The 9 Best Antioxidant Serums That Actually Work
If cleansers and moisturizers are the bread and butter of the skincare world, the best antioxidant serums are like gourmet cheese and meats that pull the entire sandwich together. Questionable metaphors aside, antioxidants truly are the stars in your skincare regimen: they have the power to protect your skin from the harmful effects of pollution by neutralizing the free radicals in pollution that can cause skin damage. And, of course, serums with sunscreen shield your skin from the dangers of UVA and UVB rays, which can cause skin cancer, as well as hyperpigmentation and fine lines.
Antioxidant serums have concentrated active ingredients and are best to use in the morning, after your cleanser and toner and before moisturizer and sunscreen. Some even deliver a layer of protection that shields against infrared radiation, which penetrates even deeper than UV rays. To put it bluntly: the combination of a powerful antioxidant plus an additional sunscreen on top equals sun protection the likes of which you've probably never known.
The best antioxidant serums also contain hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, algae, and vitamins, while others help protect your skin from premature aging with stellar ingredients like CoQ10 and Alpha Lipoic Acid. There's, no doubt, an antioxidant serum out there that's perfect for your skin type and skin concern — and these nine are more than just hype.
1. A Stabilized Vitamin C Booster That Targets Uneven Skin Tone
Hylamide Booster, C25
Absorbic acid (Vitamin C) is a powerful antioxidant that protects skin from free radicals and helps even out skin tone that your complexion appears more radiant. The Hylamide Booster contains a patented form of solubilized active resorcinol that is meant to be applied twice daily after cleansing and before applying moisturizer. Reviewers say it makes skin glow and can even help clear up acne.
2. A 2-In-1 Oil-Free Serum With Vitamin E & SPF 50
La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Antioxidant Serum With Sunscreen
If you're the type who loves to kill two birds with one stone, this powerful antioxidant serum with Vitamin E, Vitamin Cg, and Baicalin protects against free radicals while broad spectrum SPF 50 works to provide all of the sunscreen protection you need. The cherry on top: it's an oil-free formula that contains no parabens or fragrances and is non-comedogenic — oily, acne prone, and sensitive skin types needn't fear it will clog pores or cause irritation.
3. A Serum With Stabilized Vitamin C That Can Lighten Acne Scars & Sunspots
Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
With 5 percent pure stabilized Vitamin C, this vegan and cruelty-free vitamin serum protects skin from UV damage and improves texture and skin tone. It's recommended for normal, combination, and oily skin types and reviewers say it can lighten acne scars and hyperpigmentation and makes your complexion look smoother.
4. A Hydrating & Protecting Serum For Sensitive Skin
Eau Thermale Avene A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defense Serum
In this French pharmacy serum, vitamins C and E help fight free radicals and reverse the effects of photo-damaged skin, while hyaluronic acid plumps, hydrates, and promotes an overall more radiant complexion. Like all of Avene's products, their A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defense Serum contains the brand's signature skin-soothing thermal spring water, and was made with sensitive skin in mind.
5. A Dry Skin Savior With Retinol And Antioxidants
Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum
If flaky, dry skin is the norm for you, there's a chance you live in mortal fear of retinol making contact with your sensitive skin. This antioxidant concentrate serum contains retinol that can smoothen and strengthen skin and strengthen it so that it's protected against free radicals and environmental damage, but it's also extremely forgiving on dry skin and has a slew of antioxidants that add a rich, hydrating layer of protection to your skin. Reviewers call this the "best" serum for dry skin and say it leaves your complexion looking "luminous."
6. An All-Natural, Splurge-Worthy Serum With A Cult-Following
KYPRIS Natural Antioxidant Dew Facial Serum
Kypris' Natural Antioxidant Dew Facial Serum has a devoted fan base because of its all-natural, plant-based ingredients and seriously effective formula. Loaded with antioxidant-rich vitamins C, E, and ferulic acid, which help keep skin protected from environmental damage, it also contains sea algae extracts to promote softer, suppler skin. Then, temanu oil works to encourage cell turnover, which helps reduce blemish scars, while other botanicals soothe redness and hydrate. The immediate results? A dewy, healthy glow. Basically, this serum does it all.
7. This Concentrated Powder Booster Allows You To Customize Your Favorite Skin Care Products
Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder
This powder booster is perfect for anyone who isn't quite sold on adding another layer to their skin care routine, but still wants their daily dose of Vitamin C. Simply blend a bit of this powder into your favorite toner or moisturizer and let your skin soak it up. Best of all, a little of this 99.8 percent Vitamin C powder goes a long way.
8. An Unscented Serum With Skin-Plumping Amino-Peptide Complex II
Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum
This lightweight, fragrance-free serum contains skin-plumping Amino-Peptide Complex II, Vitamin E, and carob extract to exfoliate and hydrate skin. This product's claim to fame is that it promises to deliver ingredients 10 layers deep into skin — and it works well on all skin types, even acne-prone skin.
9. A Vitamin C Serum Infused With Argan Oil & Ferulic Acid
Pura D'or 20% Vitamin C Serum
Providing one of the biggest "bangs for your buck," this 20 percent Vitamin C serum is enriched with hyaluronic acid, Vitamin E, argan oil, aloe vera, and one very special guest star: ferulic acid. Ferulic acid is an antioxidant that, when combined with Vitamin C, delivers a super powerful punch: it does an incredible job at protecting your skin against environmental damage.
Most reviewers are head over heels for this serum, saying it makes hyperpigmentation and even acne scars disappear, improves skin clarity, and leaves skin soft but never greasy.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.