Real talk: Is there anything more annoying than stubborn hyperpigmentation from the summer that just won’t quit? (Answer: yes, namely subway delays or when Netflix won’t load, but that’s neither here nor there.) But back to the topic at hand: Whether your dark spots are from sun exposure sans adequate SPF (shame!) or lingering acne marks, there’s one ingredient that derms recommend to fade them quick: vitamin C.
When applied topically, the vitamin C—which is often listed on product labels as L-ascorbic acid—“inhibits pigment enzymes in the skin and brightens the overall complexion,” says dermatologist Annie Chiu, who recommends it for anyone who wants glowing skin—hyperpigmentation or not. But because it’s highly unstable, it’s important that you apply it on its own or underneath a basic moisturizer to avoid it breaking down. Ahead, the 11 best vitamin C serums for glowing, bright skin.