Can Vitamin C Serums Slow Aging and Undo Sun Damage?

Man using serum
Man using serum Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

There are plenty of vitamin face serums populating the skincare market. But do any of them work?

Only one: vitamin C. It’s possibly the most important skin-related antioxidant, able to slow aging and undo sun damage.

 

 

Here’s why: Harmful particles in the air called free radicals do things like rust metal, turn apples brown, and cause skin to wrinkle and sag. You can prevent skin cells from breaking down by neutralizing free radicals with antioxidants that penetrate your skin’s protective outer barrier.

Most antioxidants on the market aren’t potent enough to protect skin or reverse damage. However, L-ascorbic acid, the active form of vitamin C, can. It’s been shown both to have sun-protective ability and to fix sun damage. Vitamin C also reverses fine wrinkles by rebuilding and realigning collagen. Apply serum in the morning for added sun protection during the day (though it doesn’t take the place of sunblock). It tends to be expensive—upwards of $100—but you need only a few drops a day to see results.

Gerald Imber, M.D., is a world-renowned plastic surgeon with more than 40 years of medical experience, and is the director of Youth Corridor Clinic in New York City.