Can You Use Vitamin C Serum Twice a Day? Yes, You Can & Here’s Why

Okay, you’ve got a bottle of vitamin C serum and now you’re wondering if it’s okay to use it twice a day. Seems like overkill, doesn’t it? Read on to find out.

The short answer is yes. Vitamin C serum is a potent skincare product that can be used twice a day. It brightens dark spots, boosts collagen production, decreases inflammation, and protects against free radical damage, to name just a few.

To help clear things up, this article discusses whether or not you can use vitamin C serum twice a day, how to incorporate it into your routine, and more. Let’s get right into it.

Can You Use Vitamin C Serum Twice a Day?

“Yes, you can use vitamin C serum twice a day,” says Dr. Jennifer Herrmann, a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist. “Vitamin C serum has many benefits, but you can enhance them by applying your serum twice a day”.

“However, ensure that you apply it to clean skin and always use sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy out or you’re just running to the grocery store.”

The reason for these precautions, she says, is simple: vitamin C makes your skin more sensitive to light. This can lead to premature aging and, worst-case scenario, skin cancer. 

Vitamin C serums are available in a wide range of strengths and come in different packaging too. Some come in tinted glass bottles to protect their contents from light, while some come in pump bottles that dispense just the right amount of product.

The key is to choose a high-quality product that doesn’t contain irritants or other active ingredients (such as retinol and niacinamide) that may cause unwanted side effects.

SEE: Does Vitamin C Serum Work? The Benefits and Side Effects

What Does Vitamin C Serum Do?

Vitamin C serum is a product that people have used for many years to improve the appearance of skin. Vitamin C itself is an antioxidant, meaning it helps fight free radicals in the body.

Free radicals, which are produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to toxins and pollutants, can cause cell damage and lead to premature aging, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Vitamin C serums also work by breaking down collagen and elastin, two proteins that play a big role in how our skin looks. Collagen is responsible for keeping our skin firm and youthful-looking, while elastin keeps our skin looking toned and tight.

“The problem with collagen and elastin is that they tend to break down as we age, which can make us look older than we really are,” Hermann says. “A vitamin C serum will help rebuild both of these proteins in the skin so your face looks younger again”.

Additionally, vitamin C is highly effective at fading dark spots and other kinds of hyperpigmentation left behind from acne scarring or sun damage.

With all these benefits, it’s easy to see how vitamin C serum can help improve skin tone, protect against and correct visible signs of aging.

SEE: Is Vitamin C Serum Better Than Hyaluronic Acid for Your Skin?

How to Use Vitamin C Serum Effectively

Applying a vitamin C serum is easy. You just need to know the right way of doing it. Here’s how to use vitamin C serums effectively:

  • Wash and dry your face.
  • If you’re using a toner, apply it now.
  • Pour 2-3 drops of serum onto your fingertips and rub your fingers together. This will warm the product so that it’s easier to spread all over your face.
  • Dot the serum onto your forehead, cheeks, chin, nose, and anywhere else that needs extra love.
  • Gently pat the serum into your skin with your fingertips until it absorbs completely.
  • Wait for 15 minutes, then apply your favorite moisturizer and sunscreen (if needed).

While vitamin C serums are great for your skin, using too much at once can irritate your skin, so start with a small amount and build up if needed.

You should also avoid mixing vitamin C with other potent ingredients like retinol or niacinamide, which can cancel out the benefits of vitamin C or cause irritation.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Vitamin C serums are extremely acidic, which can lead to skin irritation or sensitivity. If you experience this, try applying the serum only every other day or decreasing the amount applied.

Higher concentrations of vitamin C (over 20 percent) can react with light and air to become ineffective, so choose serums in packaging that protect the formula from oxidation.

When applied to the skin, vitamin C serums can also cause a stinging sensation. This is more likely to occur if you have sensitive skin or apply a high concentration at once. If this happens, reduce the concentration or apply the serum less frequently.

Vitamin C serums can also cause side effects when you use them with certain skincare products or procedures. These include:

  • Retinol: If you regularly use a retinol product, wait at least 30 minutes after applying your vitamin C serum. This allows the formula to fully absorb into your skin before applying retinol.
  • Chemical peels: Do not use this serum right before or after a chemical peel, since this may increase the risk of irritation.
  • Microdermabrasion: It’s best to avoid this procedure if you regularly use vitamin C serum. The combination may increase the risk of irritation.
  • Laser therapy: If you’re undergoing laser therapy, avoid using vitamin C serums during your treatment period.

To get maximum benefits from your vitamin C serum, make sure you’re using it correctly and consistently.

Which Form of Vitamin C Is the Best for Skin?

Vitamin C comes in many forms, but L-ascorbic acid is considered the gold standard. It’s well studied and backed by a lot of research.

L-ascorbic acid is the purest form of vitamin C, meaning that it contains no other ingredients, which can be helpful for those who want to avoid any unnecessary additives in their products.

“L-ascorbic acid is an effective antioxidant that reverses and prevents signs of aging due to photo-damage from UV exposure,” says Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, Board Certified Dermatologist and Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Yale.

“It’s also beneficial for those with acne and damaged skin because it helps build collagen and elastin while improving hyperpigmentation.”

You’ll find L-ascorbic acid listed as an ingredient in most vitamin C serums. So if you’re looking to incorporate the best form of vitamin C into your routine, L-ascorbic acid is your best bet.

If you have dry skin and need a little more hydration, look for a serum that also contains hyaluronic acid.

FAQs

Do vitamin C serums darken skin?

No, they do not. However, they can cause discoloration in certain individuals after prolonged exposure to sunlight.

The best way to avoid this is by applying vitamin C serum 2 days out of the week, then slowly increasing the frequency over time to once per day. It’s also important to wear sunscreen every day while monitoring how your skin reacts.

Can you use vitamin C serum and vitamin E together?

Yes, you can. Vitamin C serum and vitamin E complement each other and, when used together, can give you youthful and radiant-looking skin. You can also use vitamin C serums with ferulic acid and hyaluronic acid.

It is important to note that vitamin C is more unstable than vitamin E. Vitamin C degrades easily when it comes in contact with water or air. For this reason, ensure to buy a vitamin C serum packaged in a dark glass bottle so as to minimize its contact with air.

Should you moisturize after using vitamin C serums?

Yes, you should. Vitamin C serums can be drying, so if you’re using one, you’ll want to apply a moisturizer after it.

For best results, wait for ten minutes or more for your skin to absorb the serum, before applying your moisturizer or sunscreen

Conclusion

Yes, you can use vitamin C serum twice a day (in the morning and at night). The important thing is to use it consistently and stick to the correct amounts.

Pay careful attention to your skin so that you don’t damage it or allow yourself to get burned. Be patient, but be diligent and you’ll see results.

You’ll have beautiful skin in no time.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Serum101 to learn more about vitamin C serums and how to incorporate them into your skincare regime.