All About Vitamin C Serums And Your Skin
Vitamin C sits beside retinol serums as one of the most recommended skin care ingredients of all time. Dermatologists love the vitamins ability to brighten, lighten, tighten, hydrate, and protect skin from environmental threats like pollution, smoke, and the suns harmful ultraviolet rays. So in addition to noshing on foods containing the natural ingredient, vitamin C serum has become all the rage to apply topically to skin. Vitamin C serum benefits include boosting tissue repair and collagen production, which promotes the appearance of healthier skin. But with every brand quick to declare theirs is the best vitamin C serum out there, how do you know which one to choose? We asked skin care experts and dermatologists for their picks.
Innbeauty Project Slushy Serum Moisturizer Crush
Innbeauty Projects Slushy serum contains hyaluronic acid, bakuchiol, and vitamin C. According to New York City dermatologist Hadley King, MD, a clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, bakuchiol is an extract of the Babchi plant, long used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is one of the few retinol alternatives for which studies back up the pseudo-retinol effect of anti-aging and skin brightening, she says. How does it work? Bakuchiol seems to activate the genes that regulate collagen and elastin productionthe same ones that retinol activates. Collagen and elastin are the building blocks of healthy, youthful skin, and our supply dwindles with advancing age. The best part? Bakuchiol doesnt seem to irritate and redden skin the way retinol often does, so it appears to be a gentler option. And the texture is super funslushy is a perfect description. The only potential downside is that not everyone loves the goopy texture.
Zo Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self
The silky serum boasts 10 percent L-ascorbic acid, the best type of vitamin C serum for your skin, plus other potent antioxidants including vitamin E and co-enzyme Q10, says Troy Pitman, MD, a plastic surgeon in Washington, D.C. It brightens and hydrates skin and can also diminish discoloration and age spots with continuous use, he adds. Our patients love the texture on their skin. Theres just one con: These products are only available in select doctors offices or ZOs website.
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Vitabrid C12 Face Brightening Powder
Did you know Vitamin C comes in powder form? This potent Vitamin C face brightening powder blends into skincare products to offer a bright, glowing complexion. The powder formula ensures the Vitamin C remains stable and active for up to 12 hours while mixing seamlessly into your favorite serum or face moisturizer. Associate Shopping Editor for Readers Digest, Madi Koetting, wears this Vitamin C daily and adds, As someone whos prone to redness, I love that the powder formula doesnt flare up my face. The powder effortlessly mixes into my favorite serum, which is a win-win since I dont have to add another step.
Whats A Vitamin C Serum
If you have your head in the skin care game, youve likely heard of vitamin C serums.
Vitamin C is touted as one of the best ingredients on the market for pro-aging support and the key to maintaining a smooth, even, and glowy complexion.
Although youre probably getting vitamin C in your diet, theres no way to guarantee its going straight to your skin. Using serums and other topical products is the most direct way to reap these benefits.
Read on to learn why you should add vitamin C serum to your routine, how to introduce a new product, and more.
Whether its a tried-and-true skin care regimen, how often you wash your hair, or the cosmetics youre curious about, beauty is personal.
Thats why we rely on a diverse group of writers, educators, and other experts to share their tips on everything from the way product application varies to the best sheet mask for your individual needs.
There are plenty of benefits to using vitamin C on your skin. For example, vitamin C:
- is safe for most skin types
- provides hydration
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What To Look For In A Vitamin C Serum
Turns out, not all vitamin C serums for the face are created equal. Check the label for L-ascorbic acid, says Chicago plastic surgeon Julius Few, MD. L-ascorbic acid, also just called ascorbic acid, is the most well-researched form of vitamin C with respect to the skin, and naturally occurs in our bodies, he explains. The abundant research on ascorbic acid demonstrates that it can reduce signs of aging, including hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines, and loss of elasticity.
Other helpful vitamin C derivatives found in skin care products include sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Some vitamin C serums also contain other antioxidants like ferulic acid and vitamin E, which help supercharge their skin-rejuvenating effects.
How To Use Vitamin C Serum
If youre ready to start adding vitamin C serum to your daily routine, heres how to do it, says Michael Garner, MD, a dermatologist based in Boone, North Carolina: Apply a small amount in the morning before applying any facial moisturizers or sunscreen. It should be used sparingly and spread so that there is a thin layer over the entire face, excluding the eyes and lips.
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Loral Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum
At under $30, LOréals Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C serum is a great product at a great drugstore price. Its nice to know that there are good choices across the board at all price points, says Dr. Day. This serum contains 10 percent pure vitamin C serum with another anti-aging big wig, hyaluronic acid, to visibly brighten skin and reduce wrinkles, she adds. The hyaluronic acid also brings moisture back to your skin. While the overwhelming majority of reviews are positive, some users report breakouts with this serum. If your skin reacts well to it, follow up with the right anti-aging cream for your skin type.
It Reduces The Appearance Of Under
Vitamin C serums can help smooth out fine lines by plumping and hydrating the under-eye area.
Although vitamin C is more effective at reducing overall redness, some people say it can help alleviate discoloration associated with under-eye circles.
According to a small 2019 study on three treatments for dark circles, vitamin C mesotherapy resulted in a significant improvement in the pigmentation of under-eye circles. However, some participants also reported a burning feeling.
Some other ways to help get rid of under-eye bags include using a cold compress and adding retinol to your skin care routine.
The skin under your eyes is thin and sensitive, so its best to stick to products specifically designed for the under-eye area.
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It Protects Against Sun Damage
Excessive exposure to oxidant stress via pollutants or ultraviolet irradiation is associated with depleted vitamin C levels in the skin.
Vitamin C levels are also lower in more mature or photodamaged skin, though researchers are unsure whether this is a cause or effect.
Sun damage is caused by molecules called free radicals. These are atoms with a missing electron. Free radicals search for other atoms from which they can steal an electron and this can lead to significant damage to the skin.
Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect healthy skin cells by giving these free radicals an electron, rendering them harmless.
It May Help Prevent Skin Sagging
Collagen production is tied to skin elasticity and firmness. When your collagen levels begin to drop, your skin may also begin to sag.
Applying a vitamin C serum may boost collagen production, resulting in an overall tightening effect, reports a 2017 review . This is true for sagging due to natural aging, oxidative stress damage, or extreme weight loss.
This means it can help reduce the appearance of sagging skin, making your skin look firmer and more toned.
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Cerave Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum Review
Detailed review of CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum. See what real experts and actual users have to say about this face serum.
Product Name: CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum
Where to Buy:
# of Ingredients: 26
Notable Ingredients: Glycerin, Dimethicone, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin B5
Best Budget: Truskin Naturals Vitamin C Serum
Includes vitamin E, organic aloe vera, and jojoba oil
Plumps and hydrates skin
Lower percentage of vitamin C than other options on our list
TruSkin Vitamin C Serum is plant-based and is a fraction of the price of most vitamin C serums, but we chose this product because it’s just as high quality compared to other options. In addition to vitamin C, it includes botanical hyaluronic acid and vitamin E and is designed to target skin aging issues, such as brightness, firmness, fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and sun spots.
Because of its plant-based ingredients, this formula is free of GMOs, sulfates, and fragrances, so you can take solace in the fact that this addition to your skin care regimen is all-natural. With aloe vera and jojoba oil, it should leave your skin looking supple and hydrated.
Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E | Usage: Apply three to five drops each morning after cleansing and drying face | Scent: None
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Why Trust Verywell Health
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
Best Clean Beauty: Drunk Elephant C
Mixed after purchasing for maximum potency and freshness
Powerful trio of vitamin C, E, and ferulic acid
Some may not like its strong odor
May be too oily for some skin
Drunk Elephant has gained a loyal following for their commitment to using clean ingredients without skimping on effectiveness, which is why we recommend this pick to anyone looking for a clean, natural serum.
Drunk Elephant cuts out essential oils, alcohols, fragrances and dyes, and chemical sunscreen to prevent skin irritation, leaving you with a serum thats simply packed with the potent antioxidant cocktail of 15% L-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, and vitamin E. As a total bonus, it also includes fruit extracts, like pumpkin and pomegranate, to remove dead skin cells, brighten your skin, and leave it glowing.
Key Ingredients: 15% L-ascorbic acid, 0.5% ferulic acid, 1% vitamin E | Usage: Apply one pump face, neck, and chest after cleansing and drying | Scent: Yes, may be unpleasant
It Promotes Collagen Production
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein that depletes over time. Lower levels of collagen can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C is well known for through the process of collagen synthesis. In fact, collagen synthesis cant happen without vitamin C.
This is because vitamin C is the essential cofactor for the two enzymes required for collagen synthesis:
- prolyl hydroxylase, which stabilizes the collagen molecule
- lysyl hydroxylase, which provides structural strength
You can also boost collagen production through your diet.
It May Help Soothe Sunburns
In addition to minimizing redness, vitamin C accelerates cell turnover, according to a 2017 review . This replaces the damaged cells with healthy new ones.
Topical application of vitamin C, in combination with vitamin E and other compounds, has also been shown to reduce injury due to UV irradiation , notes the above 2017 review. This combination also decreases the inflammation induced by excessive UV exposure.
Its important to note that researchers found that vitamin C alone is only minimally effective at reducing sunburn on its own.
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How Often Should People Use Vitamin C Serum
A person can use a vitamin C serum every day, after cleansing and before moisturizing their skin. However, some companies also suggest using the product once every other day.
The AAD states that individuals should avoid trying a new product every week to treat acne. It may take some time until they see improvements, so they may have to use a product for 6-8 weeks.
Best For Sensitive Skin: Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Serum
15% pure vitamin C formulation
Easy to apply, absorbs quickly
Some users dislike scent
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to be particularly careful when it comes to choosing a vitamin C serum.
Its important to find a formulation that works for your sensitive skin type not all vitamin C serums are created equal and many formulations range from five to 30 percent , Dr. Palm explains.
Dr. Saedi suggests avoiding more potentially irritating vitamin C serums, so starting with one like Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C might be less likely to cause a reaction than most other effective products it contains a high level of pure vitamin C, but she points out that its a more hydrating form with a lower percentage of ascorbic acid. Because its formula is only made of 11 ingredients, there’s less of a chance for an irritating ingredient to trigger a reaction.
That means its less likely to cause irritation to sensitive skin, and since the Vichy serum also includes hyaluronic acid, is made with clean ingredients, and is paraben-, fragrance-, and oil-free, its worth giving it a try if youve got sensitive skin.
Key Ingredients: 15% vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E | Usage: Apply four drops each morning after cleansing and drying face | Scent: Has a scent
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Skinceuticals C E Ferulic
This is the best vitamin C serum for face application if youre not prone to breakouts, Dr. Day says. The addition of ferulic acid makes the serum better, as it goes really well with vitamin C, helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and brightens your skins complexion, she explains. Another potent antioxidant, ferulic acid is found in the walls of plant cells and serves to super-charge other actives and antioxidants in your skin care products. The only downside? SkinCeuticals products can be costly. Follow with moisturizer and your makeup routine, including one of the best foundations for dry skin.
Cerave Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum Reviews
CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum reviews on the brands website are a mix of positive and negative. The product has earned an average rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars after about 40 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum mention that this product absorbs well and helps the skin to look smooth, bright, and clear. For example, one review says, This is the best Vitamin C Serum Ive used, and Ive tried a few of them. I love the texture and how it absorbs into my skin easily. My skin also looks brighter and clearer. The only con is the packaging. The lid gets a little messy. I wish it was more of a pump bottle.
All of the negative reviews for CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum are from customers who were disappointed to find denatured alcohol on the ingredient list of this product. For example, one review says, I am surprised to see denatured alcohol on the ingredients list of this serum since cerave seems to cater to people with sensitive skin. This type of alcohol can be very irritating and drying to people with sensitive skin like mine. Ive noticed this ingredient in many of cereves new products. Im sad I wont be able to use them.
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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.
Unique Metal Tube Packaging
The unique metal tube packaging threw me for a loop the first time I opened the box. It is reminiscent of toothpaste tubes or medical ointments and I wasnt used to seeing it in a skincare product. Very often, Vitamin C serums are very liquid and come in dropper bottles or airless pump bottles. The only other Vitamin C serum Ive experienced in a tube is the Melano CC Brightening Essence .
The tube comes sealed when you first receive it, which I like. This ensures that the contents are kept in airless suspension until such time that you pierce the opening . Then, screw the cap on rightly.
Heres where you shouldnt make the same mistake I did.
Do note that the cap, which is a slim cone shape, comes with a twist-off second half. I did not realise this, and was twisting off the whole cap each time I used it . Once I realised that there was another bit I could screw off, it made far better sense. Its just so well-designed that you dont notice the mini cap LOL!
But as I said, I like the idea of using a metal tube for the packaging. It should keep the contents fresher for longer, and prevent the contents from oxidising as there is very little to no exposure to air.
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