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Fact: There are a bazillion skincare brands out there. (Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the picture.) But of all the many options out there, there are a handful of select few that are equally beloved by beauty editors, dermatologists, and real women alike. And of this much smaller category, there’s arguably no brand that does it better than Skinceuticals. “The brand was originally developed by a dermatologist to help his skin cancer patients boost the repair mechanism of their skin and to heal and prevent environmental damage. The brand has evolved, but the core values and development remains,” says New York City board-certified dermatologist Dr. Julie Russak.
To that point, hardcore science is always at the forefront, which is why derms love it, and why consumers rave about the legit results all of the products deliver. “It’s a brand that is truly backed by science, no product is released unless it has been tested with rigorous scientifically-proven testing methods. It’s also a brand that also listens to dermatologists and relies on the demands of our patients,” says Russak. It’s why their line-up of products is so completely comprehensive—though not overwhelming—boasting a curated collection of results-driven formulas that will fill every need in anyone’s skincare routine.
From their cult-classic antioxidant serum to one of our favorite moisturizers of all time, these are the best Skinceuticals products out there.
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic
Honestly, if we had a dollar for every time a dermatologist recommended this serum...well, let’s just say we’d long be retired. It’s the OG that started it all, the original serum created by Skinceuticals founding scientist, says Russak, who calls it, “the gold standard of all antioxidants” and adds that it’s her favorite Skinceuticals product. It’s a team Byrdie must-have too—Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue is just one of many who love it. Credit the patented and highly effective combination in the formula of 15% l-ascorbic acid (the most powerful form of vitamin C), 1% vitamin E, and .5% ferulic acid that helps to shield your skin from environmental damage and brighten your skin.
SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF
Another one of the brand’s top antioxidant serums, this one is especially ideal for combating existing discoloration and preventing new spots from forming. The namesake antioxidant, phloretin, is derived from apples and the root bark of fruit trees. Like C E Ferulic, there’s also a potent dose of l-ascorbic (10% to be exact) in the mix too, to further help enhance the brightening benefits.
SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF
The latest addition to the brand’s line-up, this is their first new antioxidant product in six years. But it was well worth the wait, as it offers the perfect option for those with oily or acne-prone skin. Like the other antioxidant serums in the portfolio, it too contains l-ascorbic acid and ferulic acid, in carefully formulated 15% and .5% concentrations, respectively.
Where it differs is in its use of silymarin, an antioxidant derived from the milk thistle plant. As if that weren’t enough, it also contains salicylic acid. The result is a serum that offers all those tried-and-true antioxidant benefits, all while reducing oiliness and helping to ward off blemishes.
SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier Serum
Hyaluronic acid is a superstar when it comes to hydration, attracting water to and holding it in the skin. This lightweight serum contains 1.3% HA, along with a proprietary ingredient, Proxylane, that helps support your skin’s natural hyaluronic acid levels. A few drops go a long way towards leaving your skin super smooth and glowy, and it layers beautifully under moisturizer if you want even more hydration.
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
Remember that ‘favorite moisturizer of all-time’ that we mentioned? It’s this guy. “It’s the perfect moisturizer, visibly improving hydration and decreasing the appearance of lines and wrinkles,” says Russak, who has it on her list of SkinC favorites (as does Xue). The name refers to the ratio of ceramides to cholesterol to fatty acids in the skin, all essential lipids that are imperative for restoring and maintaining the skin barrier that’s responsible for the strength and health of our skin, says Russak. Try it if your skin is super dry, and/or you want to combat signs of aging, including wrinkles and sagging.
What Our Testers Say
"It delivers instant and long-term results and the texture is a dream." — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter
You can’t stop the process of aging, but you can help combat the visible effects–particularly with this formula. A choice wrinkle-fighting cream, this contains a 30% concentration of that proprietary Proxylane ingredient, plus a lipid and blueberry extract, all of which work together to restore firmness and elasticity. It’s whipped and velvety, melting beautifully into the skin.
SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E Serum
Antioxidant serums are typically thought of as daytime products, making this nighttime formula all the more unique. The namesake antioxidant is the same one found in red wine; the B refers to baicalin, another plant-derived and very potent antioxidant, and there’s also vitamin E in the mix. Apply it at bedtime and let the powerful treatment go to town, helping to undo any free radical damage incurred during the day.
SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
You better believe Skinceuticals makes some great ‘screens; this one is our favorite. Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould raves about the entirely mineral-based formula, that’s ideal for all skin types, oily and acne-prone included. It goes on silky-smooth, feels completely featherweight, and, our favorite part, has a subtle tint (that works on all skin tones) to make skin look radiant and more even-toned, even before you put on any makeup.
SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum
Adult acne is a very real thing, which is why we appreciate that this standout effectively combats that double whammy of pimples and wrinkles. (FYI, sometimes using traditional acne treatments on more mature skin can only end up drying it out and making matters worse.) It relies on a variety of different acids—2% dioic acid to reduce excess oil, 0.3% lipo hydroxy acid to decongest pores, 1.5% salicylic acid to ward off oil, and two different alpha hydroxy acids to gently exfoliate, leaving skin look smoother and more even (and keep wrinkles at bay).
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel
For those times when you feel like your moisturizer alone just isn’t cutting it, this is the perfect serum to layer underneath. Hyaluronic acid and B5 both work on their own and up the efficacy of your moisturizer, leaving skin smooth, soft, and glowing. And while yes, it’s meant to be used in tandem with a face lotion or cream, we like using it solo on super hot days or when our skin is feeling extra slick.
What Our Testers Say
“The texture is great, and it plumps fine lines, boosts the skin’s moisture content, and improves barrier health.” — Emily Algar, Product Tester
SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3
Retinoids are the undisputed champion in the skincare/anti-aging world, with a long and proven history of delivering impressive results. Retinol can do everything from fade spots to unclog pores to combat wrinkles, making it a worthy addition to any skincare routine. The only problem? It’s notoriously irritating.
That’s why Gould loves that Skinceuticals offers this more mild version, which contains only a .3% concentration of the ingredient in a formula that’s ideal for those with sensitive skin or retinol newbies. (It combines the ingredient with a soothing complex to further minimize irritation.) Ready for something a bit stronger? The brand also offers a 0.5 concentration and 1.0 concentration, too.
SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense
The star of the show in this brightening serum is tranexamic acid, an ingredient that’s not super common in many over-the-counter products, but can be highly effective. It’s paired with some other tried-and-true brighteners—think kojic acid, niacinamide, and more—to knock out dark spots, be they caused by the sun or leftover acne marks. Plus, it works on all skin tones, a major win, since darker complexions are more prone to hyperpigmentation, to begin with.
SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser
Glycolic acid is another one of those do-it-all skincare ingredients, excellent for gentle chemical exfoliation to improve tone and texture, but also with the ability to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin to fight fine lines and wrinkles. If you’re new to the ingredient, using it in a cleanser, like this one, is a perfect place to start. The gel formula is a favorite of Xue’s, combining 8% glycolic with 1% phytic acid, alongside soothing and hydrating aloe. It’s effective yet gentle enough to use even twice daily, and is great at removing even stubborn makeup, too.
SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight
If you’re ready to up the glycolic acid ante, try this nightly leave-on, another one of Xue’s picks. It contains 10% glycolic acid and 2% phytic acid for extra exfoliation, though it also boasts a soothing complex made of natural oils and botanicals to minimize the likelihood of irritation.
Ease into this one gradually, working up to nightly use over the course of a week or so.
SkinCeuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair
True story, you really should consider your lips when thinking about your skincare routine. So much more than a basic lip balm, this anti-aging lip treatment contains all kinds of goodies more often reserved for serums and eye creams; peptides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E shield your delicate lips from sun damage while also leaving them soft and smooth.
SkinCeuticals Tripeptide-R Neck Repair
Just like your lips, the skin below your chin deserves some love, too. The brand recently launched a cream dedicated solely for your neck, combining two extra-powerful wrinkle-fighting ingredients, .2% retinol and a 2.5% tripeptide concentrate (hence the name). It works to combat all neck-related issues, from horizontal fine lines to laxity to crepiness.
SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Mask
Skin freaking out? Slather on this mask and prepare to be amazed. “I have rosacea and my skin is very sensitive. Anytime I have any irritation, this product is my go-to to calm down my skin,” says Russak. It’s also amazing to use after procedures such as lasers. Russak notes that her practice did studies with the product when it was being developed and found that it both calmed the skin and improved healing. At work, a variety of calming botanicals and a dipeptide along with hyaluronic acid; the green tint also helps neutralize redness. Use it daily or whenever needed, but trying stashing it in the fridge to further up the soothing feel. The brand also has a Phyto Corrective Gel, which delivers similar effects, and is great to use on more targeted areas.
SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser
We know what you’re thinking, why is a plain old cleanser on this list? Well, kind of for that very reason. A gentle, effective, non-irritating cleanser is the foundation for any effective skincare routine, an absolute must-have for all skin types. Nice and creamy, this one is especially great for the dry and/or sensitive crowd, packed with plenty of moisturizing and soothing ingredients. It’s amazing at taking off even a full face of makeup, rinses beautifully, and leaves skin feeling fresh and clean, though never stripped.
What Our Testers Say
"The SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser significantly calmed down my acne, and to say I love it would be an understatement. I now consider this product to be my miracle worker, and definitely plan on keeping it in my regular rotation thanks to the results I saw." — Celeste Polanco, Product Tester
SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel
Consider this the arch-nemesis of tired, puffy eyes. Caffeine is known to take down both puffiness and dark circles, great for a fast fix, but there are also plenty of ingredients in the formula that works long-term to protect this delicate skin from environmental damage, namely a synergistic combo of three antioxidants: vitamin C, ferulic acid, and phloretin. The gel texture also gives it a super refreshing feel, and it layers nicely under makeup as well.
What to Look For in Skinceuticals
Skinceuticals is renowned for its potent science-backed ingredients. When choosing a specific product or products to add to your routine, look for ingredients that target your specific needs. For instance, there are several products for fine lines and aging skin and others for oily and acne-prone skin.
Each product contains ingredients that are specifically included to target the skin concerns it has been designed for. It's wise to create a list of your top skin concerns and check for SkinC products that target those concerns.
When choosing a Skinceutical product, consider what type of product you are looking for. If you do not currently use a serum and want to keep your routine minimal, it may be best to stick to the product types that you currently use. This can help avoid waste.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a replacement or addition to your current routine, look for products that fit the bill. Perhaps you need a richer moisturizer for winter or a more potent sunscreen for summer. Decide which products you need most before shopping.
Indicated for Skin Type
Not all products will be suitable for every skin type. Look for products from SkinCeuticals that are indicated for your skin type. Acne-prone skin requires products that are unique from products for dry skin. Aging or sensitive skin will need unique ingredients and may need to avoid others to ensure the best results without irritation.
Are SkinCeuticals products worth the price?
SkinCeuticals products are worth the price to most people based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews. Of course, this is subjective, but due to the high-quality ingredients that are backed by rigorous scientific research and testing protocols, it is likely you will not be disappointed in the purchase. Check reviews of the specific product you are interested in to determine if others are happy with their purchase.
Why are SkinCeuticals so expensive?
SkinCeuticals are so expensive because of the potency levels of high-quality ingredients used. The brand also focuses intently on research and development, testing, and formulation, which is a costly process. All of this helps ensure their products are highly effective.
Why is SkinCeuticals so good?
SkinCeuticals is so good because the brand focuses on research-driven ingredients and high-quality formulations. The brand aims to provide a premier skincare option for those in search of effective products backed by scientific research.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. Skinceuticals was one of the first brands she was introduced to at the start of her career, and many of their products have been staples in her daily skincare routine ever since.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Julie Russak is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of the Russak Dermatology Clinic in New York City. She is an Associate Professor at Mount Sinai Hospital, and an expert in general and cosmetic dermatology, as well as dermatologic surgery.
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