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The Best Exfoliating Serums for Beginners (& More!)

The Best Exfoliating Serums for Beginners (& More!)

Best Exfoliating Serums for Beginners

Looking for the perfect exfoliating serum for your face? With so many serums in the market, it can be daunting to find a perfect match for your skin’s specific needs. Are you looking for a PHA serum or a mandelic acid one? Or maybe your vibe is just a salicylic acid serum that can help with acne. Or, maybe, you have no idea what we’re talking about here and want to find out more about it. Either way, we’ve got you.

What are exfoliating serums?

These serums contain one or a curated blend of exfoliating acids. While this may seem scary, it doesn’t have to be. These acids can range from extremely gentle to intensively peeling–you just need to choose the right one for you. These acids gently break the bonds of the surface cells that are already dead and haven’t yet peeled off by themselves. Ideally, these cells would peel off by themselves in an even way, but since that’s not the case, you end up with several tiny bumps on your skin. Thus, it makes it feel like the surface of the skin is not smooth and soft. That is why using an exfoliating serum will help your skin become smoother, and more luminous. The surface will actually be even and will reflect the light in a uniform way.

These acids are usually one of three options: an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) like glycolic, mandelic, lactic acid; salicylic acid; or a poly-hydroxy acid (aka PHA), such as gluconolactone or lactobionic acid. All of them are used in different concentrations and for different purposes. Lactic will work for dry skin, while salicylic acid is amazing for oily skin. On the other hand, sensitive skin will benefit from using a PHA. Although serums with glycolic acid are the most common option, there’s room to explore alternatives!

How to use exfoliating serums, for beginners

If you’re a skincare pro, feel free to skip this part. However, if you’re starting your exfoliating serum journey and need some guidance, here is the perfect place to do so.

When should you use an exfoliating serum?

The exfoliating serum needs to be applied to cleansed skin. Depending on what your skin needs, you may want to use a toner or an essence beforehand. If exfoliating the skin is your main goal, apply the serum to clean and dry skin. On the other hand, if you’re going for balanced skin that also meets other expectations, we advise you to use a great essence. Have you heard about Korean essences? They’re a great way to complement your exfoliating serum with added benefits.

How often should you use an exfoliating serum?

It depends on your skin and the formula you use. There are great and gentle exfoliating serums that can and should be used daily. However, if your skin tends to react or in case you’re going for a stronger formula, caution is advised. Ideally, start by using a gentler formula on alternate days. If your skin can tolerate it, move forward to using it daily. Only after that bottle should you think about changing to a different formula.

Should you moisturize after using an exfoliating serum?

Usually, your exfoliating serum will already contain hydrating ingredients. A well-balanced formula will be able to do both. In some cases, mainly on oily or combination skins, this will suffice. However, if you have normal to dry skin, you will probably need to use a good moisturizer afterwards. Additionally, if you have sensitive skin, it may be a good idea to use a moisturizer after the serum. As with the toners and essences, adding a moisturizer will help to buffer the effects of the serum, thus making it gentler.

How long do you leave the exfoliating serum on?

Serums are not meant to be washed off, unless the bottle says otherwise. So you just leave your serum on the skin until the next time you wash it–in the morning or evening. In any case, always make sure to read the bottle to check for how to use instructions that are specific to that formula.

The best exfoliating serums

Mádara Time Miracle Reface Sleep & Peel Overnight Serum

Best for beginners

This lightweight serum is ideal for skin that look dull and tired. Due to its formula, containing lactobionic acid, it promotes a gentle peeling effect. Day after day, the skin starts to become more luminous and even. Together with glycerin, hyaluronic acid ensures the skin is deeply moisturized to reduce the appearance of dehydration fine lines.

Neostrata Resurface High Potency R SerumGel

Ideal for advanced users

A powerful cocktail of different anti-aging ingredients and retinol, this potent gel works as a peeling. From the first application, the skin becomes smoother and more radiant. However, this is definitely not for those who have never used peelings before or have sensitive skin, this is a peeling for advanced users that have already dealt with high concentration blends of acids.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum

Perfect for acne-prone skin

From the ultra-recognized range Effaclar, from La Roche-Posay, this serum is a great option for those looking to combine antiaging with acne management. While salicylic acid will help unclog the pores to reduce imperfections, niacinamide provides a soothing anti-aging effect. All in all, it’s a winning combo for those who need to combine both actions in one product.

Erborian Red Pepper Super Serum

Ideal for men

This energizing radiance-booster shot is a wonderful serum for those who are looking for an upgraded skin texture. As men often shave and compromise their skin while doing so, it’s hard to use an intensive exfoliator without getting rashes. Thus, this one from Erborian, containing PHA, is great for that. Moreover, it contains red pepper extract to boost radiance and deeply hydrate the skin.

Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum Propolis + Niacinamide

Best Korean exfoliating serum

Korean skincare rarely is all about exfoliation. However, this viral serum takes salycilic acid and conjugates it with niacinamide and propolis for extra glowy skin. This lightweight serum will help you achieve luminous skin without compromising the skin barrier. It’s an extra gentle formula that achieves maximum glow, so it’s ideal for those looking for radiant skin.

Babé Healthy Aging+ Multi Renewal Night Peeling

Ideal for dry skin

This night peeling contains both exfoliant acids and retinol, in a nourishing formula that is rapidly absorbed. Day after day, the skin becomes more luminous and even. Due to the retinol, with continuous use, fine lines and wrinkles are softened and the skin feels nourished and soft to the touch.

Collistar Pure Actives Collagen + Glycogen Serum

Perfect for sensitive skin

This gentle serum lightly exfoliates the skin while providing key ingredients for an invigorating appearance. Due to lactic acid in the formula, it has a light peeling effect that works well for sensitive skin. The minimalist formula containing fermented ingredients helps to boost the skin quality, while making sure that sensitive skin is respected and cared for.

As you can see, there is certainly an exfoliating serum for you. Whatever your skin needs are, there is one formula that will definitely suit you. And don’t forget: when using exfoliating cosmetics, always make sure to wear sunscreen daily!

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