“Vitamin C is a great skin care ingredient because it is safe to use on all skin types and has many incredible anti-aging, moisturizing and brightening properties,” says Shooting Hu, beautician, developer and founder of Acaderma Skincare. This ingredient is the basis of cleansers, moisturizers and masks, but in order to use its full skin-transforming properties, you really need to include it in the healing phase of your routine. Cause? Serums offer much more bang for your buck. Read on to find out why.
Vitamin C Serum Benefits
1. Protects against environmental aggressors.
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants for skin care on the market, which means it helps protect you from so-called oxidative stress, one of the main culprits in the signs of aging. Environmental stressors carry free radicals to your skin, which deplete collagen stores and cause dull and saggy skin. Antioxidants like vitamin C scavenge free radicals before they can do any harm. “Think of antioxidants as protection that you apply before heading out into the world and facing all the components of the outside world that contribute to skin aging, such as UV radiation, pollution, stress and heat,” says Corey L. Hartman, M.D., board certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama. “So antioxidants like vitamin C are essential components of a good anti-aging skin care regimen.”
2. Reduces hyperpigmentation.
In addition to the short-term protective properties of the Vitamin C Serum, you will also receive the added bonus of a smoother skin tone. “This vitamin is great for reducing pigmentation, reducing redness and evening out skin tone, which gives the skin a more youthful appearance,” says Dr. Hu. Due to its antioxidant properties, it can reduce the production of melanin, which causes dark spots, on the skin. According to Dr. Hartman, “The best way to cause sagging skin and blemishes is to stop taking vitamins,” so remember to consume your vitamins every morning.
3. Brightens the complexion.
When you see a product that advertises itself as “brightening,” chances are it contains vitamin C. Since oxidative stress can lead to dullness, the fact that vitamin C fights this oxidative stress before it leaves its mark will help. you even glow inside out.
4. Promotes hydration.
While you still need your usual moisturizing ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid to hydrate your skin, vitamin C can help these ingredients reach their full potential. “The Vitamin C Serum reduces transepidermal water loss,” explains Dr. Hu, which means it helps trap moisture under the surface of your skin to prevent it from evaporating into the environment. Strengthening the skin barrier – what the Vitamin C Serum does – is tantamount to keeping your skin hydrated and healthy, so think of applying antioxidants daily as a mini workout for your complexion.
5. Smoothes fine lines and wrinkles.
While vitamin C is not as effective in anti-aging as, say, retinoids and peptides, it does help stimulate your skin’s natural collagen production. This is important because natural collagen production slows down with age. Adding an ingredient that starts the system can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “Collagen production peaks at age 22 and then decreases every ten years, so it is imperative to produce and prevent degradation as much as possible,” says Dr. Hartman. Vitamin C helps curb this breakdown by keeping free radicals in check, resulting in a smoother complexion overall.
Why whey is the best way to get vitamin C
You can find vitamin C in a number of different skincare products, including cleansers and moisturizers, but serums are the best way to get the most out of an ingredient. “The main reason I prefer serums over moisturizers is because they contain fewer fillers and thickeners,” says Dr. Hu. “Serums are more effective than cleansers or moisturizers, so using a vitamin C serum will benefit your skin more directly.” Since serums tend to have higher concentrations of active substances (and, as Dr. Hu said, lower concentrations of other substances), your skin will receive peak amounts of vitamin C.
What else? “The molecular size of the serum provides better penetration and absorption than a lotion or moisturizer, so it penetrates deeper into the dermis where the fibroblasts that produce collagen and elastin are located,” says Dr. Hartman. Plus, unlike cleansers, which rinse off after just a few seconds, the serum stays on your skin all day, so you can use their vitamin C for hours.
What to look for when it comes to Vitamin C Serum
Vitamin C can be a fickle ingredient, so you should be sure to know what to look out for when looking for a whey. First things first: Since vitamin C is sensitive to the sun (which means it can oxidize and become less effective when exposed to the sun), you need to look for the product in a dark or tinted bottle. By itself, it also tends to be unstable, so it is best to find a formula that combines vitamin C with another stabilizing molecule. “It works really well with vitamin E, which stabilizes vitamin C for maximum skin protection,” says Dr. Hu. “Ferulic acid also works well with vitamin C because it helps lower the pH of vitamin C so your skin can more easily absorb the serum.” Because vitamin C itself can be irritating, these additional ingredients also help make vitamin C serums more bearable for sensitive skin.
In terms of concentrations, Dr. Hu recommends using something that contains at least 8 percent vitamin C, adding that the sweet spot is somewhere between 10 and 20 percent. You should also be aware that products that label themselves as vitamin C may only contain a vitamin C derivative, which is not as effective as the real deal, so you need to check the label to make sure you get the right stuff. “Look for L-ascorbic acid, which has the most skin-related research of all forms of vitamin C,” says Dr. Hartman. “When formulated correctly at a pH of less than 4-2.6-3.2 is the ideal range), this shape helps to create younger, firmer-looking skin while eliminating signs of uneven skin tone and blemishes.”
How to use vitamin C serum
Since vitamin C is your skin’s first line of defense against the elements, you’ll want to use it every morning for optimal results. “I recommend using a vitamin C serum after cleansing your skin and then applying a moisturizer to maximize the product’s benefits,” says Dr. Hu. “Just remember that vitamin C becomes less effective when exposed to light, so wait a few minutes for the serum to fully absorb into your skin before leaving.” And of course, always be sure to use your favorite SPF to keep your skin completely protected.
The Best Vitamin C Serums According to Professionals
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic – $ 166
This serum has long been known as the gold standard in the vitamin C market and is well worth its hefty price tag. It checks every box that the dermis is advised to pay attention to – it combines a 15 percent concentration of pure vitamin C with vitamin E and ferulic acid and comes in an opaque, airtight bottle and will not irritate dry skin.
SkinBetter Alto Defense – $ 220
Dr. Hartman recommends this lotion for something particularly gentle yet effective. “It moisturizes gently and works well for all skin types,” he says. It has your usual vitamins C and E, as well as 17 other antioxidants, which means you can leave the house every morning knowing that your skin is properly protected.
Acaderma Invisible Shield Defense Serum – $ 80.00
“I recommend applying this serum in the morning to protect the skin from the harmful effects of infrared and blue light, free radicals and environmental pollution, ”says Dr. Hu. “It contains a powerful antioxidant derived from sesame seeds and is combined with 11 other clinically proven actives, including peony, summer snowflake, golden algae, ribose and resveratrol.” Use it every day and you will also notice fine lines and wrinkles are reduced.
Native Atlas Zahara Vitamin Serum – $ 60
This invigorating serum will help strengthen the skin’s barrier defenses and leave you glowing. “It absorbs deeply and evens out skin tone, reduces discoloration and, most importantly, repairs and protects the skin barrier,” says Dr. Hu. It is formulated with nourishing botanicals that moisturize and heal the skin, as well as baobab seed oil, known as the “tree of life” due to the fact that it is loaded with vitamins C, D and E and essential fatty acids that help stimulate cell regeneration and increase elasticity of the skin.