Vitamin C is like the Beyoncé of skin care—it’s basically flawless. Why are derms such fans of the antioxidant? “Vitamin C has a wonderful duality: it both brightens and firms skin,” says Dennis Gross, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at Dr. Dennis Gross Dermatology. “Because it’s so versatile, it is one of my favorite ingredients.”
He’s not alone in this opinion, either: “I am a vitamin C junkie,” says dermatologist and Women’s Health advisory board member Mona Gohara, M.D. “I think of it like a LBD—it makes everyone look good.”
Not only will the best vitamin C serums help lighten pigmentation you might already have, but they can also prevents dark spots or sun spots from forming in the future, says Dr. Gross.
Vitamin C also produces collagen, giving skin radiance and vitality, and protects skin by neutralizing free radicals. “Think of free radicals as tiny spears that poke holes in your collagen fibers and weaken them,” says Dr. Gross. “Antioxidants, like vitamin C, cut off the pointy tips of the spear and render them harmless.”
To reap the most rewards, apply your vitamin C serum the right way: “You should ensure that skin is properly cleansed and exfoliated for maximum penetration of the vitamin C serum,” Dr. Gross says. “You can incorporate the vitamin C serum into your morning or evening routine, however I prefer to use the serum in the morning so I can walk out the door knowing that my skin is protected from damaging free radicals all day long.” Apply it right after cleansing and follow with moisturizer and sunscreen.