16 Best Vitamin C Serums for Brighter Skin 2023, According to Dermatologists

vit c serums 003
vit c serums 003

The best vitamin C serums are among the most potent skin-care products for tackling some of the most common skin-care concerns, from dullness and discoloration to fine lines and uneven skin texture. Why serums? They contain high concentrations of the active brightening ingredient, which is also known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid. (That said, there are plenty of other ways to get it, too — such as in moisturizers, eye creams, and face masks.)

Our Top Picks:

  1. Best Overall: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, $182
  2. Best Drugstore: La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Vitamin C Face Serum, $45
  3. Best Luxury: Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex 30%, $176
  4. Best for Dry Skin: Wander Beauty Sight C-er Vitamin C Concentrate, $42
  5. Best for Mature Skin: The Inkey List 15% Vitamin C & EGF Brightening Serum, $16
  6. Best for Oily Skin: Naturium Vitamin C Complex Serum, $20
  7. Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum, $85
  8. Best Multitasking Serum: Olay Super Serum, $35

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant,” explains board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai’s Department of Dermatology in New York City. “It interferes with pigment production and keeps inflammation at bay.” Not only that, but it can also support collagen production.

Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties mean that it can neutralize free radicals, which are molecules created by external factors like air pollution and sunlight, says Dr. Zeichner. And since free radicals speed up signs of aging, vitamin C helps address fine lines they cause, too. Think of it as the ideal daytime counterpart to the retinol or acids you might use at night to smooth over your skin, speed up cellular turnover, and treat acne scars left over from breakouts.

It’s also a staple in brightening products since vitamin C can inhibit your skin’s melanin production, which is what causes skin discoloration like dark spots and hyperpigmentation, New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Patricia Wexler, MD, previously told Allure. Over time, she says, vitamin C can help prevent dark spots from forming in the first place — in addition to evening out skin tone.

Alongside firsthand testing across our beauty editors (who vary in age, skin types, and skin tone), we asked board-certified dermatologists for their tried-and-tried picks that they recommend to patients to select the best topical skin-care products containing vitamin C. Ahead, the best vitamin C serums for an even skin tone and a glowy, radiant finish.

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