SkinBetter Science's Alto Defense Serum Is the Beauty Editor-Approved Secret to Gorgeous Skin

A lightweight, powerful, innovative serum that contains 19 different antioxidants to protect your skin from cell-damaging, fine line-causing free radicals.

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SkinBetter alto defense serum 30ml  on purple background
Courtesy of brand
Best of Beauty Breakthrough
  • Best of Beauty Breakthrough
  • 2017
Best of Beauty
  • Best of Beauty
  • 2020
TL;DR:
  • What It Is: An antioxidant-packed facial serum
  • What It Does: Protects your skin from pollutants and free-radical damage
  • Who It's For: All skin types

Its reputation precedes it. A dermatology professor called it "a milestone in antioxidant [skin care]." An article published by Allure.com a couple of years ago heralded the "groundbreaking formula." Over the corporate instant-messaging service Slack, *Allure'*s former deputy digital beauty director, Sophia Panych, told me it was "really silky, and it feels like nothing." This is an especially ringing endorsement: Whenever Sophia walks by my desk, loose sunbeams glint off of her ceramic skin. I twist open the cap from my SkinBetter Science Alto Defense Serum and swan dive right in. (Just kidding! I methodically test it for a week, twice a day, instead.) The rumors are true.

First: Why do you need antioxidants? I'm not a science person, so I'm going to defer to Jolene Edgar, the writer who broke the news of this innovative formula on Allure.com. "Free radicals, simply put, are unstable, electron-stealing molecules that harm our cells," she wrote. "The resultant damage, if unaddressed or repaired imperfectly, accumulates over time giving rise to wrinkles, brown spots, and skin cancers." 

Free radicals are everywhere, too — they're environmental skin assailants floating around in the very air we breathe. Antioxidants are your best defense: By neutralizing free radicals, a good antioxidant serum acts like a kind of shield against pollutants. Almost like sunscreen! Actually, more and more sunscreens are being formulated with antioxidants, to protect your skin across the board.

But the board, pardon my extension of this metaphor, is not fully crossed. Free radicals exist in tons of different forms, and many antioxidants defend from only some. SkinBetter Science Alto Defense Serum, by contrast, is a cocktail of — are you ready for this? Would you like to guess first? Come on, just try, it's fun. Oh, wow, that's a good guess, but a little off. Nineteen different antioxidants. Unbelievable! All protecting your face from stuff you didn't even realize was coming after it.

It's a seamless, very necessary, part of your skin-care routine — right before sunscreen, smooth a layer of this all over your face, and head out into the world. The texture is water weight, drying instantly and leaving smooth, hydrated skin in its wake. Rest assured this is not the product that'll save your face overnight — after a week of use, my skin looks no different, but the benefits, as I understand them, are longer term. If Sophia's skin is any indication of the result, I'm happy to commit.

The SkinBetter Science Alto Defense Serum is a 2020 Allure Best of Beauty winner. Check out the full list of Allure's 2020 Best of Beauty winners.