Skinceuticals' Silymarin CF Is a Miracle Serum for My Oily Skin

It reduces oiliness and refines skin texture.

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Skinceuticals Silymarin CF

Skinceuticals Silymarin CF

Byrdie / Skinceuticals

What We Like
  • It's clinically tested

  • It is made with oily, acne-prone skin in mind

  • It comes in a dark brown bottle to protect from oxidation 

What We Don't Like
  • It's pricey (but worth the investment)

Incorporating this high-quality serum into your routine helps smooth your skin, keep breakouts at bay, and protect from environmental factors (like sun damage and pollution). It's a worthwhile investment for your skin.


Skinceuticals Silymarin CF

Skinceuticals Silymarin CF

Byrdie / Skinceuticals

Beauty is my work and has long been my passion. There was a time when I invested in makeup, but now it's all about caring for my skin. Unfortunately, on the internet, "perfect" skin is in (fyi there's no such thing?). No lines. No pimples. No dark spots. No signs of aging. However, that's not my goal. I am genuinely in this skincare game to make sure I'm caring for my body inside out.

I've been using an oil-based vitamin C formula for a little over a year, but I no longer see the same visible results I saw when I started using it—which led me to Skinceuticals' CE Ferulic. Now, the brand released a version of this beloved product made for oily, acne-prone skin, which made me lean in to learn more. And now, I'm here to tell you all about what it was like to put this latest Skinceuticals drop to the test.

Skinceuticals Silymarin CF

BEST FOR: Smoothing fine lines, brightening the skin, and reduces oiliness



PRICE: $166

ABOUT THE BRAND: Founded in 1997, Skinceuticals is an innovative and trusted skincare brand. The brand is best known for developing science-backed skincare products that protect the skin, correct signs of aging, and help even skin tone.

About My Skin: It's hit a plateau

I have made it my mission to take care of my skin. I cleanse, treat, mask, and hydrate. However, I've noticed the products I've been using aren't hurting, but not necessarily helping either. Usually, I'm between nursing hormonal or reactive breakouts and healing the hyperpigmentation those breakouts leave behind. I rarely try anything new unless I spend hours reading reviews and surfing Reddit. Luckily, my cleanser and chemical exfoliators work well for me, but it's time to add a new daily treatment or two to the mix. 

Ingredient Quality: Top of the line

  • Silymarin: It is naturally derived from milk thistle fruit and seeds. The antioxidant-rich plant protects the skin from UV light exposure and free radicals.
  • 15% L-ascorbic acid: This patented potent form of pure vitamin C helps neutralize free radicals, brightens the complexion, and is clinically proven to reduce oxidative damage from free radicals from UV, ozone, and diesel exhaust.
  • Ferulic Acid: Often used alongside vitamin C, this antioxidant-rich ingredient is found in walls of plants like oats and bran and helps decrease the progression of fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots.
  • Salicylic Acid: The beta-hydroxy acid is derived from willow tree bark. The BHA exfoliates, reduces inflammation, and penetrates below the skin's surface to clear sebum and reduce oil production.

The Science: Six years in the making

If you've ever wondered why Skinceuticals is an investment skincare brand, their dedication to science and research is what sets them apart. Silymarin CF is the brand's latest launch and is made with oily, blemish-prone skin in mind. The treatment went through a six-year development process and has been clinically proven to reduce oil oxidation by up to 76%.

The Feel: A little tacky but soaks into the skin

Bianca Lambert

Bianca Lambert

Traditional vitamin C serums are generally thin and feel watery in texture. Because it's so light, four to five drops are all you need. Once applied, it does feel tacky, but once it soaks into the skin easily and disappears. I found this was hydrating enough to use solo, but I did use it alongside hyaluronic acid. 

The Results: Smoother, less oily skin

Bianca Lambert

Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

Having only used the serum for about eight days, I haven't seen my dark spots fade overnight (which makes sense). I know skincare products take time to do their thing. But, I am happy to report the texture of my skin is changing. My skin is smoother to the touch. Makeup glides onto my skin and stays in place for hours without turning in a complete oil slick sans powder. This is unheard of for someone with skin as oily as mine.  

The Packaging: Protective

The treatment is packaged in a dark brown bottle. The dark brown bottle helps keep the product from oxidizing, while the wide mouth dropper ensures you apply the right amount of product each time. Make sure to keep it open for as short a time as you can—that will make sure less air gets in each time you use it.

The Value: A fashion investment piece, but make it skincare

Here's the thing: I know $166 is a big investment for a one-ounce bottle. However, like the pricey shoes I bought (with no regrets) and had for ten plus years, I can say it's worth every penny. Because you only need four to five drops, I can see this treatment lasting a while—and the results will make you wonder why you hadn't invested in this sooner. Your skin is with you for a lifetime. 

Final Verdict

I'd be telling a story if I said I didn't want my dark spots to disappear forever. There was a time when I wouldn't leave the house without them covered. Now, I accept them and accept my skin isn't and will never be "perfect." But, that doesn't mean I don't take pride in caring for it. Incorporating a clinically tested, industry celebrated serum in your routine that helps smooth, brighten, and keep breakouts at bay, and protects the skin from environmental factors that can cause harm, in my opinion, is a worthy investment your skin will thank you for making.


  • Product Name Silymarin CF
  • Product Brand Skinceuticals
  • Price $166.00
  • Weight 1 oz.
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Vostálová J, Tinková E, Biedermann D, Kosina P, Ulrichová J, Rajnochová Svobodová A. Skin Protective Activity of Silymarin and Its FlavonolignansMolecules. 2019;24(6):1022. doi:10.3390/molecules24061022

  2. Telang P. Vitamin C in DermatologyIndian Dermatol Online J. 2013;4(2):143. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.110593

  3. Zduńska K, Dana A, Kolodziejczak A, Rotsztejn H. Antioxidant Properties of Ferulic Acid and Its Possible ApplicationSkin Pharmacol Physiol. 2018;31(6):332-336. doi:10.1159/000491755

  4. Arif T. Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: a comprehensive reviewClinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2015 Mar;8:455-461. doi:10.2147/CCID.S84765

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