5 of the Best Ingredients for Serums

According to a medical esthetician, here are the 5 best serums and how they work on your skin. In this blog, we'll discuss the key factors of a good serum like absorbability and effective actives/ingredients. 

We're giving these tips so you'll know what to look for in serums and why!

What types of ingredients should you look for in serums?

The first ingredient we’re going to start with is alpha arbutin. Alpha arbutin is fantastic for pigmentation because of how it transforms itself into hydroquinone. Doctors and dermatologists prescribe hydroquinone, and it is very potent. Hydroquinone helps reduce pigmentation and works for things like melasma, acne spots, skin injuries, and sun damage. 

However, hydroquinone is very intense, and it’s prescription only. You can get something called “rebound hyperpigmentation” from it, meaning the hyperpigmentation gets worse once you stop using it. That’s why we have to see a doctor or dermatologist about using this ingredient.

On the other hand, alpha arbutin is OTC. When alpha arbutin is applied topically to the skin, your skin’s microbiome naturally transforms into hydroquinone, making it more gentle. Likewise, alpha arbutin helps to manage pigmentation and dark spots in a much more gentle way. Alpha arbutin is easy to get over the counter, it’s easy to use, and people normally don't have a lot of issues with it. 


Alpha arbutin

The INKEY List Alpha Arbutus Brightening Serum - $12.99 

This alpha arbutin serum from the Inkey List is very good and potent as well. Cassandra loves it. It’s a fantastic lightweight, absorbable serum that you can use before your sunscreen or at night to fade those dark spots and uneven skin tone. 


Q10 (ubiquinone)

What is ubiquinone (Q10)?

The INKEY List Q10 Antioxidant Serum - $9.99 

Q10 is known as ubiquinone. When applied topically, this is an amazing antioxidant that can absolutely rejuvenate the upper layers of your skin. Q10 is oil soluble, and it works with the oils inside of your skin and penetrates the deeper layers. Once applied, it protects the DNA and the mitochondria in your skin cells from sun damage.

Q10 is naturally found in our cells as well. It helps protect the skin barrier, and when we’re young, there’s a ton of Q10 in our skin. But, as we get older, those Q10 levels start to diminish. 

For those that spend time in the sun, their Q10 levels also diminish. Due to this, Q10 is a great ingredient to use under the skin. While it is not a SPF, you can use this underneath a sunscreen to support the sunscreen’s effects and to cope with environmental damage,

For example, if you're going on a hike or the beach, and you live in a polluted city, this is an amazing antioxidant that's really easy to use.  

This soaks in so wonderfully, and Q10 is something that almost everyone’s skin can benefit from.


AHAs and BHAs

What are the benefits of AHAs and BHAs?

BHA is also known as salicylic acid. It’s oil soluble so it uses your skin's oil to dive deep into pores. What’s great about BHA is that it’s an exfoliant, and it’s great for acne. If you have blackheads and whiteheads, this can kill acne bacteria. Plus, the exfoliation can also help renew the skin, and if you’re oily, your skin will probably love BHAs. 

As for AHAs, they exfoliate the skin and are water-soluble. So, they’re a little more gentle on the skin, and they can act as humectants that grab onto water and moisture. 

The INKEY List Beta Hydroxy Acid BHA Blemish + Blackhead Serum -  $12.99

Cassandra believes The Inkey List does AHA + BHA serums better than anyone else. This formula also has a little bit of hyaluronic acid and exfoliating sugar molecules too. This is a wonderfully hydrating serum. The formula penetrates the skin deeply, and when it gets in your pores, not only can it help exfoliate but it can also provide a glow. You can mix this with a moisturizer, or you can use it alone. You can also use it in combination with an AHA. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is very special, and it promotes wound healing. Although almost every single brand has this ingredient, not every single brand does it well. A lot of vitamin C’s can be sticky or tacky on the skin. There are different forms of vitamin C like L-ascorbic acid and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. These vitamin Cs perform differently when exposed to sunlight, and specific ones can be better for certain skin types. 

For example, ascorbyl phosphate is slightly better for acne-prone skin. 

The Inkey List has an excellent vitamin C. 


The INKEY List 15% Vitamin C and EGF Brightening Serum 

This serum is a wonderful antioxidant serum with EGF (epidermal growth factor). EGF is made naturally by our skin. It is used to help the body with inflammation, and it’s essential for wound healing. This serum protects your skin from pollution and boosts sunscreen.

Both EGF and vitamin C are amazing for healing blemishes, wounds, and fissures. So, this gives the skin wound healing benefits through antioxidant support. Plus, this serum is so lightweight on the skin, and it’s not your traditional vitamin C. To some, it might feel a little tacky, but it’s never gummed up or peeled on Cassandra’s skin. 

These are just a few of Cassandra’s favorites, but it’s important to turn and learn your ingredients so you know what works best for you.