This Anti-Aging Serum for Acne-Prone Skin Took 6 Years to Make
Skinceuticals Silymarin CF Serum
Courtesy / InStyle
Ask any beauty editor or skin care lover about the best antiaging vitamin C serum you can buy and they will most likely point you towards SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Acid. Loved for its ability to achieve all kinds of antiaging goals like reducing wrinkles and increasing firmness, antioxidant-boosting CE-ferulic acid has been a hit with celebrities and dermatologists for years. But for some dealing with adult acne as well as mature skin problems, the idea of using an ingredient like the moisturizing vitamin E in CE ferulose could be daunting, explained Dr. Julie Woodward, professor of ophthalmology, associate professor of dermatology and the chief of eye surgery at Duke University.
"They don't want to put anything that might be oily on their skin because they fear it will break out more," said Dr. Woodward, partner doctor at SkinCeuticals. What should women with adult acne and skin do?
Enter SkinCeuticals' latest addition to its line of antioxidant serums: Silymarin CF. Silymarin CF is SkinCeuticals' first new antioxidant serum in nearly a decade and an oil-free product that has been in production for six years. It's an absolute game changer for oily and acne-prone skin. At $ 166 - the same price as SkinCeuticals' legendary C E Ferulic Acid Serum - the new serum is definitely a boon, but after trying it for a week I can say it's worth every penny.
Shop Now: $ 166; skinceuticals.com
This serum consists of the ingredient of the same name, silymarin, a strong herbal antioxidant from milk thistle. It prevents free radicals (molecules without an electron) from damaging your DNA, which Dr. Woodward leads to all kinds of skin aging problems. "What the silymarin does is very specific to prevent the oil on your skin from oxidizing," she said. "It's not that moisturizing, so it might be a little drier for some people, but if you keep the sebum from oxidizing, you won't have a delicious lunch for bacteria to start snacking on and for bacteria to start causing acne."
Next to the silymarin is L-ascorbic acid, pure vitamin C that prevents free radicals from damaging your DNA by supplying the extra electron they are looking for and thereby neutralizing it. "The L-ascorbic acid carries these little gifts of the extra little electron and thus stabilizes these free radical molecules so they don't bump against all of their neighbors and push the electrons off them which could wreak havoc on your DNA and can actually cause DNA mutation which is known as thymine dimer and is found in skin cancer, "said Dr. Woodward.
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The other main ingredients in Silymarin CF - ferulic acid and salicylic acid - add extra stabilizing antioxidants to your skin, the latter being added especially for exfoliating and removing any debris from your clogged pores. While many who deal with acne may use retinol at night, Dr. Woodward suggested that Silymarin CF would be a good choice as a complementary product in the morning, and when combined with sunscreen, Silymarin CF acts as an extra layer of protection against free radicals from UV rays, stress, and diet.
The effect is honestly shocking: As a morning serum, Silymarin CF does not produce the sudden glowing effect that most concentrated night boosters achieve, but rather brightens slowly and steadily over time. By the end of my week when I tested the serum, I had lighter, more even skin than ever before. And if you ask me, the slow burn is way better than the acid exfoliating that actually burns my sensitive skin.
Of course, Dr. Woodward that Silymarin CF is not a substitute for prescribed medication from your dermatologist. There is also no need to use it day and night, she said, as SkinCeuticals research showed that donning it twice didn't cause it to reach its peak effect any faster (so the precious drops don't have to be wasted). As someone dealing with acne-prone skin and hyperpigmentation, I've rarely found a serum that will reduce my dark spots and clogged pores without turning to acids that sting my skin, and Silymarin CF is a welcome exception.
Suffice it to say, it's a product that lives up to the hype.
See what else I swear by.
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