Vitamin C is one of the most powerful ingredients when it comes to skincare. And, the benefits of using a vitamin C serum for the face are endless. Vitamin C reduces breakouts and inflammation, fights free-radical damage, brightens skin, diminishes wrinkles, and fades dark spots. The list could go on!
You probably know vitamin C as a beneficial nutrient. But what do you actually know about this superstar ingredient when it comes to skincare? We’re breaking down everything you need to know about vitamin C serum, including all of its major-skin-loving benefits and how to use it in your skincare routine.
Vitamin C is, as the name implies, a vitamin. Vitamins are natural, organic molecules that living beings need to function. Some of them we get from food, some our bodies synthesize from other micronutrients. Vitamin C is used by the body to grow, repair and maintain all tissues. The body doesn’t produce it though, so we must get it from outside sources.
Skin naturally contains a high concentration of vitamin C, which it needs to build things like muscle, cartilage, and collagen. Lower levels of vitamin C in the skin have been linked to the premature signs of aging and sun damage.
Decades of research have shown that vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant. It promotes healthy skin by fighting and neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals (found in everything from smog to cigarette smoke) damage the dermis of the skin and alter DNA, the moisture barrier, skin texture, color, and cell functioning.
Vitamin C does more than just protect against pollution, though. Vitamin C has three proven benefits for the skin, all of which have been demonstrated in clinical trials:
So, in the same way that consuming antioxidant-rich foods help your body in fighting off free radicals, topical antioxidants like vitamin c serum do the same for your skin. They protect by fighting daily aggressors like UV damage and pollution. Antioxidants help reduce damage to our cells and keep them healthy, so incorporating vitamin C into your daily skincare routine is an absolute must for happy skin.
The easiest and most effective way to work it in is in serum form, where it can absorb quickly. Serums are the most common form of delivery for vitamins, as they enhance penetration through the outer skin layer. Applying vitamin C topically in a facial serum targets its benefits, delivering a concentration right to the skin.
Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is one of the main vitamin C derivatives used in skincare, having been shown to have a hydrating effect on the skin. It decreases trans-epidermal water loss, allowing your skin to better retain moisture.
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 boosting collagen production.
Thanks to its ability to plump and tighten skin, regular use of a vitamin C serum results in a naturally more youthful appearance.
Collagen production is tied to skin elasticity and firmness. As collagen levels drop, skin may sag. Applying a vitamin C serum helps support collagen production and fight degradation, resulting in an overall tightening 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. This process can lead to significant damage to the skin’s healthy cells. Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants, which protect healthy skin cells by giving these roaming radicals an electron and rendering them harmless.
Regular use of a vitamin C serum for face fades pigmentation and smooths the skin’s surface. This helps reduce dullness and reveal a youthful glowy complexion.
Vitamin C has also been shown to treat a variety of inflammatory skin conditions like acne and rosacea, minimizing redness for a more even complexion
Hyperpigmentation including sun spots, age spots, and melasma, occurs when melanin is overproduced in certain areas of the skin. Regular use of a vitamin C face serum has been shown to slow melanin production.
A vitamin c serum for the face can help ease the appearance of the dreaded under-eye circle. Vitamin C plumps and hydrates the delicate under-eye area.
Vitamin C helps contribute to overall wound healing. Healthy wound healing reduces your risk for the inflammation, infection, and scarring left behind by breakouts.
Using a vitamin C product as a part of your morning skincare routine helps to protect your complexion from free-radical damage that accumulates throughout the day. Using a facial serum with vitamin C in your nighttime routine while your skin has time to repair itself works well too.
A once-daily application is usually all that's needed, but you can apply a gentle vitamin c serum both in the morning and at night. A good rule of thumb when it comes to applying skincare ingredients is to go from thinnest and water-based to thickest and oil-based. A vitamin C serum for face is best applied after cleansing and toning, but before any spot treatments, moisturizer, face oil, and, of course, sunscreen.
Incorporating a vitamin C serum into your skincare routine can help heal blemishes, reduce hyperpigmentation, and give your skin a healthy, radiant glow. These tips will help you make the most of your vitamin C face serum.
Using the right form for your skin type is essential to how effective your vitamin C serum will be. For those with oily or normal skin, L-ascorbic acid is the most potent form of vitamin C and can be the most beneficial; while sensitive skin types should look for magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a water-soluble derivative of vitamin C, which is less irritating.
As with any active ingredient, it’s important to start slowly when adding a vitamin C serum to your skincare routine. Start with three times a week and work your way up to daily use.
The absorption of vitamin C is largely contingent on its pH level. If you have normal skin, look for a vitamin C serum with a pH of approximately 3.5 for optimal absorption. If you have sensitive skin, you should use a formula with a pH of 5 to 6. This is the skin's natural pH and will not be as irritating.
Make sure to check the label of your vitamin c face serum for its use-by date. Ensure the vitamin C is stabilized and kept airtight in a dark, cool space.
If the serum looks murky or starts to smell bad, the vitamin C may have oxidized meaning it no longer carries the same benefits. Toss any vitamin C products that have dramatically changed color since you bought them. Some yellowing or fading of added colors can be normal over time, but dramatic or uneven color changes aren’t.
Because vitamin C is more reactive, layering it with ingredients like vitamin E and ferulic acid helps lower the pH and make it more stable. Vitamin C and E are both antioxidants and support each other. Ferulic acid is also an antioxidant; it boosts and stabilizes both vitamin C and vitamin E in fighting free radical damage and collagen production.
Unlike skin acids or retinoids, vitamin C does not make the skin more susceptible to sunburn. But vitamin C is vulnerable to light exposure, so it should be used in conjunction with broad-spectrum UVA/UVB coverage. When layered underneath a sunscreen, vitamin C serum protects the skin even further.
To make the most of this powerhouse antioxidant, vitamin C should be applied regularly and added to your skincare routine in a way that makes sense for you. Some people apply it in the morning to take advantage of its UV-protectant properties, while others find that it works best as a night serum.
Vitamin C is a potent topical antioxidant that neutralizes free radical damage and protects the skin against UV light and other environmental aggressors, as well as blocking abnormal production of pigmentation to even skin tone and fade dark spots. And while it’s best known for brightening, vitamin C serum is also instrumental in keeping skin firm and hydrated.
Brighten your skin and ward off free radical damage with a powerful vitamin C serum. There’s no better ingredient for waking up a dull complexion and erasing sun damage! These awesome benefits earn vitamin C serum a well-deserved spot in any skincare product lineup.
If you’re searching for a powerful skincare staple for fighting the signs of premature aging and the antidote to lackluster, dehydrated skin, vitamin C serum if your new best friend.