Considerations By Skin Type
safe to use for most skin types, but its still a good idea to do a patch test before applying serum all over your face.
To do this, apply a small amount of product on the inside of your wrist. Wait 24 hours for any signs of irritation before using broadly.
If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition, like rosacea, you might want to stick to serums with lower concentrations of vitamin C. Thats because concentrations higher than may cause irritation.
For oily or acne-prone skin, look for serums labeled noncomedogenic so they wont clog your pores.
If your skin tends to be on the dryer side, look for serums with hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid.
What Should You Look For In A Vitamin C Serum
There are numerous vitamin C serums to pick so if you think you might benefit from using a vitamin C serum for your face, there are a few things to note.
First, think about the concentration of vitamin you might need. If your pigmentation issues are mild or you have dry or sensitive skin, definitely start at the lower end, around 5%, because vitamin C products can be irritating at higher concentrations. But if your issues are more moderate to severe or youve been using vitamin C products for a while without any sensitivity problems, you can go all the way up to 20%. However, the effects youll get from vitamin C products plateau after 20%, so theres no reason to pay more for anything above that concentration. Unfortunately, not all companies clearly label how much vitamin C their products contain.
Finally, pay attention to how the product is designed and stored. Because vitamin C is such a temperamental ingredient, opt for products that come in dark or opaque packaging that will block light. If a product also utilizes an airless pump rather than a dropper, thats a plus because it will prevent it from being exposed to oxygen.
Premium 20% Vitamin C Serum For Face With Hyaluronic Acid Retinol & Amino Acids
- Plant Based Formulation – Free of synthetic color additives, fragrance, and stabilizers, dynamic active botanicals like Aloe Vera, Witchhazel, Botanical Hyaluronic Acid, Witch Hazel and organic Jojoba oil combine in a silky smooth serum that can be used day or night.
- Anti-Aging Vitamin C Serum For Face – As you grow older, the skin loses its vitality, leaving it dull, dry and dehydrated. Vitamin C Serum contains Hyaluronic Acid and botanical blend that helps fight against wrinkles and spots. Including Vitamin C Serum in your daily skin care, helps add moisture on face and skin, nourishes the skin and helps to retain its natural glow.
- Stimulate Collagen Formation – Vitamin C is responsible for collagen production. Boosting your skin and body with Vitamin C Serum will enhance the natural formation of collagen that is the number one component for connecting tissues for skin health. No oily residue left behind. Absorbs quickly without a heavy, greasy or sticky feel.
- Advanced Antioxidant Serum – An indispensable nutrient for collagen production, vitamin C blends with Botanical Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E, designed to target the most common signs of aging, including firmness, fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots & sun spots.
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Best For Fine Lines: Kiehl’s Powerful
Potent blend of vitamin C and Cg
Hyaluronic acid and delivers lightweight moisture and plumps skin
Scoring a 4.5 out of 5 overall score from our at-home tester, this serum delivers noticeable results when it comes to reducing the appearance of fine lines. In addition to pure vitamin C, the formula contains vitamin Cg, scorbyl glucoside and hyaluronic acid to add volume and plump fine lines.
Benefits: Plumping, smoothing, radiance-boosting, hydrating | Skin Type: Mature, balanced, dry, combination, oily | Dosage: A few drops daily | Size: 1.7 ounces or 3.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | No
Price at time of publish: $60
How Vitamin C Serum Works
To understand how vitamin C works, you first have to understand free radicals. These natural molecules arent bad on their own, but they can become a problem when they build up. In high numbers, they can break cells down over time, contributing to illness and aging.
Antioxidants help fight free radicals, though, keeping everything in balance. Vitamin C is one such antioxidant.
- protect your skin from sun damage
If youre interested in trying vitamin C serum but arent sure how to pick one, dont worry. We rounded up 10 great options for you.
In selecting our top vitamin C serums picks, we looked at:
- Price. We included a range of options to suit many budgets.
- Customer reviews. We looked for serums highly rated by online reviewers.
- Potency. Each product contains at least 10 percent vitamin C.
- Packaging. Vitamin C serum should be packaged in opaque packaging. Otherwise, it can break down when exposed to light, causing it to be less effective.
Its worth keeping in mind that there are different types of vitamin C, and not all of them are equally effective.
We mostly chose products made with:
- L-ascorbic acid
- Key ingredients: glycolic acid, vitamin C
- Key features: cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free
- Skin type: oily or combination skin
Why we love it: Vitamin C can be a little unstable, breaking down easily when exposed to light, air, or water. Murad uses gold to stabilize the vitamin C in this serum, which the brand says results in a stronger product.
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What Does A Vitamin C Serum Do To The Face
After using the best Vitamin C serums, you’ll notice your face looking brighter. It’s also one of the best hyperpigmentation treatments that you can safely do at home. How does all of this brightening, protecting magic work exactly?
Skincare expert Fiona Brackenbury explains, “Vitamin C is an antioxidant powerhouse that prevents cellular damage from UV rays and pollution, which are the top two most damaging elements which our skin comes into contact with daily.”
She continues, “If that wasnt enough to make you reach for a vitamin C serum, it’s also essential for collagen production. We lose 1.5% a year after the age of 30 and this reduction speeds up during menopause where we can lose a whopping 30% of our collagen.”
How Should You Incorporate Vitamin C Into Your Skin
Sara Hogan, M.D., a dermatologist at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, previously told SELF that the right time to add vitamin C into your skin-care routine depends on what kind of product it is. As far as serums are concerned, theyre best applied directly after cleansing your skin but before moisturizing it.
Since vitamin C is available in a number of concentrationsfrom below 5% up to 30%its important to choose yours wisely depending on your skin type. Dr. Hogan suggested those with dry or sensitive skin stick to lower concentrations, which are usually less irritating, as we mentioned above. Oily skin types, or those who deal with extensive pigmentation issues, can likely handle higher serum intensities to improve tone and texture.
If you use retinol or benzoyl peroxide on a regular basis, dermatologists advise steering clear of using a vitamin C serum at the same time, as the combination can cause it to lose potency. Since its more effective to use vitamin C in the morningit becomes unstable once the ingredient is exposed to light, and thats when UV radiation is at its highestprofessionals recommend using benzoyl peroxide and retinol at night, or on different days of the week for the best results. And if youre wondering about the effects of using a vitamin C serum along with a different active ingredient you rely on in your skin-care routine, be sure to do some research into whether it makes sense to combine them before you dive in.
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The Best Vitamin C Serums For Sensitive Skin
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Vitamin C is one of the best ingredients to brighten your skin in a world where we are constantly overwhelmed with new miracle ingredients and products. It’s a potent antioxidant that prevents free radicals from breaking down collagen and elastin, giving you a youthful appearance. It also has brightening properties to fade hyperpigmentation, and gives you a more even skin tone, per Healthline.
There are many types of vitamin C products, including serums, on the market. You might have heard of L-ascorbic acid, which is considered the most well-researched and most effective form of vitamin C. However, it may cause irritation on sensitive skin . “If you’re sensitive, it’s best to start with a concentration of 8 to 10% and increase if needed,” Dr. Marisa Garshick, a New York City-based dermatologist, told Who What Wear.
That doesn’t mean that, if you have sensitive skin, you can’t use vitamin C serums. It means that you might benefit from using more stable forms of vitamin C, such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate , as shared by New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss in a video posted to her YouTube channel. According to Dr. Idriss, SAP is more stable, penetrates skin better, and can be less irritating on sensitive skin. It may be sad to say goodbye to your previous favorite vitamin C serum, but have no fear. We’ve found the best serums for sensitive skin.
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Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.
The 10 Very Best Vitamin-C Serums. The Strategist. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-vitamin-c-serums.html
27 of the Best Vitamin C Serums for Brighter, More Glowing Skin. Self. https://www.self.com/gallery/best-vitamin-c-serum
The 20 Best Vitamin C Serums of 2022 for Glowing Skin. . https://www.byrdie.com/best-brightening-vitamin-c-serums-4165773
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Choose Wisely: Use Your Vitamin C At The Right Point Of Your Skincare Routine
Your best bet is a vitamin C serum you can apply in the morning before heading out for the day. Youll reap the most protective benefits this way, and a serum works best in going deep into your skin to deposit vitamin Cs powerful properties. Choose a well-formulated serum, perhaps one combined with vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, or ferulic acid ingredients that help amp up the positive effects even more.9
Also, make sure to layer on some sunscreen for added skin protection, as vitamin C can occasionally make your skin more sensitive to light and heat exposure.10
Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster With Pure Vitamin C 10%
This vitamin C booster plays well with other skincare products in your routine, although considering it contains hydrating squalane, firming peptides, and tightening caffeine, you might not need anything else. Just press the button to release the vitamin C before each use. You can mix it in with your moisturizer twice daily for super brightening results, which customers say show up quickly. “I saw almost immediate improvement with my dark spots and skin texture,” said a Sephora reviewer.
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The Packaging: Product Too Runny For A Squeeze Tube
The majority of the vitamin C serums Ive tried are packaged in a glass bottle with a dropper, but this formula is packaged in a squeezable tubesomething I normally would prefer. However, for how runny this cream formula is, I found that if I opened the tube upside down, the product would begin to drip out . I think I would actually have preferred this formula to be packaged as a dropper bottle.
Our Best Overall Pick Is Drunk Elephant C
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When it comes to over-the-counter topicals, theres often a limit to just how much of a difference you can see from products without a prescription. Serums containing vitamin C are the exception, according to board-certified dermatologist, Diane Madfes, MD. “They work to stimulate collagen, lighten dark spots, and protect against sun damage,” Madfes tells Byrdie. “They’re also great for fine lines, melasma, and rosacea.” Vitamin C in serum form is so effective because it attacks free radicals that can damage skin DNA.
Our best overall pick is Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Vitamin C Day Serum, which contains ferulic acid and vitamin E to boost vitamin Cs efficacy and stability, and glides on without a sticky finish. For a more affordable pick, consider CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum, a drugstore favorite that contains l-ascorbic acid, the purest form of vitamin C, plus ceramides and hyaluronic acid to create a silky skin-feel.
Ahead, find the best vitamin C serums to brighten your complexion.
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Beefs Up Your Skin Barrier Against Free Radicals
One of vitamin Cs chief benefits for your skin is that it can help bolster its defenses against environmental damage from exposure to UV light and pollutants. These factors contribute to the appearance of . Due to its inherent antioxidant properties, vitamin C helps combat harmful free radical damage that can wreak havoc on the skin. It can also help stimulate cell turnover and promote the appearance of brighter skin.5
What Is Vitamin C And How Does It Work
Vitamin C is the primary antioxidant in human skin, and is an essential nutrient for good health, explains aesthetic doctor and educator in cosmetic dermatology Dr. Amiee Vyas. It is required for many bodily functions including the production of collagen a vital component in many of our tissues, from skin to ligaments and tendons, cartilage and bone, and even the corneas in our eyes. As vitamin C is water soluble and not stored in the body, we need to obtain it from external sources: through food and topical application.
Whats more, vitamin C has specific benefits for the skin, due to its photoprotective, antioxidative, anti-pigmentary and overall anti-aging effects, says Dr. Vyas. One of the biggest benefits of a vitamin C product is the way it can promote collagen and elastin production, as well as reducing collagen damage in the skins dermis, she adds. The result? Firmer, smoother and more resilient skin.
Vitamin C is also an anti-pollution powerhouse. Its a potent antioxidant, which means it can neutralise free radicals from UV radiation, pollution, blue light and other aspects of our daily lives.”
Finally, vitamin C can help to fade and prevent dark spots, or hyperpigmentation. It reduces melanin production through its action as a tyrosinase inhibitor, brightening skin and preventing oxidation of existing pigmentation so it doesnt become darker, says Dr. Vyas.
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Who Should Not Use A Vitamin C Serum
Really, everyone can use the best Vitamin C serums – there’s really no downside to using one. I’ve you’re not sure whether Vitamin C can be bad for the skin, the short answer is no, it’s usually not – if it’s in date and the right concentration for your skin type.
Easily-irritated skin should proceed with caution, as you would when you’re introducing any new product to your skincare routine for sensitive skin.
“Every skin is different and unique and has a sweet spot for skincare actives”, says Brackenbury. “If you have sensitive skin or have never used a vitamin C before, vitamin C derivatives such as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate will be easier for you to tolerate.”
How To Store Vitamin C Serum
Vitamin C is notoriously unstable, so it can oxidize with light and heat. Look for darkly tinted glass bottles with airless delivery, as air causes vitamin C to degrade, says Rabach.
It seems like a lot to remember, so we did the heavy lifting of finding out in which skin-care products those multiple factors intersect. Ahead, the 24 best vitamin C serums that meet this stringent list of criteria, according to derms, editors, and our Glamour Beauty Awards judges.
All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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Peter Thomas Roth Potent
Stubborn dark spots or old acne scars? Try this powerful vitamin C spot corrector to target and lighten them. In addition to vitamin C from tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, it contains other brighteners like gwennis and angelys, plus aloe vera to soothe. The brand’s overall vitamin C serum is also beloved, but this targeted treatment excels at taking on those really tough-to-budge marks. “Best product I’ve ever used. I’ve never written a review before, but this product has worked so incredibly well and so incredibly quickly that I had to share,” wrote a Sephora customer of its effect on hyperpigmentation.
Peach & Lily Transparen
Aesthetician Lily Njoroge recommends this serum for acne-prone clients and those for whom irritation is a concern. Its the first vitamin C serum Ive found that I would recommend for acneic skin, she says, because it has oils high in linoleic acid such as sunflower seed oil, and this makes it helpful at reducing inflammation.
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