The 16 Best Antioxidant Serums for Skin That Glows

Begone, free radicals.

antioxidant serums
(Image credit: Fenty Skin / Tatcha / Vintner's Daughter / Kypris)

When it comes to the surface of your skin, there's a lot going on. There's the activity you can see, like the formation of dark spots and the settling-in of wrinkles and sunburns, as well as the good stuff, like the magic of a dewy glow. There's also a whole busy town of things going on at the molecular level. Perhaps the busiest of all are free radicals, unstable molecules activated on the skin's surface by sunlight, cigarette smoke, pollution, and more. Once they've been created, free radicals damage skin cells, which in turn leads to uneven tone, creasing, and loss of elasticity. Enter: antioxidants.

The good news is that antioxidants represent a whole crew of molecules that effectively deactivate free radicals, preventing them from damaging the DNA of your skin. You can ingest antioxidants—they're present in most fruits and vegetables—but topical application is even more effective. There's also some research that suggests antioxidants can boost how well your sunscreen works. In short, they're a really good idea.

The most common antioxidant in skin care is vitamin C—seen on labels as ascorbic acid and ascorbate—and that's for a few reasons. It's relatively stable, readily accessible, and efficacious, meaning there is the most published research surrounding its results. But vitamins C and E together, ferulic acid, phloretin, pycnogenol, and green and red tea have also been shown to possess powerful antioxidant benefits on the complexion. Ahead, the best antioxidant serums on the market right now, at every price point. 

Hannah Morrill
Hannah Morrill

Hannah Morrill is a writer and editor based in Portland, Maine. She’s an avid reader, an indifferent face-washer and a sunscreen/retinol evangelist.