What is Serums: Types, Benefits, How to Use How to Make


Serums are formulations which are applied topically in addition to or as an alternative to moisturizing lotions and creams. These formulations, although lighter than moisturizers in texture, are more potent and efficient since they contain concentrated amounts of active ingredients that can target and resolve different skin issues. Therefore, usage of serums shows immediate visible results on the skin. Serums can be oil- or water-based and are quickly absorbed into the skin. They are mostly non-greasy and do not leave any residue on the skin. 

Although serums often claim miraculous benefits, the ingredients need to be carefully studied before buying one. Even after careful study, one must do a patch test, initially just a few drops at a time, as they have powerful ingredients that can sometimes irritate the skin, or some active ingredients, especially chemical ones can have short- or long-term side effects.

Types of Serums                                           


Using serums as part of your daily routine can help prevent and correct many skin issues like dry skin, discoloration, pigmentation, acne, dark spots, and premature ageing. You can find various types of serums in the market and use them to target specific skin complaints or a combination of issues. 

  • Anti-ageing serums, usually contain Retinol and Niacinamide, which boost the diminishing collagen in mature skin thus improving its elasticity and firming it up. They help prevent and smoothen out fine lines and wrinkles.

    Try Now Parama Naturals Anti Ageing Oil/Serum

  • Hydrating serums, as the name suggests, provide an extra dose of moisture to your skin thus helping it stay soft and supple. These are usually used along with regular moisturizers, and essentially have Hyaluronic acid as the main active ingredient.
  • Vitamin C serums are brightening serums that help reduce and prevent pigmentation, dark spots and discoloration of skin. 
  • Physical and chemical exfoliating serums containing AHAs (Alpha-Hydroxy Acids), BHAs (Beta-Hydroxy acids) and PHAs (Poly-Hydroxy Acids) are used for exfoliation of dead skin cells, These remove dullness from skin and help in preventing acne. 
  • Skin clarifying and balancing serums with time-tested natural anti-oxidants and active ingredients like extracts of Turmeric (turmerones) and Bakuchi (Bakuchiol) are slowly becoming more popular since they have no side effects like those with chemical active ingredients.
  • Oil-based serums nourish, hydrate and moisturize along with the other benefits offered. They work better instead of others which may have a dehydrating or irritating effect.

When and How to Use Serums       


Serums should ideally be used twice a day--once in the morning after your bath and once at bedtime. 

  • Remove all makeup and thoroughly cleanse your face and neck with a good face wash.
  • Use rosewater or a toner to tone your skin.
  • Pump out 3-4 drops of the serum and apply it all over your face and neck using your fingertips. Pat gently all over. Then massage in upward strokes using only finger tips till the serum gets totally absorbed by the skin.
  • Follow up with moisturizer, face oil or night cream at night and/or sunscreen and makeup in the morning.
  • Antioxidant and anti-pigmentation serums should ideally be used in the mornings to prevent environmental damage to the skin. 
  • You can use hydrating serums twice a day, especially if you have dry skin.
  • Anti-ageing serums can be used at bedtime only to let them work and repair damaged skin while you rest.

If your skin is too oily and if you feel the serum is enough, you can skip the moisturizer and just use sunscreen during the day.

How to Make Your Own Serums (Homemade Serums)

While we all agree that serums are highly beneficial for our skin, buying good commercially available ones can make quite a dent in your pocket. You may also need more than one to tackle different skin types or skin issues, and it is sometimes quite hard to find one that suits you on all fronts--your type of skin, specific skin issues and your budget. Often, you may buy an expensive product but are forced to discontinue using it since it doesn’t suit you—this can be such a waste of time, money and the products as well. 

Moreover, most commercial ones contain synthetic chemicals that may irritate your skin and do more harm than good in the long run. Some people may even be allergic to the active ingredients, and since they are in such concentrated volumes, you have more risk of inducing skin irritation or conditions like allergic dermatitis, eczema or rosacea!

Most importantly, since they are most often used for the face, any oversight in ingredients or usage instructions can damage the face--a risk no one would like to take. Moreover, most commercial ones contain synthetic chemicals that may irritate your skin and do more harm than good in the long run. Some people may even be allergic to the active ingredients and since they are in such concentrated volumes, you have more risk of inducing skin irritation or conditions like allergic dermatitis, eczema or rosacea!

Enter DIY serums! Making your own serum gives you full control over what goes onto your skin. Since everybody’s skin is different, you can customize a product that suits your skin type and condition perfectly. It also allows you to experiment with different formulae and concentrations till you find the best one for yourself. These can be made in smaller quantities and you can find your perfect fit without investing too much time, effort or money. 


A serum can be made quickly at home with minimal ingredients and provides the same benefits (if not more) as store-bought ones. You just need 3 basic ingredients for this purpose:

  1. An Essential Oil: Most essential oils boast of numerous beneficial properties like antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. They also contain antioxidants which help prevent skin damage caused by oxidization. However, since these are so potent, they can cause skin irritation and dryness if used undiluted. You need to choose the essential oil according to your skin concerns. Turmeric, Tea-tree, Lavender, Rosemary, Neem, Lemongrass, Sandalwood etc, are some commonly available and popular essential oils.
  2. A Carrier Oil: Any plant or vegetable oil to dilute the essential oil. The carrier oils should preferably be of superior quality, cold-pressed and pure enough to be edible. Coconut oil, almond oil, sesame, jojoba, olive, hempseed, apricot kernel, avocado oil, shea butter etc. are easily available and known for their beneficial qualities. You can choose the carrier oil according to its comedogenic rating depending on your skin type. A comedogenic rating tells you how likely is the oil to clog skin pores. 
  3. Another carrier oil or liquids like Rosewater/Aloe Vera/Glycerin: People with dry skin can reap the benefits of two carrier oils in one serum. But if you are already dealing with an oily and acne-prone skin, it is best to add liquid ingredients like Rose water or Aloe vera gel to make the serum lighter in texture and easily absorbable or a non-comedogenic oil. Glycerin too is a great humectant and hydrates without any greasy residue.

We hope this helps you in understanding the role of serums in skincare and in choosing the best one for your skin among the many available in the market. Our advice--make one at home or choose one that has natural, pure and time-tested ingredients to prevent any kind of damage to your skin. 

Click here to learn some DIY serum recipes that you can make in the comfort of your home with readily available ingredients.

Try the Parama Naturals' range of facial oils that are loaded with the goodness of 100% pure and natural cold-pressed oils like Coconut and Sesame and extracts of Turmeric. It's the best serum you can use to repair and nourish your skin naturally. 

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