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Which antioxidant serum is the best option for you?

Which antioxidant serum is the best option for you?

11 Aug 2023

Ask any dermatologist or skincare professional about their top recommendations for healthy skin, and an antioxidant serum is almost guaranteed to be one of them. This essential, proven-effective skincare step helps shield the skin from environmental damage (especially when used in conjunction with sunscreen) and it can help address a variety of specific skin concerns as well.

SkinCeuticals is a pioneer in antioxidant science. Research performed by our founder, Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, established the parameters necessary for an effective antioxidant serum, which have been backed by clinical results and numerous published studies. Specifically, an effective antioxidant serum must be formulated with a specific form of vitamin C called L-ascorbic acid at a concentration of 10%-20% and a pH of 2.0 to 3.5. These are the guidelines that make SkinCeuticals antioxidant serum formulations the gold standard.

But what’s the best SkinCeuticals antioxidant serum for you? That depends on your unique skin type as well as your concerns. First, let’s take a closer look at how an antioxidant serum works and get acquainted with the main ingredient players.

This essential, proven-effective skincare step helps shield the skin from environmental damage (especially when used in conjunction with sunscreen) and it can help address a variety of specific skin concerns as well.


An antioxidant serum is formulated with compounds that neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that are generated internally by the body as well as externally by UV rays, pollution, and lifestyle factors such as smoking. Free radicals are highly reactive and cause damage to cells within the skin. Without extra antioxidant protection for the skin, free-radical damage can contribute to premature visible signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, loss of skin firmness, and even skin cancer. The best antioxidant serum formulations often contain a cocktail of free radical-fighting ingredients that work synergistically and help each other perform optimally.


There are thousands of known antioxidants, but relatively few have been subjected to rigorous scientific testing that proves their effectiveness—especially when used in specific combinations. When using an antioxidant for face protection, the specific ingredients as well as their concentrations make a difference.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C can go by several names when used in skincare products, but the purest, most widely studied, and most effective antioxidant serum ingredient is L-ascorbic acid. SkinCeuticals only uses L-ascorbic acid in its vitamin C antioxidant serum offerings, as research has shown it provides an exceptional level of protection against free-radical damage caused by environmental assaults like UV rays, infrared radiation (IRA), pollution, and lifestyle factors, while delivering additional benefits such as improving visible signs of aging like wrinkles, skin laxity, and skin discoloration as well. All of SkinCeuticals’ topical vitamin C antioxidant serum formulas feature L-ascorbic acid, but each product is tailored for specific skin types and concerns with the addition of other antioxidants.

Vitamin E: Also known as alpha tocopherol, vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that can be sourced naturally from a variety of foods (such as vegetable oils) or created synthetically. Vitamin E plays an important role in neutralizing free radicals, hydrating the skin, and improving the appearance of skin aging. Vitamin E has also been shown to enhance the action of other antioxidants.

Ferulic acid: Ferulic acid is another potent antioxidant that is naturally found in numerous plants, including grains, fruits, and vegetables. Research has shown this ingredient’s powerful antioxidant capabilities that help neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals in the upper layers of skin, which is why an antioxidant serum with ferulic acid can provide significant anti-aging benefits. This antioxidant also enhances the action of vitamins C and E.

Phloretin: Phloretin is a member of the polyphenol family of antioxidants found primarily—and abundantly— in several species of apples and pears, as well as in lesser concentrations in tomatoes and strawberries. This antioxidant has been shown to effectively neutralize damaging free radicals and improve the appearance of discoloration.

Silymarin: Derived from the milk thistle plant, silymarin has been used for a wide range of therapeutic purposes in traditional medicine for thousands of years thanks to its purifying and detoxifying benefits.1 A flowering herb closely related to ragweed and daisy, silymarin is rich in flavonoid antioxidants that have been found to help neutralize free radicals and minimize the oil oxidation that may contribute to blemish formation.

Resveratrol: Resveratrol is an antioxidant that is found naturally in grapes, nuts, and other plants. It has come to be known as the “longevity molecule” because of research that has shown its ability to strengthen the skin’s natural antioxidant defense system.


If you’re looking for: An antioxidant serum for dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles
The SkinCeuticals antioxidant serum: C E Ferulic
This award-winning formula with vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness, and other visible signs of skin aging and sun damage.

If you’re looking for: An antioxidant serum for discoloration
The SkinCeuticals antioxidant serum: Phloretin CF
With a combination of vitamin C, phloretin, and ferulic acid, this antioxidant provides environmental protection and improves the appearance of fine lines and discoloration. To help you remember, associate the “P” in Phloretin with pigment.

If you’re looking for: An antioxidant for acne or oily skin
The SkinCeuticals antioxidant serum: Silymarin CF
This daily topical antioxidant serum for oily skin and blemish-prone skin provides protection against the free radicals that cause oil oxidation (which creates a favorable environment for blemish formation) as well as premature skin aging. This targeted antioxidant serum also helps minimize oil while refining skin texture, enhancing skin clarity, and improving the appearance of fine lines.

If you’re looking for: An antioxidant serum for sensitive skin
The SkinCeuticals antioxidant serum: Serum 10 AOX+
Ideal for sensitive skin and first-time vitamin C users, this introductory antioxidant serum is formulated with vitamin C and ferulic acid to shield the skin from free-radical damage and help restore radiant, healthier-looking skin.

If you’re looking for: A nighttime antioxidant serum
The SkinCeuticals antioxidant serum: Resveratrol B E
An antioxidant night concentrate designed to promote overnight skin repair, Resveratrol B E helps boost the skin’s internal defense system while maximizing its nighttime recovery potential. It helps prevent and repair visible signs of skin aging through multiple modes of action: Neutralizing age-accelerating free radicals and strengthening the skin’s defense system to increase resistance to new damage.

To discover the ideal antioxidant serum that meets your skin’s unique needs, use our online Advanced Regimen Finder, visit one of our SkinCeuticals SkinLab locations, or schedule an appointment with a SkinCeuticals Skincare Professional for a one-on-one consultation.


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