What It’s Meant to Do: A facial serum — any one — is just a vehicle for delivering active ingredients to the skin. Its effectiveness depends on what’s in it. Serums that contain vitamin C, retinol, peptides, and antioxidants have been proven to fight wrinkles by boosting collagen production. Many of these ingredients are most stable in serum form, since creams and lotions contain other compounds that can deactivate them.
So Who Needs It? If you’re looking to prevent or repair wrinkles, a serum may help. “When worn under sunscreen, a serum with a potent blend of antioxidants can fight sun damage,” says Alexiades-Armenakas. Oily skin does well with serums, too, since they have a water (not oil) base.