Smooth Skin, Minimize Pores & Target Wrinkles With These Essential Serums

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A resurfacing serum is essentially a super exfoliator that gets rid of the top layer of skin, revealing the new, more youthful layer that lays underneath, creating a smoother, brighter canvas.

Below are some of the latest and greatest versions of these serums that we recommending adding to your skincare routine ASAP. These serums all contain some sort of gentle exfoliating and moisturizing acid, retinol, or a combination of both that will not only slough away dead skin cells, but will target dark spots, improve skin texture, minimizing pores, and give an all-over brighter complexion.

These serums should only be used 2-3 times per week, after cleansing, and usually at night to start. And, with continued use, you will wake up with plump, dewy, and all over younger-looking skin every single time.

The Top Resurfacing Serums Compared

CeraVe Serum  —  Best Overall

This resurfacing retinol serum helps create brighter, smoother, and more even-toned skin. Formulated with retinol to help reduce the appearance of post-acne marks and pores over time, this serum is the second step in any skincare routine, after cleansing and before a moisturizer and/or sunscreen. This serum also contains ceramides to help restore the skin’s natural barrier.


  • This serum is paraben and fragrance-free
  • It has a gel-texture and non-greasy feel


  • This serum should always be used with sunscreen as it may make skin sensitive

Neutrogena Serum  —  Runner Up

Another great option for improving skin tone over time is this illuminating face serum. In addition to tone, it will boost texture and clarity by reducing the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation for an all-over wide-awake appearance. This formula contains a gentle resurfacing and brightening ingredient to gently exfoliate and resurface, making it great for beginner use.


  • This serum also contains hyaluronic acid which will also help plump, firm, and hydrate skin
  • Will give you visibly brighter skin in as little as one week


  • This serum may make your face appear shiny at first

RoC Resurfacing System  —  Honorable Mention

This duo resurfacing set combines an anti-wrinkle treatment with a resurfacing serum for a powerful reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet. The anti-wrinkle treatment contains retinol and acts as a moisturizer to help stimulate the skin’s renewal process while the serum works to resurface and exfoliate. This system should be used once daily, after your cleanser, and is numbered in the order you should apply.


  • Your skin can look up to 10 years younger with this product
  • May be even more effective than some dermatologist treatments


  • If you are not used to using retinol, this may make your skin extra sensitive to the sun and other products in general

Bliss Serum  —  Best Value for Money

Formulated with a blend of six gentle acids, this resurfacing and brightening night serum will have you waking up to a smooth, glowing complexion. This serum gently refines the skin surface and dissolves dead cells while improving the skin’s ability to maintain moisture and retain a healthy barrier. This is a lightweight formula that layers beautifully and should be applied at night after cleansing and follow with a moisturizer if desired.


  • This serum is 100% free from parabens, phthalates, SLS and is vegan and cruelty-free
  • Improves skin's ability to hold onto moisture


  • This contains a slight scent

Avon Anew Serum  —  Also Consider

If you crave some microdermabrasion in the comfort of your own, this smoothing fluid is a great option. This blend contains professional grade-anti-aging ingredients to exfoliate, retexturize and replenish skin in one easy step without the added irritation of an in-office treatment but with the same results. Use this formula 2-3 times per week, morning (follow with sunscreen) and evening and you will notice transformed skin overnight.


  • This formula is non-greasy and non-sticky
  • May help to shrink pores


  • This product can be very irritating to those with sensitive skin

Buying Guide: Resurfacing Serums

There are a lot of ways to take care of your skin, and what better way to do so than to make your skin appear and feel young and youthful again? In this quick buyer’s guide, we’ll run you down through the essentials regarding the wonders of the top resurfacing serums in 2023.

What Are Resurfacing Serums?

A resurfacing retinol serum, or resurfacing serum for short, is a type of serum that, when applied, increases the rate at which your skin cells turnover. In layman’s terms, skin cell turnover refers to the rate at which old skin cells are replaced by new skin cells. This results in younger and more youthful skin, as the skin that’s left on your body will be much newer than the skin cells that you had before.

Why Do You Need a Resurfacing Serum?

It’s easy to apply

One of the great things about resurfacing retinol serum and other resurfacing serum products is that you don’t need to take pills or follow a strict diet to use the product. All you need to do is apply the serum over your skin, and it’ll do the rest of the work. Now, at first glance you may think that applying something over your skin is a lot more work than, say, swallowing some supplements, but think about it - you don’t need to worry about medication complications, you don’t need to take it with a meal, and so on. It’s just a matter of placing on your skin, and you’re good to go.

It works on your skin cells

Many skin products help relieve the symptoms of dead and old skin, but they don’t handle the root cause of the problem. Sure, your skin may feel smoother and look younger, but your skin cells are still the same skin cells. That’s not the case with resurfacing serum, though - the serum works deep into your skin and affects their turnover rate, essentially changing the way your skin behaves. This grassroots solution results in naturally young and healthy skin.

It has other benefits, too

Of course, because of the nature of resurfacing serum, it doesn’t really do much in terms of immediate effect, at least on its own. That’s why many resurfacing serum companies add a little bit of extra oomph to their products. For example, you’ll find many resurfacing serums to have a brightening effect, meaning that your skin will gain a little bit of luster and youth immediately after being applied. Of course, the serum’s also working its magic with your skin cells while this is all happening, so you can also expect naturally better skin in the long run, too. However, the immediate benefit can really be useful if you want to look good now as well as later on.

Things to Consider When Buying a Resurfacing Serum


How much serum is enough serum for you? That question is answered on a case-by-case basis, as different people have different needs for their skin. It can be difficult to gauge just how much resurfacing serum is necessary to make your skin look healthy again, but we’ve got a few general tips if you’re not sure what to do.

If you’re simply looking to try out the formula yourself, then consider getting a small bottle. There’s enough serum for you to experience the effects first-hand, and you won’t be left with any extra serum should you change your mind down the road. If you already know the effectiveness of the serum on your skin, however, and are planning to use it in the long term, then you may want to get more bottles and in larger amounts so that you won’t have to buy them again from the store or order them online.


Packaging also matters when it comes to these types of products. Skincare products are packaged in all sorts of bottles. For example, some resurfacing serums are packaged in squeeze bottles, which have the benefit of being very easy to use and get the serum from.  However, they don’t look all that good once you’ve squeezed out most of the serum, and they may even look like a used tube of toothpaste once you’re done with them.

For something a little more presentable, you could get a solid bottle instead. These bottles are best-suited for lighter serum formulas that don’t need to be squeezed to come out of the bottle. They’re also very easy to apply once you know how to use the bottles. However, these bottles are still not as convenient as squeeze bottles, so be sure to consider the pros and cons before choosing.

Additional effects

Finally, there are the additional effects. As mentioned earlier, some serums come with added benefits, usually immediate, to help with your skin the moment you put the serum on it. There are a few effects that can happen, such as your skin looking different, the serum containing a particular odor, and so on.

So, should you choose serums with these “extra perks”? That’s up to you. If you like how the serum makes your skin brighter, or if you like its scent, then go for it. However, if you’re simply looking to get the serum for improving your skin overall, then you don’t really need these extra perks.