Skinceuticals’ Vitamin C Serum for Acne-Prone Skin Is a Skin-Care Game-Changer

There are certain skin-care products that beauty editors won't stop talking about—no matter the years that pass or new products that launch—because they are so good for the skin. Skinceuticals CE Ferulic holds the number one spot in many of our hearts because it's a potent antioxidant that fends off the free radicals that cause a slew of inflammatory issues in the skin, including hyperpigmentation, fines lines, and even acne. The only hitch is that sometimes antioxidants with vitamin E oil in them, like CE Ferulic, can provoke breakouts for those with pimple-prone skin. Thankfully, Skinceuticals Silymarin is ready to act as a free radical fighter that's tailor-made for those with oily skin.

Experts In This Article

"It is specifically formulated for those who are acne-prone or oily. It provides excellent environmental protection against UVA and UVB and pollution," says Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, a New York City dermatologist. The ingredient list includes salicylic acid, which Dr. Engelman says, "helps to refine the appearance of pores and is good for those who are acne-prone," and a new star player called silymarin which is the big stand-out in the formula.

"Silybin [the active compound in silymarin] is derived from the milk thistle plant and is a potent antioxidant," says Dr. Engelman. "It helps inhibit sebum oxidation in the skin and leads to a decrease of 16 percent sebum in one week of usage." Studies back up the ingredient's ability to protect skin: One paper found that the "flavonolignans [in silymarin] may be useful agents for skin protection against the harmful effects of full-spectrum solar radiation including slowing down skin (photo)aging." In non-scientist speak, that means that by applying an ingredient like silymarin to skin, you're helping your skin to cope with some of the environmental radiation that's responsible for skin aging, and potentially even acne itself.

While the serum alone is not considered an acne treatment in the same way that, say, pimple patches are, we know that inflammation in the skin can trigger (among other things) breakouts. "This serum should be used as part of the preventative step in skin care," says Dr. Engelman. "It is an excellent addition to an anti-acne regimen but is not to be used as a stand-alone acne treatment." In using the antioxidant serum to prevent daily aggressors that complexion encounters, you can reduce inflammation, and in a roundabout way, breakouts themselves.

While CE Ferulic will forever hold a top spot in beauty editors' hearts, Silymarin CF has brought antioxidants to a whole new population of skin-care devotees who haven't been yet able to benefit from the original formula. It's a big win on the ingredient front, and proof that in an industry of seemingly endless bottles and tubes, true innovation will continue to win out and benefit skin outcomes for all.

For more on why derms say vitamin C is the "little black dress" of skin-care, check out the video below. 

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