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How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

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The top 7 face serums of 2020

Serums with vitamin C and other antioxidants to help nourish your skin.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar
by Stephanie Papanikolas
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 4 min read
Closeup of hands with golden liquid over them
Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar
by Stephanie Papanikolas
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 4 min read
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Face serums are one of the best ways to accessorize a skincare routine. Just a couple nutrient-rich drops can help improve dark spots, stimulate collagen production, and make your natural glow even brighter… assuming it has the right ingredients.

Enter antioxidants. An antioxidant helps fight skin damage by neutralizing free radicals; these wayward electrons can cause skin damage on a cellular level. In 2020, I’ve been super into topical antioxidant ingredients like niacinamide, ferulic acid, vitamin E (aka tocopherol), vitamin A (retinoids), and of course: vitamin C.

And an end-of-the-year roundup can mean only one thing: December, the driest month of the year. If you’re experiencing seasonal dryness, I’ve included serums with ultra-hydrators to help pack extra moisture into dry skin.

Woman holding serum

Image via Cherie.

Hanskin Vitamin C Glow Serum

$36 — ingredient shoutout: ascorbic acid, tocopherol, niacinamide. This serum is my new personal favorite. It’s light-weight yet hydrating — I highly recommend it for my fellow dry skin-types who want to fade dark spots.

BareMinerals SkinLongevity Long Life Herb Serum

$42 — ingredient shoutout: niacinamide, ascorbyl glucoside, tocopherol. Designed and tested to defend against environmental stressors, this is a vegan and cruelty-free serum that fortifies skin against fine lines and wrinkles.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

$33.99 — ingredient shoutout: vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid. This serum is the perfect companion to your AM skincare routine — just mix a few drops into your sunscreen for a boost of hydrating protection!

Paula’s Choice Super Antioxidant Serum

$39 — ingredient shoutout: tocopherol, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ferulic acid. I love a skincare brand that cites their sources. This antioxidant serum by Paula’s Choice has magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, my favorite form of vitamin C because of its (relative) stability.

Timeless Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid Serum

$25.95 — ingredient shoutout: L-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, sodium hyaluronate. If potency is your priority, this brightening serum has a 20% concentration of vitamin C (in the form of L-ascorbic acid). It’s also fragrance-free!

The Inkey List Retinol Serum

$9.99 — ingredient shoutout: squalane, retinol, hyaluronic acid. Surprise: retinol is an antioxidant — vitamin A, to be exact. This $10 serum has a decent concentration of retinol to help treat signs of aging. (Of course, prescription-strength retinoids like tretinoin are more heavy-duty.)

La Roche Posay Anthelios AOX Antioxidant Serum SPF 50

$42.50 — ingredient shoutout: tocopherol, ascorbyl glucoside, SPF. A face serum with SPF is a great option if you don’t already have a sunscreen you love. This one is a multi-tasker that protects your skin from UV damage while improving fine lines and dark spots.

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By the way, you definitely don’t need a serum. A serum is just one part of a skincare routine. I know that if you’re just starting out on your skin journey, it can be overwhelming. But you got this!

Skincare routines don’t have to be complicated. Practicing a simple 3-step routine at night really can help enhance the appearance of your skin. If you have more specific skin goals, choosing the right skin treatment for you can help keep your regimen streamlined and effective.

Enter Curology. Just take a quick skin quiz, upload a few selfies, and you’ll be matched with a medical provider licensed to practice in your state. They’ll prescribe you a custom formula with a mix of up to 3 active ingredients for your specific skin concerns.

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When you sign up for Curology, you can build your own subscription box with a complete skincare routine, featuring your custom prescription cream. Your first month is free — just pay $4.95 to cover shipping and handling. Start your free month of Curology now.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas

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