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When it comes to skin care ingredients, very few are as hyped as vitamin C. For many people, myself included, vitamin C is the first introduction to the world of serums, as one of its main claims is younger looking, radiant skin. When I have dull skin, I immediately reach for a vitamin C serum, which often has orange or yellow accents on the packaging to represent its brightening properties. Found face masks, moisturizerand wrinkle creams in abundance, vitamin C serum firms, fades, tightens – it probably also files your taxes on time.
“Vitamin C is a topical antioxidant that has many beneficial properties,” says the renowned dermatologist Dr. Karan Lal. “It reduces hyperpigmentation and acts as a co-factor for many cellular processes to maintain naturally glowing skin. Most of all, it scavenges free radicals that we come into contact with every single day.”
Vitamin C also helps the skin to look younger for longer. According to a fellow dermatologist Dr. Omar Ibrahimi“[it’s] a key molecule to optimize skin health and is an important and necessary cofactor (supporting molecule) needed for the production of collagen, which is our skin’s main building block and the currency of youthful skin.”
Experts agree that everyone should use a vitamin C serum, but the most effective strength will often vary from person to person. Since “vitamin C can be irritating at concentrations at or above 20 percent,” says Dr. Lal says he recommends taking a 10 percent concentration, especially if you’re new to the ingredient.
Regardless of your tolerance, however, Dr. Ibrahimi says to look for vitamin C formulas with L-ascorbic acid, which is the true active form of vitamin C. “L-ascorbic acid is the best option for most people as it is the most bioactive vitamin C compound,” he says.
All that to say, if you’ve ever wanted clear, smooth skin—with perhaps fewer fine lines—then this ingredient is calling your name. But which one is right for you? Do not worry; we have found the best of the best. To get the glowing skin of our dreams, here are 24 vitamin C serums we love.