Vitamin c serum benefits


Vitamin C Serums 101: Best Products, Benefits, Side Effects, and More

You reach for vitamin C when you feel a cold coming on, but did you know it also plays a role in delivering a smooth, glowing complexion? It’s become a holy-grail item for the skin-obsessed in recent years.

“Vitamin C is a hot topic, and it’s buzzworthy because it has so many preventative and also maintenance benefits,” says Nazanin Saedi, MD, a dermatologist with Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Here, dive into everything you need to know about vitamin C serums, including why to use one, how to apply it, and what to watch out for.

What is a Vitamin C Serum Exactly, and What’s in It?

A vitamin C serum is a skin-care product packed with vitamin C. It has the consistency of a liquid or gel, and is applied topically to the skin. You’ll find these serums wherever you normally purchase skin-care products — at department stores, beauty stores, and some drug stores, too. On the packaging, you’ll likely see words touting skin benefits like “firming,” “brightening,” and “collagen boosting.” Tapping into those benefits is the main reason to add a vitamin C serum to your skin-care routine.

“The benefit of vitamin C is it’s an antioxidant, so it helps prevent the forming of free radicals, which go on to break down collagen and elastin,” Saedi says. The result, she says, is glowing, youthful skin.

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Research Behind Vitamin C and Vitamin C Serums

Of course, you can source vitamin C through foods, namely fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, oranges, pineapple, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, according to MedlinePlus. It’s an important nutrient to load up on because it’s essential for growth and development. It plays a role in forming and repairing body tissue, and delivering antioxidants to cut down on the presence of dangerous free radicals.

Vitamin C is also naturally present in the skin, where it helps promote collagen and antioxidant levels, and protects the skin against UV-ray-induced photodamage, according to a study published in August 2017 in the journal Nutrients. Sounds great, right? You may be thinking about how to increase vitamin C in your diet to tap into these benefits. Unfortunately, simply eating more oranges and cantaloupe isn’t going to cut it. That’s because the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, doesn’t have blood vessels to send nutrients to the skin cells, according to the Nutrients study.

Vitamin C can, however, be applied topically — and that’s where vitamin C serums come in. “Vitamin C is best known for its ability to neutralize free radicals and improve aging skin,” says Joel Schlessinger, MD, an Omaha, Nebraska-based dermatologic surgeon and RealSelf contributor. “It can also improve collagen and elastin synthesis — which can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; help reduce inflammation, provide natural, mild exfoliation; and brighten skin.”

Research has also shown the effectiveness of topical application. A study published in September 2015 in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found applying vitamin C topically increased collagen production among study participants in all age groups. The study participants noticed the effects after 40 days of treatment and were even more pronounced at the 60-day mark.

It can also help with melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. According to a January 2013 study published in Journal of Drugs and Dermatology, study participants saw an average 73 percent improvement in skin pigmentation as a result of applying vitamin C to the face.

RELATED: 10 Things Your Skin Is Trying to Tell You — and How to Respond

Who Should Use a Vitamin C Serum on Their Skin?

According to the study in Nutrients, vitamin C can help protect the skin from many problems, including sunburn, photoaging, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, sagging, dryness, and an uneven skin tone. Anyone dealing with these skin issues may want to consider adding a vitamin C serum to their skincare regimen. But it’s a good idea to get started even if these issues haven’t crept up yet. “While it’s often presented as an anti-aging ingredient, the best time to prevent aging is before it occurs,” Schlessinger says.

Saedi recommends vitamin C serums for people of all ages because virtually everyone is at risk of sun damage, and with vitamin C serums “we are minimizing the amount of sun damage that our skin’s getting from sunlight,” she says.She says it does double duty of both protecting the skin and helping problem areas recover. “It’s preventative in that it’s protecting you from sun damage and signs of aging like wrinkles,” Saedi says. “It also helps promote collagen and boost your natural collagen formation.”

RELATED: 7 Skin-Care Tips to Help Turn Back the Clock

Expert Tips for Choosing a High-Quality Vitamin C Serum

You’ll find vitamin C in a few different forms, including L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl-6-palmitate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, according to a 2017 study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. L-ascorbic acid is the most researched and the most biologically active, according to the study authors.

The price of these serums can vary greatly, from about $10 to $250 for 1 ounce. How do you choose? Pay attention to the vitamin C concentration levels (usually referred to as L-ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid on the label, Schlessinger says). Some may have 10 percent, while others may have 15 or 20 percent. Look for one with a concentration higher than 8 percent, which The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology study says is the minimum amount that’s shown to be biologically significant. The higher the concentration, the stronger the serum, though the benefits taper off at 20 percent, according to a study published in April-June 2013 in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal. “Twenty percent is where it maxes out — you’re not going to get anything more powerful than that,” Saedi says.

When choosing your product, look for one that also contains vitamin E, which delivers vitamin C more effectively, according to the study in Nutrients. Ferulic acid is also a good addition — it helps stabilize vitamin C, which makes it less likely to irritate the skin, according to the study in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. “When vitamin C and E are combined, they work together to provide very powerful antioxidant protection,” Schlessinger says. “When these vitamins work with ferulic acid, they enhance one another’s stability to ensure maximum benefits are achieved.”

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How to Use a Vitamin C Serum and Reap Its Benefits

Saedi says to apply a few drops of serum to your face after you wash and dry it. “A little bit goes a really long way,” she says. She recommends putting it on every morning, all year round. “It has some benefits with sun exposure so it helps to apply in the morning as the first layer of protection,” she says. She says to then layer on your moisturizer and sunscreen. Serums are better than adding drops of vitamin C “boosters” to your moisturizer, Saedi says. They may not be as potent as serums themselves and mixing them with moisturizer may dilute the effects.

Store your bottle in a cool, dark place away from extreme heat, such as a bathroom cabinet as opposed to on your counter. “Storing a vitamin C serum correctly is integral to its success,” Schlessinger says. “A good rule of thumb is to toss the serum six months after it’s been opened and to keep the serum in a cool, dark place.” If you’re using it according to the instructions, it’ll likely be gone before the six months is up. If not, you’ll want to throw it out. “When vitamin C is used past its shelf life, it can actually have negative effects,” Schlessinger says. More on that next.

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Potential Side Effects and Risks of Vitamin C Serums

Vitamin C is a safe and generally well-tolerated ingredient. “The only risk is some of these serums have so many different ingredients in them,” Saedi says, adding that these extra ingredients may result in an allergic reaction for some.

Most of the studies mentioned above reported that study subjects had no irritation or negative reactions. The only exception is those with sensitive skin. The 2015 study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found that 6 percent of study participants experienced itchiness, which the researchers said was likely due to the acidity of vitamin C. Schlessinger says people with very sensitive skin should consult with a dermatologist before use since potent forms of vitamin C can sometimes irritate sensitive skin.

According to the Indian Dermatology Online Journal study, a vitamin C serum may result in yellowing of the skin or clothes, stinging, or dryness, though those effects are rare. The researchers advise people take caution when applying around the eyes.

RELATED: 7 Wellness Bloggers’ Tips for Shielding Skin From Damaging UV Rays

Which Vitamin C Serums to Buy? Dermatologists Name Their Clients’ Favorites

Saedi likes SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, which she says is “tried and true” and has a cult-like following. Others she says her patients rave about are SkinBetter Science Alto Defense Serum and Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum.

Sephora has a list of their top-performing vitamin C serums, and Dermstore lists their must-try products. Both are a good starting point to find the best vitamin C serum for you.

Vitamin C serums are legendary for a reason: They really work. Uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, acne scars, general dullness — you can name just about any common complexion concern and there’s a good chance that vitamin C (and the skin-care products it’s featured in) is a recommended treatment. How does the ingredient work on the skin, though? Are the brighter, smoother results thanks to the same potent antioxidant found in the orange juice you drink when you have a cold?

Given that interest about the ingredient is seemingly at an all-time high, we felt a deeper dive into the wonders of vitamin C was warranted. We consulted the experts to learn all about what really makes vitamin C such a sought-after skin-care ingredient, as well as the best ways to reap its many benefits.

First off, what is vitamin C?

As far as your skin is concerned, vitamin C is “a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals,” explains board-certified dermatologist Patricia Wexler. “Because of its antioxidant properties, vitamin C aids in your skin’s natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells.”

So, in the same way that consuming antioxidant-rich foods aids your body in fighting off free radicals, topical antioxidants do the same for your skin by helping to offset daily aggressors like UV damage and exposure to air pollution. Quick refresher course on antioxidants: They prevent or reduce damage to our cells by neutralizing the production of highly reactive molecules called free radicals. In other words, antioxidants help keep our body and our skin cells healthy.

This free-radical fighting power isn’t just important for helping to keep signs of premature aging at bay. In neutralizing these free radicals, vitamin C may also help protect skin from precancerous changes caused by UV exposure, Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, previously told Allure.

How else does vitamin C benefit the skin?

Amazingly, vitamin C’s skin-saving benefits aren’t limited to its antioxidant status. It has plenty of other skin-healing properties that make it worthy of a permanent place in your medicine cabinet. For one, because it’s highly acidic, when vitamin C is used topically “the skin is triggered to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin,” explains New York City-based dermatologist Howard Sobel. Remember: Collagen and elastin are both naturally occurring protein fibers that help keep skin plump and firm. So, in helping to promote collagen production, topical vitamin C can help prevent premature aging of the skin.

Another cool thing about the ingredient: It contains a property that inhibits your skin’s melanin production, which is what causes skin discoloration like dark spots and hyperpigmentation, Wexler explains. With continued topical use, vitamin C can help prevent dark spots from forming in the first place.

“It’s a superior brightening agent that works to fade brown spots without altering normal skin pigmentation,” Sobel adds.

How can you add vitamin C into your daily skin-care routine?

“The key is not the vehicle that vitamin C comes in, but the form of vitamin C that is being applied,” explains Kristina Goldenberg of Goldenberg Dermatology in New York City. The term to look for is ascorbic acid (also known as L-ascorbic acid), which is the most stable and effective form of vitamin C in skin care.

That said, all three dermatologists agree that the best vitamin C skin-care product to use is serum, because “serums are more effective than creams or toners,” says Wexler. Moreover, adding vitamin E into the mix is like a one-two punch of skin-saving goodness.

The Best Vitamin C Serums for Younger, Brighter Skin

Dermatologists and beauty bloggers rave about vitamin C serums, and it’s no wonder it’s so popular. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and helps to reduce signs of aging by repairing the damage done by free radicals and the sun. It can even help to protect against future damage (though it’s no substitute for sunscreen). The result: brighter and firmer skin, fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and a more even skin tone.

“It’s good for everyone to include in their regime,” says Arielle Nagler, MD, dermatologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. She recommends applying it daily. “There is some good evidence that long-term use of vitamin C topically, even more so that taking it orally, is associated with improved skin texture and quality,” she continues. Fortunately, it’s potent stuff, so you only need a few drops for each application.

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There are a lot of different serums to chose from, each with different concentrations and even variants of vitamin C. This can make finding the right one for you just a little bit confusing. It’s all about finding a compromise between a high level of vitamin C to boost the production of collagen, but not too much that it brings on redness and irritation. Debra Jaliman, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells Health via email that she recommends serums with concentrations of 10 to 15%.

And if you’re wondering why there are so many different derivatives of vitamin C, it’s because they’ve been produced to make it more stable and less likely to irritate the skin. Common ones to look out for include include absorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate.

RELATED: One Drop of This Under-Eye Concentrate Works Better Than Any Eye Cream

It’s important to stay consistent with your vitamin C regimen because that’s when you’ll see the best results. And don’t worry if you notice some light tingling or redness upon your first few applications—it’s normal with the potent ingredient. If irritation persists, though, you should let your derm know.

Read on for vitamin C serums that come personally recommended by dermatologists and beauty editors.

Plus: Want more anti-aging recommendations from Health? Here are our favorite over-the-counter retinol creams; the best eye creams that contain retinol; the best niacinamide serums for clearer, firmer skin; and the all-time best anti-aging products you can buy on Amazon that are affordable, too.

This post was originally published on December 5, 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.

Top 3 benefits of vitamin C serum

Share on PinterestA person should apply vitamin C serum to clean, moisturized skin.

Manufacturers face some challenges when creating topical vitamin C applications because vitamin C can break down in the presence of factors such as air, heat, and light.

Some preparations contain ascorbic acid, which is the natural form of vitamin C. The skin absorbs ascorbic acid well, but it does not always work well when mixed with certain solutions. Ascorbyl palmitate has more stability when mixed with other solutions, but the skin absorbs it less effectively.

Skin care manufacturers package vitamin C into serums because it allows them to deliver higher vitamin C concentrations that the skin absorbs quickly.

Manufacturers traditionally formulate serums as water- or oil-based products that the skin can quickly absorb. Some manufacturers will encapsulate vitamin C so that it does not become exposed to the air until a person rubs it on their skin. This minimizes the time the vitamin C has to break down.

Most dermatologists recommend applying serums after cleansing the skin and before applying moisturizers. This allows the skin to most effectively absorb the serum.

Manufacturers may combine vitamin C with other known antioxidants to increase the serum’s effectiveness. Examples include vitamin E and ferulic acid. These ingredient combinations may work better together to help reduce and reverse signs of aging.

Vitamin C can be very acidic, and serums can cause skin irritation in some people, particularly in high concentrations. When using a vitamin C serum for the first time, apply a thin layer every other day and gradually increase to daily applications.

Also, combining vitamin C with retinol has the potential to irritate the skin further. If a person uses retinol in their skin care routine, they may wish to use vitamin C serum in the morning and any products that contain retinol at night. This method maximizes the sun-protective effect of vitamin C while minimizing retinol’s potential to increase sun sensitivity.

** Bonus **

Vitamin C Crystals

One of the most common questions I get asked by customers is, “when is OUMERE going to make a vitamin C serum?” To which my answer always, without faltering, is: Never.

I’m an outsider of the traditional skin care industry because I do not have a background in business, my background is in biology. I am looking at skin care from a biological standpoint, and not from a marketing one. When I look at things from the biological viewpoint, I am primarily concerned with alleviating skin maladies (caused by skin care) and making skin its healthiest using ingredients that are safe, scientific, and effective.

The insouciance towards marketing is the reason why I don’t use argan oil in my products. It’s not that argan oil is bad, it’s just not good enough to put in a skin care formula where space is limited and results are important.

In a previous post on ingredient red flags, I mentioned that the best way to delineate between a true anti-aging skin care company, and one that is just out for your cash (at the additional cost of your skin’s health) is to look at the ingredients. If a self-proclaimed anti-aging line contains cytotoxic agents like essential oils, then they are not motivated by consumer health and wellbeing, they are just a marketing company with a product to sell. Furthermore, you as the consumer need to do your research because in order to have a trustworthy line, all of their ingredients in all of their products need to be safe. Therefore, if one product out of 50 in a brand’s line contain essential oils, cayenne pepper, or any other damaging ingredients, then the line is not trustworthy and doesn’t deserve your hard-earned money.

I’ve sat in on quite a few meetings with skin care giants during the process of picking a product, and they are all the same. First, let me tell you what does not happen. What doesn’t happen is a bunch of biologists and associated scientists with profound knowledge on skin care and health pour through countless published studies, weighing the pros and cons of each ingredient, go through countless experiments and human testing, and after several years formulate a product based on their sound results, and then bring it to the head of a company to sign off on.

What really happens is a group of businesspeople, marketers, and advertisers sit in a room, and this panel debates ingredients to put in their latest product based on the trendiest buzzwords and marketable content in the industry at the moment. They send that list of ingredients to a chemist (with likely no knowledge beyond intermediate college biology) who makes a cream/serum/cleanser that contains maybe 1-5% of those ingredients, and 95-99% filler (thickeners, solvents, preservatives, emulsifiers, etc). That chemist is given certain priorities by the higher-ups: feel, smell, appearance. None of which translates to skin health but rather to marketability. That product (and a few alternatives) is taken to the heads of the company, they try it out few out for a few days or a week, send the final pick to mass-production, and then you get your final product on store shelves.

It is for the very reason highlighted above: marketing, scientists with no advanced knowledge of biology but are rather acting as “cooks in the kitchen”, and companies driven by sales is why every major brand on the market has a vitamin C serum.

OUMERE doesn’t make a vitamin C serum, and here are the reasons why.

1. Vitamin C serum can and will act as a pro-oxidant, causing skin damage

Ever notice that vitamin C serums turn brown after sitting on the shelf for a month? That brown color happened because the serum oxidized, and oxidation occurs in all serums containing vitamin C. Oxidation is a destructive process (this is how rust occurs), and when you put a vitamin C serum on your skin, it will cause oxidation and skin damage. This is due to the pro-oxidant effect of vitamin C in skin care.

A pro-oxidant is the opposite of an antioxidant. Where an anti-oxidant is a molecule that prevents oxidation of other molecules, and hence protects against the cell-damaging effects of free radical production, a pro-oxidant does the reverse, and induces oxidative stress, either by generating reactive oxygen species or by inhibiting antioxidant systems.

Vitamin C on its own can act as an anti-oxidant. So when you eat foods high in vitamin C, you get the health benefit of the vitamin donating electrons, and thus preventing oxidation of tissue, lipids, protein, and DNA.

Vitamin C’s ability to readily donate electrons, and thus acting as an anti-oxidant also means that it readily reacts with other molecules, which has consequences that aren’t always good. In the presence of catalytic metals, vitamin C reacts with those metals causing a pro-oxidant effects, specifically, vitamin C reacts with oxygen, producing superoxide that subsequently dismutes to produce harmful by-products such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Furthermore, it requires little vitamin C to have it act as a pro-oxidant, and a lot of vitamin C to act as an anti-oxidant.

The Fenton Reaction causes vitamin C to act as a pro-oxidant

When vitamin C acts as a pro-oxidant, the consequences include irritation, inflammation, collagen and elastin breakdown, and acne. So if you have any of these skin ailments, and are using a vitamin C serum, then its time to re-think your regimen.

Vitamin C serum can become a pro-oxidant when exposed to atmospheric oxygen, so just by living on Earth you are putting yourself at risk when wearing a Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C can also become a pro-oxidant when in contact with metal.

Vitamin C’s propensity to become a pro-oxidant when in contact with metal is concerning from a skin-care standpoint because the metals vitamin C react with are metals our skin encounters often. When vitamin C encounters iron a biological reaction, known as the Fenton reaction, is initiated. The Fenton reaction is the pivotal reaction in the oxidation of membrane lipids and amino acids, and in the reactions where biological reduction agents are present, such as vitamin C. Our skin comes into contact with iron every day. According to the FDA, iron is a significant pollutant in the air and in the water, and from recent research from the University of Birmingham: “Human activities may have led to an increase of atmospherically soluble iron in the oceans by several times since the Industrial Revolution.”

There is also iron and other metals in makeup and sunscreen, which can further compound the oxidizing effect of vitamin C serums.

When we topically apply vitamin C to our skin, and our skin comes in contact with the air, which contains iron due to pollution, we are inviting a pro-oxidant reaction to occur. It is also safe to assume that since water contains iron contaminants, in general, that much of the water used in your skin care contains iron too. There is no way around iron pollution coming in contact with your skin. Your best safeguard to minimize harm is to avoid molecules that interact with iron to form damaging pro-oxidants.

How to fix the oxidative damage vitamin C serums caused

A majority of customers who have come to us with damaged skin, including acne, redness and bacterial issues had one thing in common: The use of vitamin C serums.

If your skin has been inflamed from use of vitamin C serums due to their oxidizing effect, the solution is the following:

First, stop using vitamin C serums.

Give your skin a one week break and then follow an anti-inflammatory skin care regimen.

OUMERE products do not contain any ingredients that would cause oxidation to the skin, which is why our products act as anti-inflammatory agents and have been reported to reduce redness, inflammation and improve the signs of rosacea and other inflammatory skin ailments.

I advise just using the UV-R serum for a couple days because its high concentration of anti-inflammatory extracts will calm you skin down and reverse the oxidative damage caused by the vitamin C serums. After your skin looks like it has improved, follow the following routine:


No. 9, (dilute for damaged skin) To rebuild, repair and strengthen skin, including collagen

UV-R for anti-inflammation and hydration. Inflammation breaks down collagen, and use of UV-R protects your body’s collagen in the long-term, preserving skin’s youthful appearance.

Serum Bioluminellefor balancing skin’s oils, anti-aging and locking in hydration, which is key for maintaining skin’s structural integrity and preventing damage.


Oil Dissolution Theory- To cleanse without damaging the skin, and keeping hydration

UV-R for anti-inflammation and hydration

Serum Bioluminelle

2. Vitamin C reacts with common compounds found in cosmetics.

Adding onto point #1, we can say that many compounds found in cosmetics are further eliciting vitamin C to become a pro-oxidant. Let’s, for the sake of brevity, just take 3 common ingredients found in cosmetics:


EDTA is a common preservative used in food, household cleaners, laboratory specimens, and in cosmetics. EDTA contains 9.7-19.4 uM of iron per 50mM sample, which is enough to elicit the Fenton reaction described above.

EDTA prevents blood from coagulating, and is used to preserve to laboratory specimens.

2. Copper

Copper is another ingredient that has generated a lot of buzz as of late because of research that has found some anti-aging effects when topically applied. The concern with combining copper and vitamin C is greater (by some research) than combining iron with vitamin C. From Buettner and Jurkiewicz:

“But because copper is -80 times more efficient as a catalyst for ascorbate oxidation than iron, in typical phosphate buffers it is the adventitious copper that is the biggest culprit in catalyzing ascorbate oxidation.”

So although copper is not something you are likely to encounter every day in terms of environmental contaminants, the likelihood of it being in your cosmetics (including skin care) is becoming greater due to it’s increasing popularity as an anti-aging ingredient. And this is cause for concern given that it has a stronger effect on turning vitamin C into a pro-oxidant than iron.

3. Phosphates

Phosphates are everywhere in cosmetics, from haircare, to foundations and primers, to cleansers, and have a multitude of functions, including balancing the pH of a formula, emulsifying water and oil ingredients, and enhancing the lathering effect of a product. On their own they are fairly harmless, although for some they can be drying to the skin and hair. However, phosphates contain both trace sources of iron and copper, both of which elicit a pro-oxidant reaction from vitamin C.

Getting vitamin C from food is your best bet for optimal skin health

3. Tachyphylaxis and depleting your collagen during your youth

If you ever had to use a certain medication long-term you may have noticed that the effects were most pronounced in the beginning, and waned over several months of use. One reason why the effects of pharmaceuticals don’t last over the long-term (with certain exceptions) is because the receptors on our cell’s surface become desensitized over time, inhibiting the drug’s effectiveness biologically.

Vitamin C serums are used to “promote collagen synthesis”, which isn’t possible when done through skin care. What happens is the opposite: you deplete your body’s collagen by using it.

Taking a vitamin when you are not deficient in that vitamin means that your body will get rid of the vitamin in the form of waste. Your body does not store vitamins, so taking more when you are already ‘saturated’ means that no additional benefits are obtained. So if vitamin C naturally promotes collagen as part of normal biological functioning, and this is one of the reasons why we need it dietarily, if you are not deficient, you are not going to see a boost in collagen when you get more vitamin C. Thats a physical impossibility.

Using a vitamin C serum will not have the effect of boosting collagen if you are not deficient in vitamin C, but for those who are deficient (at any time) it will desensitize your body from making collagen. Causing you to age faster, because you are unnaturally stimulating collagen by adding a stressor to the body. And this means that dietary vitamin C may not promote vitamin C synthesis as it normally does.

The only way to safely boost collagen in the body is by preserving the collagen you have, and this is done through healthy lifestyle choices and proper skin care. Preserving collagen is also means avoiding damaging measures such as chemical peels, dermarollers, and harsh skin care.

My conclusion from vitamin C serums is that they are the product of viral marketing, and are a gimmick at best and a cytotoxic agent at their worst. Why risk your skin’s health for something that we will probably all cradle our face in our hands 20 years from now at the very thought of using? If you are concerned about collagen growth, use a daily chemical exfoliant. If you are just looking for a proper skin care regimen, then just use a serum that has been heavily researched with a balance of healthy oils and extracts. And my final word is that skin care is just like every other industry out there, and every industry is just looking for the latest and greatest way to take your money. Today it’s vitamin C, tomorrow, who knows.

4. Vitamin C Serums Cause Acne in Healthy Skin

Read the full article here

Follow Up Articles:

The Scientific Papers Supporting Vitamin C Serum’s Skin Benefits Are Flawed

Sullivan, R. J. (1969). Air pollution aspects of iron and its compounds.

Weijun Li, Liang Xu, Xiaohuan Liu, Jianchao Zhang, Yangting Lin, Xiaohong Yao, Huiwang Gao, Daizhou Zhang, Jianmin Chen, Wenxing Wang, Roy M. Harrison, Xiaoye Zhang, Longyi Shao, Pingqing Fu, Athanasios Nenes, Zongbo Shi. Air pollution–aerosol interactions produce more bioavailable iron for ocean ecosystems. Science Advances, 2017; 3 (3): e1601749 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601749

What Does Vitamin C Serum Really Do for Your Skin?

There are many skin care ingredients that do amazing things for your face, but they usually target only one or two problems at once. So if, for instance—not that I’m speaking from experience—you’re an ex-smoker with hyperpigmentation and acne-prone skin who doesn’t want to use a million products and spend a million dollars, you have some tough choices to make.

Vitamin C serums have been touted as cure-all products that beauty bloggers love to claim can help almost all common skin concerns—including sun damage, fine lines, acne scars, and under-eye bags. But to find out if a Vitamin C serum really is the magic potion everyone’s claiming, we turned to the experts.

What do Vitamin C serums do—and how?

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, which are generated by our bodies when exposed to certain conditions, including pollution and UV rays. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is important—if the free radicals inundate the body and prevent its ability to regulate them, oxidative stress can occur. Free radicals can negatively impact DNA, lipids, and proteins; cause a variety of diseases; damage our cells and disrupt the skin’s ability to repair itself; and slow down collagen production.

Applying antioxidants like vitamin C can help your body cope with this stress… so what are the resulting benefits?

Anti-Aging Benefits

“Serums with vitamin C also stimulate collagen production, which slows as we age,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and author of the bookSkin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. Collagen is a structural protein that holds cells together, strengthens skin, and gives it elasticity—all of which are important for a healthy, toned complexion. By boosting our skin’s ability to make collagen, a Vitamin C serum helps soften existing fine lines and wrinkles—while preventing new ones from forming.

Fight Against Hyperpigmentation

“Vitamin C serums fight hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme and preventing melanin production,” says Rhonda Q. Klein, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist. The process brightens dark spots without lightening skin tone overall.

Help With Acne and Acne Scarring

Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory, and a vitamin C serum can both help clear up acne and reduce the redness associated with it—as well as improve skin texture. “Due to the pro-collagen and pro-elastin effects of vitamin C, acne scars may also be reduced,” Klein says. If you have acne, make sure to exfoliate before applying the serum for better penetration.

Protection Against Sun Damage

A vitamin C serum may be able to reverse some of the damage your sunbathing days have wreaked on your skin and may even protect you from UV rays. But while a Vitamin C serum is many things, a sunscreen it is not, so please don’t throw away your SPF. However, using a vitamin C serum can diminish the harm of UV rays, so it’s a great component of your daily UV-fighting routine.

Can you layer a vitamin C serum with other skin care products?

“Dermatologists love layering products!” Klein says. “I generally advise going from lowest to highest pH, like using either an alpha or beta hydroxy acid cleanser in the morning followed by the vitamin C serum.”

A vitamin C serum will not lose its potency if applied in an incorrect order, but applying lowest to highest pH when layering skin products will increase absorption—and therefore efficacy, according to Klein. Feel free to add peptides, hyaluronic acids, and B5 after the Vitamin C serum. One exception is products with niacinamide. “Niacinamide turns into niacin when mixed with Vitamin C,” cautions Jaliman. Niacin, although not harmful, can cause short-term skin redness and tingling in people with sensitive skin.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to use your Vitamin C serum after you cleanse and tone, but before you use moisturizer. Take a few drops in the palm of your hand and massage gently into the skin of your face and neck with your fingertips. This can be done once or twice a day.

What should you look for in a vitamin C serum?

“Getting a high level of vitamin C to boost collagen—without bringing on redness and irritation—is the key to vitamin C products,” Klein says. Her recommendation is to use a serum that has between 15 and 30 percent vitamin C. “Vitamin C should be one of the first ingredients listed on the label,” Jaliman adds.

Vitamin C is unstable and will degrade over time, losing its efficacy. Interacting with heat, light, and air speeds up the process, which is why you should look for serums in opaque, airtight bottles.

There are many different derivatives of vitamin C, including ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate—so if one derivative is too irritating, you can always try another. L-ascorbic acid is one popular form of vitamin C, and although it’s more unstable than other forms of vitamin C, it’s also less irritating. Look for vitamin C serums that contain ferulic acid, which helps stabilize the vitamin and creates an ideal pH level.

How do I pick the best vitamin C serum?

Vitamin C serums often contain other skin-saving ingredients—if you have dry or lackluster skin, look for a serum that contains hyaluronic acid, which is incredibly moisturizing. Both Klein and Jaliman rave about the Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum. In addition to hyaluronic acid, the Mad Hippie formula contains ferulic acid (which, as we mentioned, can make Vitamin C more stable) and vitamin E, which has been shown to increase vitamin C’s photoprotective effects.

Another favorite with both doctors and seemingly every beauty blogger out there is the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. As the name suggests, the SkinCeuticals formula also contains ferulic acid and Vitamin E.

Klein is also a fan of the Obagi Professional-C serum. The Obagi serum comes in 3 strengths, 10, 15, or 20 percent, so you can build up your tolerance to a higher percentage of vitamin C. For those looking for even more potency, Revision Vitamin C Lotion 30% has the highest concentration of Vitamin C available.

Masha Vapnitchnaia is a travel and lifestyle writer and researcher. She has been traveling her whole life, taking her first flight at the age of four and taking 100 more since. Follow her pilgrimages at

You probably know that you should be using a Vitamin C serum every day. But do you know why? And are you even using it properly? Here’s a little refresher, plus a list of my favorite top-rated Vitamin C serums.


  • Because Vitamin C helps protect your skin from pollution, ultraviolet light, and free radicals, you’re going to want to use it in the morning rather than in the evening
  • As a rule of thumb, skincare products should typically be applied from “thinnest” to “thickest” in terms of consistency

Step 1: Wash your face.
Step 2: If you’re a toner person, use a toner. (I personally only use toner at night.)
Step 3: Apply Vitamin C serum. Pat any excess product onto the top of your hands, neck, and décolletage.
Step 4: Apply a moisturizer (Yes, your moisturizer should come after your Vitamin C serum — remember the “thinnest to thickest” rule.)
Step 5: Apply your favorite eye cream. (My list of the best anti-aging eye creams is a great resource.)
Step 6: Apply a sunscreen. Let it dry/set.
Step 7: Begin your makeup. (Check out my everyday makeup routine and products here.)

What’s nice about Vitamin C serums is that they can be applied as a base layer underneath whatever products you use in the morning, because they never feel sticky. And as for how often you should apply it? Every. Single. Day.

One other thing to note: if you’re wondering how to use a hyaluronic acid serum and a vitamin C serum together, the answer is—you guessed it!—go from thinnest to thickest. The HA serum I use has a slightly thicker, gel-like consistency, so I apply it after my vitamin C serum and before my moisturizer. It’s completely fine to layer your serums, but make sure to give each one time to try before applying the next.

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  • According to dermatologists, Vitamin C is one of greatest anti-aging ingredients found in nature
  • Short Term Benefits: Immediately after using a product with Vitamin C (like a serum) you’ll notice increased radiance and sheen
  • Long Term Benefits: With consistent use over time, it helps build collagen and increases firmness
  • After just 4-6 weeks, dermatologists say you can expect to see a difference in skin tone and improvement with hyperpigmentation
  • Here’s how one dermatologist (Dr. Mona Gohara) explained it to me: Vitamin C sucks up the free radicals that can lead to aging and skin cancer caused by ultraviolet light. Think of it as ‘Pac-Man’ eating those little pellets
  • Products containing Vitamin C also help protect the skin from the effects of pollution


Maelove The Glow Maker Anti-Oxidant Serum

I haven’t tried this one myself, but my mom bought it after seeing all the hype surrounding it online—and she said it changed her skin. I just spent some time reading a bunch of reviews and I’m now tempted to buy it myself, even though I have more Vitamin C serums than I know what to do with. The founder of the brand went to MIT and developed the product with a team of MIT engineers…so you know it’s legit. BUY NOW

MORE: The Cult-Famous French Lotion That Changed My Skin Forever

I’ve been using this serum for years and it’s the one thing I find myself consistently going back to (unless I’m testing out something new.) Initially I was skeptical because of the price, but after seeing SO MANY PEOPLE talk about how it was the best Vitamin C serum on the market, I obviously had to try it. I think it’s pretty incredible, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who has the money to spend on luxury skincare. BUY NOW

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

I wasn’t familiar with Mad Hippie until I stumbled upon it on Amazon, and after reading all the rave reviews—and cross-checking more reviews from other websites—this one seems like a total winner. It’s a great option for anyone who prefers clean, cruelty-free beauty products. BUY NOW

Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate

Big fan of this concentrate from Kiehl’s—it’s the product I had been using for about a year before I decided to try Skinceuticals. What’s different about this one compared to the others is that it’s a thicker texture, which I kind of liked. Also, I’m convinced it helped reduce my smile lines. BUY NOW

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum

Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum has been long regarded as a favorite in the beauty world, and I absolutely love it. Great for women who have dry skin, because it’s also super hydrating. Another nice thing is that it comes in a $20 mini size, so if you aren’t sure whether you want to commit, I’d go for that one. BUY NOW

Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C Serum

A new favorite of mine is this Vitamin C + tri-peptide serum by Bliss. At just $24.99, the price point can’t be beat, and I love the fact that it has a gel-like consistency that doesn’t leave behind a sticky texture on your skin. It dries super quickly, so you also don’t need to wait before applying your moisturizer and makeup. BUY NOW

Did you guys find this helpful? Are there any other Vitamin C serums you’re using and loving? Let me know in the comments!



10 Benefits of Vitamin C Serum

If you want to look like a 20-something well into your 40’s, do something more than pray that your youthful good genes kick in. Follow the road many a celebrity like Victoria Secret models Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio have taken, and commit to using anti-aging vitamin C serum to help maintain a healthy, youthful complexion long into the future.

Ideal for women of all ages and skin types, the skin care benefits of vitamin C serum are numerous, beginning with the most popular – it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles.

Promotes Collagen Production

The bane of any woman’s existence are fine lines and wrinkles. But rather than give into the abyss of aging, the regular use of vitamin C products can combat their very appearance because of their concentrated levels of antioxidant-rich vitamin C, which helps boost collagen production, filling in fine lines and wrinkles. As a result, you may find that you have more youthful looking skin without the need for any expensive and potentially risky cosmetic work!

Protects Skin From Sun Damage

In addition to its anti-aging benefits, topical vitamin C is also great for protecting your skin from damage—especially from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. That’s because vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it naturally helps to strengthen your skin and repel things that could damage it. Of course, topical vitamin C should not be considered an alternative to wearing sunscreen, but when combined with regular sunscreen application, it can really work wonders for your skin.

Reduces Under-Eye Circles

Vitamin C has also been found to help even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of under-eye circles. This is great for those who are tired of trying to conceal the dark circles under their eyes and want to enjoy a more youthful, bright, and vibrant appearance.

Speeds Up Healing

Studies have also found that high levels of Vitamin C can help to speed up the body’s natural healing processes. This makes it ideal for use on the face and other areas of skin, as it can help to heal small cuts, acne scars, and other blemishes more quickly and effectively.

Reduces Skin Discoloration

If you suffer from skin redness or other discoloration of the skin, then a quality vitamin C serum may also be able to help you achieve a more uniform skin tone and better complexion. Specifically, vitamin C is great for reducing embarrassing redness. With just a few uses, you may find that you have a more even skin tone.

Keeps Skin Looking Younger

No matter what your age, it’s always a good idea to be preemptive about avoiding wrinkles, sagging skin, fine lines, and other signs of aging. Vitamin C can help your skin look younger for longer, not only by stimulating collagen production, but by evening out your skin tone and brightening your complexion as well.

Improves Hydration and Moisture

If you suffer from dry skin, vitamin C is a must. This is especially true if you have tried using moisturizers and cremes in the past, only to find that your skin is still dry and flaky. With topical vitamin C products , you can enjoy the high concentration of vitamins that your body truly needs to improve moisture content and overall hydration.

Creates Brighter, Healthier Skin

In addition to improving your skin’s overall complexion, vitamin C can brighten otherwise dull skin, allowing it to look healthier and more vibrant. Strong concentrations of this vitamin leave the skin looking and feeling replenished and revitalized.

Reduces Inflammation

It has also been found that vitamin C, in high enough concentrations, has inflammation-reducing qualities. This is ideal for people who tend to wake up in the morning with unsightly puffiness around the eyes or other areas of the skin/face. A little bit of vitamin C serum can go a long way here.

Speeds Up Healing of Sunburns

Finally, in addition to protecting your skin from sun damage, vitamin C can also be effective in helping to speed up healing of sunburns. Apply some after you have been sun burned, and the vitamins will help to promote faster healing so you can get rid of redness and find relief from itching, burning, and other symptoms associated with sunburn.

These are just some of the many benefits of vitamin C as it pertains to your skin and face. And while it’s easy to go out and find lotions, cremes, and other moisturizers at your local drug store that claim to contain vitamin C, it’s important to realize that your skin needs a very high concentration of this vitamin in order to see results. This is why you’re encouraged to use concentrated serums rather than a basic creme or lotion.

About Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that the body needs for a number of reasons. However, it proves most beneficial to the skin—particularly around the face. For this reason, many people these days use skin-care products that contain vitamin C, such as concentrated vitamin C serums that are designed for use on sensitive facial skin.

Essentially, vitamin C serum is a oil- and water-based liquid that contained highly concentrated amounts of vitamin C. Serums are different from cremes and other products with vitamin C because of the significantly higher concentrations, which allow people to get the most out of the product and see more noticeable results.

Why Use It?

Many people opt for topical vitamin C as opposed to other chemical serums and skin care products because vitamin C serum is completely natural. There is no concern about how your skin is going to react because there are no harsh chemicals or other questionable ingredients. As a result, vitamin C serums are formulated and infused to be gentle enough for everyday use. The same simply cannot be said of many other skin care products on the market.

How to Use It

The best way to use a topical vitamin C is to simply apply a small amount of it once or twice a day (depending on your skin type) to clean, dry skin. It should be applied before you begin applying your makeup (give it time to dry), but after you use your daily facial toner (should you choose to use one). From there, simply continue with your regular makeup and skin care routindata-trigge.

Check out artnaturals Vitamin C Serum Here.

Should You Use a Vitamin C Serum?

Finding the right skin care products is largely a matter of trial and error, both because everyone’s skin care needs can be different and because companies tend to make a lot of promises, promises you can’t always bank on. Serums and solutions containing vitamin C are just one group of such products — where slick marketing can make it difficult to know just how effective of a product you’re getting.

To get straight to the point: The science of skin care products is rarely as exciting as the promises. Most manufacturers won’t share the studies behind their products. The science just isn’t sexy. Rarely are the ingredients found in these products unequivocally proven to do anything. Generally, a handful of studies, designed flimsily and conducted on a small number of subjects (usually rats), are shown as proof. But it’s hardly that.

When it comes to vitamin C and your skin, there are some things we do know —many of them promising — but some we are only beginning to understand.

What’s certain: Your skin needs vitamin C to look it’s best, but it can generally get this from the foods you eat.

What’s uncertain: Whether adding vitamin C to your diet or to your skincare routine actually makes your skin healthier or look better. Let’s look at the details:

What you need to know:

  • Vitamin C is essential to your health and because your body doesn’t produce it, you must obtain it through your diet or supplementation.
  • There is evidence vitamin C plays important roles in skin health — including in wound healing, hydration, and collagen production.
  • There is no hard proof that either vitamin C supplementation or topical application can improve skin condition or reduce the signs of aging in men with healthy levels of vitamin C.
  • Evidence suggests the dermatologic benefits seen from vitamin C supplements and applications are found in those who are vitamin C deficient.
  • You could be deficient — it’s estimated 7% of the U.S. population is, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

What is Vitamin C

You may know vitamin C as the stuff in citrus fruits or a good go-to when you feel the onset of a cold, but vitamin C is found in many foods and is crucial in many of your body’s functions.

Your body requires vitamin C to form things like muscle, collagen, cartilage, and blood vessels. You know, important stuff should you value movement, that skin bag you walk around in, and, well, life. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which means it protects your body against damage by pollutants and the sun and may be effective in protecting you against those life-ending biggies: cancer and heart disease.

Your body does not make vitamin C, so you must get it through your diet or supplementation. It’s found in dark green and cruciferous vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts. You can also find it in high concentrations in citrus fruits, peppers, tomatoes, berries and potatoes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Vitamin C and Skin Health

As with most human tissues, the skin contains high levels of vitamin C. It arrives there through the bloodstream. When blood levels of vitamin C are low, as in the case of deficiency, skin levels are likely to be low as well.

Vitamin C is believed to perform several roles in your skin, including:

  • Acting as an antioxidant to limit the damage caused by the sun’s rays. However, this does not mean vitamin C acts as a sunscreen. Instead, it protects the skin against damage by free radicals triggered by UV rays.
  • Regulating synthesis of collagen, a protein that gives your skin strength and elasticity. Collagen production declines with age and skin damage.
  • Maintaining hydration. Some evidence suggests vitamin C protects against moisture loss. Wrinkling and other signs of aging are directly related to loss of moisture in the skin.

Various factors can reduce your skin’s vitamin C content, including aging, sun damage and exposure to pollutants like smoking.

The Evidence

  • A 2017 analysis in the journal Nutrients looks at existing literature on vitamin C in skin health. In particular, the researchers compare research on dietary vitamin C versus topical vitamin C. They found that supplementing can increase the levels of vitamin C in the blood and positively affect vitamin C in the skin, but only to a certain extent. “Dietary supplementation is therefore only expected to be effective in elevating vitamin C in individuals who have below saturation plasma levels prior to intervention,” the researchers write. In other words, only those people who are vitamin C deficient will see positive effects on their skin by supplementing with the vitamin.
  • The same Nutrients paper looked at research regarding topical application of vitamin C and found a few observations worth noting. First, the researchers say, vitamin C can only be absorbed by the skin in the form of ascorbic acid (just one of the many types of vitamin C), according to existing studies. And that isn’t enough — the ascorbic acid formula must be stable enough to resist oxidation (damage from oxygen) and still overcome challenges of skin penetration. Further, the researchers write, “if plasma (blood) levels are saturated, then it appears that topical application does not increase vitamin C content.”
  • A 2015 study published in the journal, Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found applying topical Vitamin C serum resulted in a thicker epidermis through collagen synthesis. Participants applies 1mL of a 5% vitamin C solution once per day. In the study group of 60 caucasian women, the most dramatic results were seen in those between the ages of 20 and 35, and after a full 60 days of treatment. Though the women in the study did abstain from using additional anti-aging products, they did apply a basic moisturizer daily.
  • A 2002 study published in the journal Dermatological Surgery had subjects apply a vitamin C gel to one side of their face, and a placebo to the other. After 12 weeks, a statistically significant improvement was seen in wrinkling on the vitamin C side of the face. The double-blind study included only 10 subjects.
  • Significant research has indicated vitamin C supplementation and/or topical application can have positive effects on wound healing. Inflammation and collagen production at wound sites are affected by vitamin C, both orally and topically. However, as with other vitamin C research, just how dramatic these effects are may be related to a person’s vitamin C intake to begin with.

Are You Getting Enough?

There’s a chance you’re not getting enough vitamin C in your diet or you have other factors that make you predisposed to deficiency. People with certain types of cancer or digestive problems may be more prone to deficiency. Also, those with severe burns or injuries, thyroid conditions, or smokers may have lower vitamin C levels.

It’s recommended men get 90 milligrams of the vitamin each day through diet or supplementation. For men with poor diets, deficiency is not uncommon. The 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found 7% of Americans are vitamin C deficient and even more lack sufficient levels of the vitamin.

Signs of vitamin C deficiency — known as scurvy in extreme cases — include:

  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding gums
  • Infections
  • Poor wound healing
  • Bruising
  • Joint pain

The Bottomline on Vitamin C for Skin Care

Vitamin C plays many important roles in your skin’s health, including keeping it looking young. A Vitamin C serum may assist in locking in hydration and reducing wrinkles through increased collagen. However — and this is a big one — there is little evidence that topical or supplemental vitamin C will have any positive dermatologic effects on the skin of someone who has adequate vitamin C.

Could you be deficient in vitamin C? It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility. Many people are. If you have reason to suspect you don’t have enough vitamin C, you could try supplementation and/or topical vitamin C to help bolster your skin’s health. However, if you have signs of severe deficiency, you need to see a doctor.



There are so many Vitamin C serum benefits that it would come as no surprise that they have become an incredibly popular cosmetic product.

If you know anything about me, then you probably know that I literally cannot live without it for my day and night beauty routine. (No, I am not addicted…. ok, ok I admit I am a little….)

You’ve probably seen several skincare fads in your time, and even bought some of your own only to never use them again. These vitamin C serums, however, are unlikely to be the kind of products that you use once and push to the side. This is mostly down to the amazing job this antioxidant product does for your skin. It works just how the reviews say it does.

Vitamin C has built a unique reputation for itself. It’s considered to be one of the best anti-aging products by skincare experts across the world. It is recognised for having a range of benefits including evening the tone of your skin, shielding skin from the damage caused by pollution, hydrating skin, and keeping it looking youthful and healthy for longer. Check our complete guide about the best vitamin C serums here.

The good thing about vitamin C is that it is not only for women of a certain age, it can be and should be used by women or men of all ages and skin types.

Vitamin C Serums VERSUS Vitamin C Creams

You should understand that facial serums and facial moisturisers are not the same thing. Many cosmetic skincare brands offer both serums and creams.

Serums are lighter and thinner than moisturisers. They are applied to the face between cleansing and moisturising. Serums typically have specific functions, such as protecting from free radicals and reducing the signs of aging. They are designed and formulated to penetrate deep into the layers of your skin, while moisturisers work more on the superficial surface tissue.

The most important thing about serums is that they have more active ingredients compared to day and night creams that ensure you have noticeable results.

That is why if I had to choose between a vitamin C serum or a vitamin C cream: it is a no brainer, I would pick the serum and I know I’m not the only one.

Did you know that vitamin C is 20 as effective when applied topically over when taken orally? Topically applying vitamin C is a scientifically proven way to fight the signs of aging and keep signs of aging at bay.

A facial serum with vitamin C offers the most benefit for topically applying this vitamin. Vitamin C can penetrate deep into the skin to stimulate the production of collagen and protect skin from environmental factors such as pollution and ultraviolet rays.

Quick tip: If you’re looking to increase penetration for any active ingredients of skincare products, you should regularly exfoliate skin to remove dead skin cells that are preventing penetration. Exfoliation boosts nutrient absorption.

This means that you get the absolute most out of your skin serum and save money by saving serum. Exfoliate your skin regularly to ensure as much serum as possible is absorbed deep into the skin. That is why I regularly exfoliate my skin with microdermabrasion, which is one of the best antiaging tools: check our detailed reviews of the best microdermabrasion machines for home use here.

Vitamin C Serum benefits or Vitamin C cream benefits

You are probably wondering what you can expect from a good vitamin C serum; just what about these serums keep skin care experts, aestheticians, and dermatologists alike consistently recommending them?

What are those fantastic vitamin C serum benefits? Why should you be applying vitamin C serum to your own skin?

Before going on, please note that the vitamin C cream benefits will be roughly the same, except those mentionned earlier (lower penetration, less easy to combine with other products, thicker and less easy to apply … )

Ok, Let’s just get right down to it and look at the benefits of vitamin C serum.

Benefit 1: Enhances collagen Production to Keep Skin Young and Firm

The main benefit of Vitamin C is that it stimulates the production of skin collagen by stimulating fibroblast activity. Fibroblast is the most common cell that produces collagen, so stimulating it increases the amount of collagen produced in skin.

Keep in mind:

  • Collagen is the most abundant form of protein in the body. Almost 70% of the proteins in your skin is collagen. Collagen is naturally produced by the body and is responsible for keeping your skin plump and young!
  • By the time you reach your late 20s, the amount of collagen in your body starts to diminish. By the time you reach your 70 – 80s, you’re going to have around four times less collagen, which is why skin sags and wrinkles as you age.
  • Collagen production can be affected by environmental factors such as pollution and your lifestyle choices, which can diminish the elasticity of your skin.

Clinical studies have shown that topically applying vitamin C can increase collagen production in young skin as well as aged skin. So it’s never too early – or indeed too late – to begin using vitamin C serums.

This means that it is possible to stimulate collagen production and have it fill in the fine lines and wrinkles on your skin. This means you can really get younger and firmer skin without having to get expensive – not to mention risky – cosmetic surgery.

Check our complete guide about the best vitamin C serums here

Benefit 2: Prevents Stretch Marks

We’ve seen that vitamin C helps stimulate collagen production. Collagen is needed to keep skin looking young, healthy, and firm. It also helps keep skin flexible, which prevents stretch marks caused by gaining – and losing – weight and pregnancy.

Collagen is produced in the middle layers of the skin. If the skin is stretched too much without any flexibility, it causes the middle skin layers to scar. The scars appear on the top layers of the skin and form stretch marks. Much like rubber bands, skin tears if it stretches too much.

Collagen is important because it enhances the stretching ability of your skin. With enough collagen, it means your skin is less likely to snap, which makes your skin look firmer and stronger. This benefit is best when applying the vitamin topically as it allows it to be absorbed directly.

How much collagen your body naturally produces declines as you get older, which is why stretch marks are one of the signs of aging.

Keeping the amount of vitamin C you have up allows you to fight this decline in collagen production. This leaves you with firmer, more flexible skin as you age without having to use expensive creams and oils.

Just to make sure you get our message right: it is to prevent stretch marks, not to remove them. Stretch marks are one of the cases where prevention is better than the cure!

Benefit 3: Protects Skin from Sun Damage

In order to properly understand how applying vitamin C topically to your skin can prevent sun damage, you must first understand how free radicals and antioxidants interact in the body.

  • Free radicals are a kind of molecule created during the metabolism of oxygen to create energy at the cellular level. One electron is taken from the oxygen molecule, which turns it into a dangerous free radical.
  • The formation of free radicals can also be augmented by the UV radiation of sunlight.
  • Free radicals will roam the body looking for an electron they can use to achieve balance. They will sometimes steal electrons from other healthy cells, and this is considered to be the root cause for a range of health problems from plain old aging to deadly cancer.
  • Antioxidants can protect healthy cells by offering a electron to a free radical, making them harmless

So, how is it that vitamin C can help protect from the sun?

Well, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, so applying it topically to your skin has been shown to protect it from the UV damage of prolonged exposure to the sun by neutralizing free radicals, reducing the formation of free radicals and the spread of sunburn, causing less age spots and sun spots along the way.

UV exposure also decreases the levels of naturally occurring vitamin C in the skin; so applying it topically keeps vitamin C levels normal.

A word of caution: while vitamin C does offer sun protection benefits, it should not be considered an alternative to sunscreen, whether in serum or cream form. You should still apply a moisturiser with SPF or an SPF lotion on a regular basis.

This is why I strongly suggest using a vitamin C serum underneath your usual sunscreen to give yourself a powerful combination to keep skin fresh and young for longer. Studies have also shown that skin is less red, dry, and swollen when vitamin C serums are used before sun exposure.

Check our complete guide about the best vitamin C serums here

Benefit 4: Slows Down the Aging Process

Now that you’re aware of the damage free radicals can do, what if I did not tell you the whole story?

Exposure to sunlight causes free radicals to form, but there are other external factors that can stimulate their production including emotional stress (yep), smoking (yep), and pollution.

Those free radicals belong to one family of free radicals called the Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and they happen to be the most harmful form of free radicals.

So people are exposed to ROS through the air they breathe (oxygen), UV sunlight, cigarette smoke, smog, and stress. ROS attacks every kind of cell there is in a process known as oxidative stress. They mutate DNA, damage the dermis layer of skin, destroy its natural moisture barrier, cause inflammation…ok in other words, it cause wrinkles, rough skin, and brown spots.

That is why applying skincare products that are rich in antioxidants – such as vitamin C reduces the damage caused by oxidative stress and slows down the aging process.

Note that using a vitamin C is great, but if you add in your diet, fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, this will even be more effective at preventing aging and keeping your youthful good looks for longer.

Benefit 5: Helps Prevent Skin Glycation or Skin Hardening

You’re likely wondering what skin glycation is. It’s a spontaneous reaction between sugars – such as glucose and fructose – and proteins such as collagen residing in the skin. The process creates glycation end products – known as AGES – that damage collagen molecules, causing stiffer and brittle collagen. This causes the skin to harden, making it less supple and more susceptible to wrinkling and sagging.

There are a number of mechanisms that contribute to the glycation process, including our old friends the free radicals. This time they come from the family Reactive Carbonyl Species (RCS).

RCS is a carbon-based free radical that is created by eating too many carbohydrates and drinking too much alcohol. They are known to cause glycation, which is when skin proteins – such as collagen and elastin – are coated in a sugar-like substance. This hardens them and makes them inflexible, causing skin to lose tone (sagging), fine lines, and wrinkles.

A serum rich in vitamin C is able to protect skin collagen by neutralizing glycation before it can become an issue and prevent accelerated aging.

If you need an example to help understanding how free radical neutralisation works, then we’ll have to talk about food for a minute.

Apples are one of the best visual examples of oxidation. You might have heard that it’s good to add lemon juice to apple slices.

What do you think would happen if you only applied the lemon juice to some apples and left them for 20 minutes?

You would see that there is a big difference between the treated and untreated apple slices as the untreated ones will have begun to brown. This brown coloring is caused by oxidative damage. Lemon juice is, of course, a rich source of vitamin C.

This example shows how topically applying vitamin C can prevent oxidative damage and reduce the visible appearance of skin damage.

You’re likely wondering why you shouldn’t just apply lemon juice to your face. This is something that you should not do because it causes irritation and dryness over time. Pure lemon juice also lacks the stability and delivery system of properly formulated skin care serums, meaning that it wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

Check our complete guide about the best vitamin C serums here

Benefit 6: Hydrates and Moisturises Dry Skin

© Sofia_Zhuravets

It’s already known that orally consuming vitamin C can improve dry skin. One study showed that vitamin C decreased skin roughness in humans. It could have something to do with the collagen-boosting effects of vitamin C, which improves the overall appearance of the skin and making it better able to stay hydrated and hold on to moisture.

My own dry skin has improved quite a lot after using vitamin C serums; it’s much smoother.

However, I should say that my skin didn’t improve immediately. There were times I thought it was actually getting worse before I saw results in the 3rd week.

I used another cream after applying vitamin C serum to combat the temporary dryness. If you plan on doing this, then wait at least 5 minutes between applications so your skin can absorb the serum.

Benefit 7: Helps Fade Brown Spots to Leave Skin And Complexion Brighter

Applying vitamin C topically can remove sunspots and brown spots. It works by preventing overproduction of the pigment melanin. Vitamin C disrupts melanin production to improve skin colour. It can actually decrease how much pigment is produced by melanocyte skin cells that cause too much pigment.

The reason for this brightening effect is that vitamin C inhibits tyrosinase; an enzyme needed to produce skin pigment. Therefore skin discolouration caused by sunspots and age spots can be reduced by inhibiting this function.

Continued use of vitamin C serums will lighten these brown spots known as hyperpigmentation.

The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology published evidence showing how applying vitamin C topically can treat age spots caused by overexposure. The study was published in 2002 and it involved using a 24% solution of vitamin C (L-Ascorbic acid) to show the effects of skin treatment. Only 20 people were involved in the study, 16 of which who showed a 2-3 grade improvement in pigmentation, fine wrinkle lines, and surface roughness. Researchers concluded topically applying vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid) is a safe and effective treatment for age spots.

Another study from the 2011 Journal of Cosmetology and Dermatology – a randomized controlled study – was published to evaluate how effective ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and phtic acid were at depigmenting age spots – known as solar lentigines. Researchers discovered that the treatment was effective and came with very few side effects.

This means vitamin C is able to lighten existing age spots while also helping prevent new ones from forming, improving the overall complexion of your skin, brightening your skin, and making it look its best.

Of course, the only way to achieve the best results with vitamin C serums are by being consistent. You should apply your vitamin C serum daily – preferably both in the morning and the evening – for best results.

If you also avoid the UV rays that stimulate pigment production in the first place, or use an effective sunscreen, you are on the right track to get the pure and clean skin you’ve always dreamed of. Great skin also requires less makeup, which saves you money in the process.

Check our complete guide about the best vitamin C serums here

Benefit 8: Reduces Inflammation, Redness, and Protect Capillaries

It has been shown that vitamin C – if used in high enough concentrations – is able to reduce inflammation. If you have sensitive skin that seems to get angry a lot, then you’re probably keenly aware of inflammation.

There is a wide range of things that cause inflammation, but the result is usually the same: flushed, red, itchy skin. Inflamed skin can feel as bad as it looks, and it looks like your face is on fire.

There is some good news however, in that vitamin C serum puts out this facial fire. It has anti-inflammatory benefits that enable it to help with even advanced inflammation causes such as rosacea and acne scars.

Indeed, studies show that vitamin C is able to strengthen blood vessels and improves the damage done to red skin prone to damaged capillaries. Vitamin C reduces the appearance of dilated blood vessels in skin, a condition known as broken capillaries. Continued topical use of vitamin C should offer up some noticeable results in no time.

Vitamin C is also able to fight against yet another family of free radicals (ok last one haha); this one known as Reactive Nitrogen Species (RNS). RNS is a nitrogen-based free radical typically found in the environment, such as in woods, parks, farmlands, and gardens. It is released by nitrogen-rich fertilisers, car exhausts, and the “exhalations” of trees. RNS is responsible for inflaming the skin, but it can be neutralised by antioxydants such as vitamin C to prevent skin inflammation. (I told you vitamin C is a superstar active ingredient…)

Benefit 9: Speeds up Sunburn Healing

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What is a sunburn? A sunburn is basically a response to extensive UV damage. Any colouration of the skin, including tans, is a direct response to UV exposure. Sunburns are red because of the extra blood from your capillaries, which is why they turn white when pressed only to turn red again as capillaries fill back up.

The redness is also a sign that UV radiation – radiation from both natural and artificial sunlight (tanning beds) – has damaged the DNA of your skin cells. It doesn’t even take a severe sunburn to cause skin damage. Any level of damage can cause skin cancer; the most common form of cancer in the United States.

If you can remember back to what we said about vitamin C and sun damage, you’ll remember that vitamin C serum is able to prevent sunburn and protect the skin. However, is there anything that can be done if you get a sunburn?

Well, you could use vitamin C because it is very beneficial even to post-sun damage. Vitamin C is able to decrease the damage done to the skin and the redness left behind. This speeds up the overall healing process.

I have my own personal trick for soothing and removing sunburns.

I start by applying vitamin C and then I apply pure aloe vera gel as well. I repeat this process once every 30 minutes for 2 hours, then I only apply the aloe vera gel every hour until the redness is gone. Afterwards I moisturise my skin using a regular moisturiser. This process is great for treating sunburns. I notice that it can take much longer to treat sunburn if I don’t use the serum.

My tip here is to store some aloe vera gel in your fridge to give it an extra calming and cooling effect and increase its effectiveness. Remember that you should use only a high quality aloe vera gel. Avoid the synthetic stuff. Our favorite aloe vera brand is here on Amazon ( cost effective and natural )

Benefit 10: Fades Hyperpigmentation and Acne Scars

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Given all the other vitamin C serum benefits so far, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that it can treat acne scars in three ways:

  • Vitamin C lightens pigmentation and evens out skin tone by reducing melanin production, which improves discoloured areas left behind following an inflammatory breakout. It also evens out pimples.
  • Vitamin C fills in indented acne scars by boosting collagen production and smoothing skin.
  • Vitamin C can reduce redness and inflammation from acne caused with oily skin predisposed to pimples.

However, don’t forget that you should not rely on just vitamin C. you can check our post about our favourite vitamin C serum for acne. But keep in mind it is also recommended that you follow a great acne treatment and exfoliate your skin regularly to improve it and banish acne in the long-run. Check our reviews of the best acne treatments here. Battling acne is one of those long-term things that feels like it never ends.

Now that you know the vitamin C serum for face benefits, you understand why I have become so enamoured with vitamin C serums. It’s by far one of the most powerful skincare and beauty products on the market for keeping your skin looking as young as possible for as long as possible.

Tips for using Vitamins C serums

  • Always make sure your vitamin C serum colour has not turned brownish as it would mean your serum is oxydized and useless. Don’t use it on your face.
  • To make the most out of your vit C serum, use it after your regular skin exfoliation so to maximize its skin penetration. ( don’t let the dead skin cells be in the way)
  • Wait at least for 2- 5 minutes after applying your serum so to let it penetrate before applying your day cream or night cream.

References and sources:


  • Vitamin C boasts many powerful anti-aging, collagen-boosting, UV-protecting skin care benefits.
  • Topical application of Vitamin C serum brightens and evens skin tone, corrects hyperpigmentation, enhances elasticity and hydrates the skin.
  • These skin care products are very safe, with minimal side effects.

Vitamin C serum, touted as a magic skin care cure-all, is a powerful anti-aging tool worth including in any dedicated skin care regimen.

Naturally acidic, vitamin C serums work to cast off dead skin cells, leaving skin smoother, brighter and noticeably rejuvenated. Additionally, they speed up the regeneration of healthy skin cells.


The Role of Vitamin C in Skin Care

When applied topically, vitamin C facilitates the skin’s healing process by reversing the depletion of collagen and elastin that commonly occurs as a result of aging.

Collagen and elastin are proteins that maintain an appearance of plumpness and prevent sagging, for an overall more refreshed and youthful look.

Vitamin C and your skin type

Topical vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can be beneficial in addressing a variety of common skin concerns. There are many different types, from pure vitamin C serum to combination formulas. Some are better suited to certain skin types or conditions than others.

L-ascorbic acid (LAA) is a highly effective active ingredient in many popular vitamin C serums. It is appropriate for both normal and oily skin types and is likely your best choice for a serum with strong antioxidant benefits. It is capable of improving skin tone, hydration and firmness, as well as reducing hyperpigmentation.

However, it is less stable than other forms of vitamin C and can cause skin irritation in high doses due to its low pH, which makes it more acidic. While concentration of at least 10% LAA is typically recommended, some products have higher concentrations from 15–20% as well.

Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) is a more stable form of vitamin C and is considered an effective treatment for acne-prone skin.

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP)—another stable derivative of vitamin C—works best at a neutral pH, meaning that it is less acidic than LAA, and a strong choice for dry or sensitive skin types.

Additionally, there are many different vitamin C combination serums on the market, including the following:

  • Hyaluronic acid has the unique ability to retain skin’s moisture, making it ideal for dry skin, while having a plumping and smoothing effect as well. Studies show a significant improvement in wrinkles, skin texture and elasticity, without any notable adverse effects when hyaluronic acid is used in conjunction with vitamin C.
  • Some vitamin C serums combine additional antioxidants and boosters such as vitamin E and ferulic acid.

What Is a Vitamin C Serum?

A serum is a commonly available skin care product, typically with a thin, smooth or silky texture; vitamin C has become a key ingredient in many cutting-edge serums. Although sometimes compared with moisturizers, there are however, key differences between the two.

Serums usually contain a higher concentration of ingredients to better penetrate the skin and are able to directly hone in on skin care concerns.

How to use vitamin C serums

Vitamin C serum is powerful and should be applied sparsely. Typically, you’ll want to apply no more than a few drops, just after washing your face.

When it comes to deciding the appropriate time in your routine for applying your chosen vitamin C serum, much depends on which serum you have chosen.

Since there are many types of vitamin C serums available and many with differing indications, there is no set rule for proper application. Generally, however, it’s best to apply skin care products in order of the thinnest to thickest consistency.

Thinner water-based LAA serums, for example, should be used sooner in your skin care routine, such as right after washing, whereas thicker water-free LAA serums should be used later, before or after moisturizing.

SAP, MAP or any other stable vitamin C derivatives can be used mid-routine—after the application of toner, for example—but again, it largely depends on the consistency of your chosen serum.

Benefits of Vitamin C Serums for Your Skin


Vitamin C serums work to fade hyperpigmentation and brown or dark spots on the surface of the skin, inhibiting melanin production for a more even and brighter skin tone.

Collagen production

Both aging and damage caused by the sun’s rays trigger the loss of collagen, which in turn leads to wrinkles and drooping skin. Vitamin C works to boost your skin’s collagen production for smoother, firmer, plumper-looking skin, and a reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It has even shown promise for fading dark circles around the eyes.

Fights free radical damage and signs of aging

The antioxidant properties of vitamin C help to neutralize potentially carcinogenic free radicals, including reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are formed when skin is exposed to UV radiation.

The bonus: an overall more youthful appearance, thanks to the anti-aging properties that accompany vitamin C’s free radical fighting abilities. Vitamin C serum can also effectively fade age spots.

Skin repair

Vitamin C serum works to promote skin health by repairing damage and collagen loss already caused by exposure to the sun or by the natural aging process. Vitamin C works to facilitate healthy cell turnover, and some research has shown it can also help fade acne scars.

Helps protect the skin against sun damage

Additionally, vitamin C serums can provide a layer of added sun protection—in addition to sunscreen—by thickening the skin’s dermis layer, thus helping shield it from damaging ultraviolet rays which cause unsightly sun spots.

” In addition to serums, Vitamin C can be added to facial cleansers. Learn more about the benefits of using a cleanser infused with Vitamin C.

Vitamin C Serums Side Effects

Reactions to vitamin C serum can occasionally occur for those with allergies or sensitive skin. These may include skin irritations such as redness or tingling. If you have dry or sensitive skin, forego the LAA and chose the MAP, which is a gentler alternative.

Regardless of what type of vitamin C serum you choose, always do a patch test first to observe how your skin reacts before including it within your skin care routine.

Do Vitamin C Serums Cause Acne?

While many tout vitamin C serum as a pure and effective treatment for acne-prone skin, others have wondered if it may in fact be a cause of acne. Interestingly, the key to these concerns boils down to the potent antioxidant effects of vitamin C.

Although antioxidants help protect the skin against free radical damage, some research suggests that small amounts of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) are good for us. Some evidence suggests that ROS have antimicrobial effects. In theory, this could mean that ROS may actually help to prevent acne by halting the overgrowth of bacteria. However, this research is limited at best.

How to pick a vitamin C serum for acne-prone skin

LAA vitamin C serum, although known for its effectiveness, is unstable due to its relatively low pH and high acidity level, which causes it to lose potency more quickly, and may increase the chances of irritation for some users. As previously mentioned however, SAP is a more stable form of vitamin C and is considered a more effective treatment for acne prone skin.

Additionally, since a concentration of vitamin C over 20% has not been shown to be more effective, it may serve to increase irritation. Lower concentrations may be more effective at treating inflammatory skin conditions such as acne. The best vitamin C serums for you will depend on your unique skin type and vitamin C product preference.


Vitamin C serums are available in many concentrations. They are formulated with a variety of additional ingredients capable of treating a wide range of skin conditions hyperpigmentation, signs of aging and UV ray sun damage, among many others.

The application of vitamin C serum stimulates the natural replenishment of collagen and elastin to help skin appear brighter, firmer and more youthful. It also works to neutralize free radicals and even fights acne.

Given the many types of vitamin C serums on the market, choosing one with your specific skin type and needs is your skin’s best guarantee of reaping all the powerful benefits of vitamin C.


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