Wind back the years and bring back that glow from within with one of these vitamin C serums.
Dermatologists and beauty bloggers rave about vitamin C serums, and it's no wonder it's so popular. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and helps to reduce signs of aging by repairing the damage done by free radicals and the sun. It can even help to protect against future damage (though it's no substitute for sunscreen). The result: brighter and firmer skin, fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and a more even skin tone.
“It’s good for everyone to include [vitamin C] in their regime,” says Arielle Nagler, MD, dermatologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. She recommends applying it daily. “There is some good evidence that long-term use of vitamin C topically, even more so that taking it orally, is associated with improved skin texture and quality,” she continues. Fortunately, it’s potent stuff, so you only need a few drops for each application.
There are a lot of different serums to chose from, each with different concentrations and even variants of vitamin C. This can make finding the right one for you just a little bit confusing. It’s all about finding a compromise between a high level of vitamin C to boost the production of collagen, but not too much that it brings on redness and irritation. Debra Jaliman, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells Health via email that she recommends serums with concentrations of 10 to 15%.
And if you’re wondering why there are so many different derivatives of vitamin C, it’s because they’ve been produced to make it more stable and less likely to irritate the skin. Common ones to look out for include include absorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate.
It’s important to stay consistent with your vitamin C regimen because that’s when you’ll see the best results. And don’t worry if you notice some light tingling or redness upon your first few applications—it’s normal with the potent ingredient. If irritation persists, though, you should let your derm know.
Read on for vitamin C serums that come personally recommended by dermatologists and beauty editors.
Plus: Want more anti-aging recommendations from Health? Here are our favorite over-the-counter retinol creams; the best eye creams that contain retinol; the best niacinamide serums for clearer, firmer skin; and the all-time best anti-aging products you can buy on Amazon that are affordable, too.
This post was originally published on December 5, 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.