texture
Vitamin C helps to fade dark spots
Possibly unsuitable for sensitive skin
Sure, this is affordable in its own right, but add to that the fact that it is a true multi-taskertackling uneven texture, tone, and preventing future breakoutsand youve really got yourself a steal of a deal. It touts both alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids , as well as grapefruit extract for a dose of vitamin C. The fruity scent is just a bonus.
Benefits: Exfoliates, unclogs pores, evens skin tone, prevents breakouts | Skin Type: Oily, acne-prone | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Best Brightening: Rose Ingleton Md Complexion Brightening Booster
Glycolic acid corrects dark spots
Collagen peptides re-texturize skin
Best suited to oily/combination skin
This dermatologist brand is results-driven, and touts a clean, nutrient-rich product line, infused with Dr. Ingleton’s Jamaican SuperFruit Blend featuring hyaluronic acid and sugarcane, as well as citrus fruit extracts. Active ingredients also include some major complexion brighteners. A potent blend of AHAs, glycolic acid, and lactic acid target dullness and hyperpigmentation. Collagen peptides aid with discoloration and help repair skin and improving texture.
Benefits: Fades dark spots, brightens dull skin | Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination, and oily | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
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Considerations By Skin Type
safe to use for most skin types, but its still a good idea to do a patch test before applying serum all over your face.
To do this, apply a small amount of product on the inside of your wrist. Wait 24 hours for any signs of irritation before using broadly.
If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition, like rosacea, you might want to stick to serums with lower concentrations of vitamin C. Thats because concentrations higher than may cause irritation.
For oily or acne-prone skin, look for serums labeled noncomedogenic so they wont clog your pores.
If your skin tends to be on the dryer side, look for serums with hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid.
C E Ferulic With 15% L
SkinCeuticals Serum for Anti-aging and brightening
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid
This brightening and anti-aging vitamin C serum is often considered one of the best of the best. It helps improve signs of aging while fighting environmental aggressors.
This fragrance-free vitamin C serum contains a potent 15% concentration of l-ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C that helps neutralize free radicals, defend against oxidative stress, and brighten and fight signs of aging. It is formulated with antioxidant-rich vitamin E and ferulic acid, which both further protect against environmental stressors. These ingredients have also been shown to increase the efficacy of vitamin C.
- Some reviewers complain about the smell
This anti-aging serum remains effective for at least 72 hours after being absorbed into the skin. It also contains additional ingredients that help hydrate the skin, including glycerin and sodium hyaluronate.
Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Alpha Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate
National Center for Biotechnology. “Vitamin C in dermatology”
Accessed Nov. 9, 2021.
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Best For Large Pores: Rene Rouleau Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum
Courtesy of Renée Rouleau
Glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acid target the appearance of pores
Possibly unsuitable for sensitive skin
Fact: Theres nothing you can do to actually change the size of your pores. But you can do things that will help make them appear less prominent, like this one, from one of Byrdies most beloved estheticians, Renée Rouleau. At work is a potent combo of glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids that help to clear clogged pores, making them appear smaller. And, per the name, this blend also helps exfoliate to help fade hyperpigmentation and smooth fine lines.
Benefits: Exfoliates, clears pores, fades dark spots, smooth fine lines | Skin Type: Acne-prone| Dosage: 1 to 2 pumps | Size: 0.5 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
What Our Testers Say
“Even though its pretty potent, its one of the only serums Ive tried in which I notice an actual difference in the brightness, clarity, and tone of my skin. I use it for three nights straight and then swap in another one for three nights, but this one always keeps my skin glowy while keeping my small in check.” Erin Jahns, Former Associate Editor