With creams, oils and lotions already crowding our medicine cabinet, we had to ask: Are serums really necessary? The answer is a resounding yes (that is, if you want bright, glowy skin). Zoe Weisman, director of product development at Chicago-based Advanced Clinicals, helps us understand five key reasons why.

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They’re Potent
Compared with your night cream, “Serums tend to be more concentrated when it comes to the active ingredient,” says Weisman. To make sure your product lasts, look for one packaged in an opaque bottle with an airtight lid—this will help prevent oxidation.

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There’s One for Every Skin Concern
For dry skin, Weisman recommends a hyaluronic acid serum, which will draw in moisture (bonus: it also plumps up lines and depressions). Dark spots? Go for vitamin C to fend off sun damage and hyperpigmentation. And for skin cell turnover (aka buh-bye, wrinkles), it’s all about that vitamin A. 

Layering Is In
The real beauty of serums—you know, besides the beautifying effects—is that with their light, liquid formulations, they lend themselves to layering. That means you can combine multiple serums, or wear one under your SPF, moisturizer, foundation, etc. without any product pilling.

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Why Wear Eye Cream When You Can Wear Eye Serum?
Unlike sticky eye creams, eye serums feel soothing and refreshing on your under-eye area. (It’s OK; we all have bags.) The “ideal,” says Wesiman “is a milky serum. You get the light texture and high potency of a serum plus the milky aspect makes it moisturizing.”

The Benefits Don’t Stop at Your Neck
If you’re ready to get serious about serums, don’t stop at your jawline. There are serums to treat sagging of the neck and décolletage. Skeptical? “If you think about it, this is a bad time for necks since we’re always hunched over our phones,” says Wesisman. She adds that there are even full body serums to smooth cellulite and soften stretch marks as well as hand serums to moisturize and fade discoloration.

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