Recent Blog Articles

Staying Healthy

Skin potions that really work

Updated: May 01, 2018

Dermatologists tell us what ingredients to look for in a skin serum to treat a variety of skin conditions.

 Image: © zaretskaya/Getty Images

As you get older, you might start to look a little more intently at the rows of lotions and potions at the drugstore and the beauty counter. You may wonder which ones can really help your skin look more like it used to — minus the wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of aging.

One word that's showing up on labels a lot these days is "serum" — typically on products that promise to brighten and smooth your skin and help roll back the clock. These little glass bottles contain a host of impressive-sounding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and L-ascorbic acid. But do they really work?

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.