You’ve heard it from your dermatologist, friends, and even your coworker — vitamin C serums are the ultimate skincare products, and for good reason.
Vitamin C serums help your skin fight free radicals, stabilize collagen production and reduce redness. They also help you achieve a brighter complexion.
Here’s everything you need to know to get in started using vitamin C serums — including what they do, how to use them, and how to avoid side effects.
What Are Vitamin C Serums?
Vitamin C serums are potent skincare products designed to deliver vitamin C directly into your skin. This powerful antioxidant can help to treat a variety of skin concerns, including dark spots, melasma, sun damage, and acne scarring.
Vitamin C serums are very useful because they can help to prevent signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C promote collagen production in the skin, which helps to firm up sagging or loose skin.
Vitamin C can also help to brighten your skin and protect it from environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution that could cause further damage over time.
You can find vitamin C serums in many physical and online stores. They come in different strengths and formulations. Some contain vitamin E or ferulic acid, too. Ferulic acid is another antioxidant that may help protect your skin from environmental damage.
What Do Vitamin C Serums Do?
Vitamin C serums offer a wide range of skin benefits. Here are some of the benefits you can expect when adding vitamin C serums to your routine:
1. Reduced Signs of Aging
One of the primary reasons women and men turn to vitamin C serums is for their anti-aging properties. Vitamin C serums can help diminish signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
2. Brightened Skin Tone
A dull complexion can be caused by a variety of things, including sun damage, acne scarring, and melasma. The good news is that vitamin C serums can help with all of it.
These serums inhibit melanin production in the skin, which helps to lighten hyperpigmentation and brown spots, even out skin tone, and enhance skin radiance.
3. Antioxidant Protection
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and antioxidants help protect the skin from free radicals. Free radicals are caused by several factors, including body metabolism, toxins, and cigarette smoke.
While all antioxidants can help protect against free radicals, vitamin C is one of the most effective antioxidants for the skin.
4. Reduced Redness and Inflammation
Vitamin C works as an anti-inflammatory agent which can reduce redness and inflammation. It works by strengthening the blood vessels within the skin, which makes them less prone to breakage and less fragile.
This can reduce the appearance of spider veins on the face as well as broken capillaries on the nose and cheeks.
5. Increased Collagen Production
Another reason people use vitamin C serums is for their ability to promote collagen production. Collagen is a protein that makes up a large part of your skin and gives it structure. As you age, collagen breaks down and you lose some of this structure.
This is what causes sagging skin and wrinkles to develop over time. When you apply it topically, vitamin C may help prevent this loss of elasticity by supporting collagen production.
6. Protection Against UV Rays
Vitamin C also offers protection from UV rays by helping neutralize free radicals caused by sun exposure. If left unchecked, free radicals can contribute to the development of fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C serums work best when combined with sunscreen and other antioxidants like vitamins A and E for protection against harmful UV rays.
Do Vitamin C Serums Have Any Side Effects?
Like most skincare products, vitamin C serums come with a few side effects.
If the pH of a vitamin C serum is too high, it can irritate the skin and cause redness, stinging, and burning. Vitamin C serums that contain other ingredients like ferulic acid are also more irritating than other types of vitamin C serum.
If you do experience irritation from a vitamin C serum, don’t assume you have an allergy. Instead, try switching brands or lowering your frequency of application to every other day or once a week.
Vitamin C serums at high concentrations can also make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. To avoid this, always wear sunscreen during the day, even when indoors during the winter months.
If you’re using vitamin C serum for the first time, make sure to test a small amount of serum on your wrist and observe for 24 hours before applying it to your face.
How to Incorporate Vitamin C Serum Into Your Skincare Routine
Be sure to cleanse and tone your skin before applying vitamin C serum, as the product is highly reactive and you want it to absorb into clean skin. If you apply it over dirt, oil, and makeup, it won’t be able to do its job properly.
After cleansing and toning, pour 2-3 drops of serum on your fingertips then gently pat it into your skin until it is fully absorbed. Finally, follow up with a moisturizer and sunscreen if desired.
If you have sensitive skin, you can mix 1-2 drops of serum with your moisturizer, then apply it to your skin. That way, you can avoid experiencing redness, dryness, or any other potential side effects.
How to Make a DIY Vitamin C Serum
While there are plenty of vitamin C serums on the market, they can be pricey and often contain unnecessary ingredients. Here’s how to make your vitamin C serum with a few ingredients from the health food store or pharmacy:
- Vitamin C powder – i.e. L-ascorbic acid or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
- 100% pure aloe vera gel from a bottle (or fresh from the plant)
- Distilled water
- Vitamin E oil
- Mix one teaspoon of distilled water with 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin C powder in a small bowl until all lumps are dissolved.
- If your skin is sensitive, use magnesium ascorbyl phosphate powder instead of L-ascorbic acid powder. This type of vitamin C is less acidic and will be less irritating to your skin.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of glycerin, 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel, and a few drops of vitamin E oil to the mixture.
- Combine all ingredients then pour into an empty bottle with a dropper lid.
- Store in a cool dark place like your cabinet or refrigerator.
Remember that vitamin C oxidizes quickly, which means it starts to lose its benefits once you open the lid. It’s a good idea to make a fresh serum every week or two to get the maximum benefit from your serums.
How should you store your vitamin C serum?
Store it away from light. Vitamin C is highly unstable when exposed to light and air and degrades rapidly when exposed to either.
Most vitamin C serums are packaged in dark bottles for this very reason — if the sunlight gets into the bottle, it can degrade the serum’s efficacy. Keep your serum in a refrigerator, drawer, or cabinet to prevent exposure to light.
How often should you use vitamin C serum?
Once or twice per day. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, dermatologists recommend applying vitamin C serum once or twice per day after you cleanse and tone your skin, but before you apply moisturizer, sunscreen and makeup.
When using vitamin C serum, it’s also important to keep in mind that higher concentrations are more effective than lower concentrations. However, they may cause adverse effects such as irritation or skin discoloration.
How do you know if your vitamin C serum has oxidized?
The most obvious sign that your vitamin C serum has oxidized is a color change. It turns dark or brownish instead of its original clear or orange hue.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s completely useless — it just won’t work as well anymore. Vitamin C serum is so unstable, you have to be extra careful about how you store your serum or it could go bad fast.
Vitamin C serums are a great way to give your skin a boost. That is because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight free-radical damage to skin cells and may also help protect against the effects of UV exposure.
Additionally, it helps diminish signs of aging because of its vital role in the body’s natural collagen production. It also helps reduce melanin production, consequently reducing hyperpigmentation and other dark spots on the skin.
So if you haven’t already added a vitamin C serum to your skincare routine, it may be time to consider trying one out.
Thanks for reading.
Visit Serum101 to learn more about the benefits of vitamin C serums.