7 Face Serum Myths Busted By Science

In the quest for flawless, radiant skin, face serums have emerged as skincare superheroes – and we've gotta admit, we're their biggest advocates! 

Face serums are designed to address a myriad of concerns, from hydration to anti-ageing. However, thanks to decades of marketing, celebrity endorsement buzz, and fast-cash companies, a lot of falsities have unfortunately developed in the face serum world. 

Myths and misconceptions abound when it comes to face serums and what they can actually do. So, we sat down with Dr Tanya to face these myths head-on, see what the science says, and separate fact from fiction.

Check out these 7 common myths about face serums and how doctors and dermatologists have well and truly debunked them!

Myth 1: Face serums are only for mature skin

Three women holding different Dr Tanya Skincare products

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, face serums are not exclusive to mature skin types

Whether you're in your twenties battling breakouts or seeking to maintain youthful radiance in your forties, there's a serum suited to your unique needs. 

In the same way we need to apply SPF to protect our skin and prevent sunburn, face serums have potent properties that help to prevent signs of ageing – and, in fact, they work better when you start using them earlier in life rather than later.

Board Certified Dermatologist Dr Julie Russak spoke to The Healthy about the correct age to start using serums. She maintained that people should start using face serums (especially a face serum with vitamin C) in their twenties to revitalise the skin, build collagen, and prevent the appearance of early lines.

Myth 2: More expensive serums are always better

Fact: Price does not dictate efficacy when it comes to face serums. 

While luxurious formulations may boast premium packaging and exotic ingredients, the true measure of a serum's effectiveness lies in its formulation and concentration of active ingredients

With decades of medical expertise behind her, combined with a finger on the pulse of today’s skincare market, Dr Tanya knows first-hand that price tag doesn’t equal results. Often, a face serum or skincare product is more expensive purely because of its marketing, branding, packaging, or celebrity endorsements.

Dr Tanya serums, for example, are all under $100 AUD. Because we focus on the formulas and active ingredients like vitamin C, niacinamide (vitamin B3) and retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), we can ensure you’re receiving the correct formula for your skin minus the bells and whistles that contribute to three-figure price tags. 

So, what’s Dr Tanya’s recommendation? Make sure you research what your skin needs and which ingredients are the right fit.

Whether you opt for a budget-friendly option or splurge on a high-end serum, it's the science-backed ingredients that deliver results, not the price.

Myth 3: Serums can replace moisturisers

A woman wearing a hair towel applies a face moisturiser

Fact: While face serums provide a concentrated dose of active ingredients, they are not a substitute for moisturisers

Dr Abigail Waldman, Dermatologist at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, emphasises that serums are not moisturisers. 

Rather, they are “highly concentrated formulations that are designed to sink into the skin quickly” and address various skin concerns – most promoinently, preventing signs of ageing.

While there is many a face serum with hydrating properties, serums don’t provide the much-needed protective barrier on your skin to lock in that moisture. This is what a moisturiser does.

For optimal hydration and nourishment, Dr Tanya recommends incorporating both a hydrating face serum and a moisturiser into your skincare routine.

Myth 4: Serums can shrink pores

Fact: While some face serums contain ingredients like niacinamide or salicylic acid that can help minimise the appearance of pores by regulating sebum production and reducing inflammation, they can't physically shrink pore size

However, consistent use of these serums can improve skin texture and reduce the visibility of pores over time, resulting in smoother, more refined skin.

Struggling with uneven skin tone or texture? Dr Tanya’s Advanced Retinol Serum harnesses the power of vitamin A and innovative CelluCap™ technology to accelerate cellular turnover, revealing a tighter, more revitalised complexion.

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) enhances the skin's barrier function, promoting a more even tone. Panthenol (vitamin B5) and hyaluronic acid deeply hydrate and nourish, leaving your skin with a radiant glow and youthful plumpness.

Myth 5: You can’t combine different face serums

Two face serum droppers close up

Fact: While it’s important to use different serums and ingredients correctly and in the right order, you can combine various types of face serums – and benefit from doing so.

Face serums are tailored to address specific skin concerns, so don't fall for the misconception that one serum can do it all (if you ever see that advertised on a single serum, run for the hills!) 

Depending on your skincare goals, you might need multiple serums to target hydration, anti-ageing, pigmentation, and more. 

When layering face serums, the order matters. Applying them in the correct sequence enhances their efficacy and ensures faster results. However, it's crucial to consider ingredient compatibility to avoid adverse reactions. 

While you can layer up to two serums at a time, consult with a skincare therapist for personalised advice on product combinations and usage. And remember – if using a product for the first time, always start with a patch test.

One of Dr Tanya’s favourite serum combos is the Eye Lift Tightening Serum followed by the Holy Basil Face Serum (finished, of course, with a quality moisturiser). This ultimate science-backed mix includes: 

  • Snap-8™ Octapeptide to reduce roughness and wrinkle depth in the eye area
  • Ancient Holy Basil and Cacay Oil to brighten the skin
  • Vitamin E and Jojoba Oil to provide deep nourishment and hydration

Myth 6: You should apply a thick layer of serum for better results

Fact: When it comes to face serums, less is often more. A pea-sized amount is all you need to cover your entire face, neck, and decolletage adequately. 

Applying a thick layer of serum can overwhelm the skin and hinder absorption, leading to wastage and potential irritation. 

For optimal results, apply 2-5 drops of serum and allow it to absorb fully before using additional products. For example, if you’re layering another serum or applying a moisturiser (we like your style), let your first face serum settle for at least 1 minute first.

Myth 7: Serums provide instant results

Woman applying an eye serum close up

Fact: While some face serums may offer immediate benefits such as hydration or a temporary glow, significant skincare results take time and consistency

It can be frustrating, we know, but good things take time – and skincare is one of them. Patience is key when incorporating serums into your skincare routine, as visible improvements often occur gradually over weeks or months.

Consistent use of hydrating face serums enriched with vitamin C can help achieve long-term skin health and radiance. 

Plus, vitamin C protects your skin from oxidative stress (like UV damage) and associated signs of ageing, so you know it’s going to provide those ideal preventative results the longer you use it.

Just be sure to follow up your face serum with vitamin C with a good quality SPF50+ sunscreen each morning.

The bottom line: making informed choices

Face serums are versatile skincare essentials that cater to a wide range of skin concerns and ages. 

The golden key to unlocking your skin's full potential lies in understanding the truth behind the myths and harnessing the power of science for radiant, healthy skin.

At Dr Tanya Skincare, we believe in empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their skincare journey. We’re all about rituals over routines, knowledge before application, and making conscious skincare choices for the most meaningful (and results-driven) impact.

Embrace the truth, embrace the science, and unlock your skin's radiant potential with Dr Tanya Skincare!

Further reading: How to Choose the Best Skin Serum for Your Skin Concerns