Serum Sense: How to Tell If SkinCeuticals’ New Silymarin CF Is Right For You


As an innovator in the skin-care space, any launch from SkinCeuticals is one worth mentioning. But the medical-grade brand’s latest labor of love—it took a whopping six years to perfect—is officially here to join SkinCeuticals’ impressive (and best-selling) lineup of topical vitamin C serums.

Silymarin CF ($166) includes a top-shelf ingredient list, calling on 15% pure vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid, along with .5% ferulic acid for antioxidant protection. But the real game-changer is the addition of .5% blemish-busting salicylic acid and .5% Silymarin, a potent antioxidant derived from the milk thistle plant. The result of this combination? An impressive 16-percent reduction in sebum production in one week, a 76-percent reduction in oil oxidation, more even skin texture and tone, and an improvement in visible skin clarity.

While C E Ferulic has become a bonafide cult-classic and the Phloretin CF bottle can be spotted in countless dermatologist offices and Instagram shelfies alike, each of the brand’s vitamin C serums boast specific ingredients designed to better suit certain skin types and concerns. Ahead, a guide to understanding which of the supercharged serums is right for you.

Best For: Oily, Blemish-Prone Skin

New York dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD notes Silymarin CF was formulated specifically for this finnicky skin type. “Generally, my patients who have oily, congested skin go without an antioxidant serum for fear it will break them out,” she says. “Silymarin CF would be a great option for them.” Even better, the oil-free formula includes salicylic acid which delivers a significant improvement in sebum production.

However, Dr. Engelman stresses that Silymarin CF is not to be used as an acne treatment, because it simply isn’t one. “This is the preventative, protective phase, not the treatment phase,” says Dr. Engelman, adding that while a drastic reduction of sebum will certainly help with acne, it won’t treat it long-term. “If you want an acne treatment, add the Blemish+Age Defense ($92) into your routine or talk to your dermatologist about the best course of action for your acne.”

Best for: Aging Skin

“The best antioxidant option for aging skin continues to be C E Ferulic ($166),” contends Dr. Engelman. Its impressive combination of vitamins C and E plus ferulic acid continues to top the list of must-have actives, especially for wrinkled skin. In clinical studies, C E Ferulic has resulted in a 44-percent improvement in skin radiance, a 37-percent increase in skin firmness and a 36-percent improvement in the appearance of wrinkles. As such, it’s no surprise the formula has become a gold standard of antioxidants, winning a whopping eight awards in 2020 alone.

Best For: Discoloration

If fading discoloration is your main skin-care goal, Dr. Engelman says Phloretin CF ($166) is your best bet. Boosted with 2% phloretin, an antioxidant-derivative of apples and the root bark of trees, this silky, daytime-only serum works to rev up skin-cell turnover for an improvement in discoloration and uneven skin tone. Heavy-hitting 10% pure vitamin C and .5% ferulic acid also work to shield against oxidative damage and slow skin aging over time.

Regardless of which bottle is best for you, be sure to follow with a sunscreen boasting an SPF of 30 or higher. While each of these three formulas are bespoke to cater to certain skin types, all are after the same goal of healthier, more radiant-looking skin—something we can all get behind.

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