It may not be the newest skin-care ingredient on the block, but vitamin C remains a mainstay in the beauty world, thanks to its tried-and-true anti-aging benefits. First and foremost, it acts as an antioxidant, combating skin-damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) that form after exposure to sun and/or pollution (which happens to *everyone*, no matter how good you are about applying sunscreen). Next, it brightens the skin by gently exfoliating dead, discolored cells while simultaneously inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme essential for the production of new pigment. In other words, it both fades existing spots and keeps new ones from cropping up. And finally, it helps keep collagen—the protein essential for firm, youthful skin—from breaking down, and some studies have shown that the vitamin stimulates collagen production, too. (The full scoop on the benefits: Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin C Skin Care)
Sold on the science? Start working the triple-threat vitamin into your skin-care routine with any of these products.