Everything To Know About Vitamin C Serums––Plus, The Top-Rated Products To Buy
Lauded for its skin rejuvenating qualities, vitamin C is said to brighten, plump and even out skin. While we all know that we can get the power house vitamin through the food we eat, experts recommend to topically apply vitamin C products for your skin to reap the full rewards.
With the market saturated with so-called miracle products, we turned to those in the know to find out more. From what the vitamin is, to what exactly it does to skin, how to apply it, and––all importantly––which products to try. Here we're breaking down everything you need to know about vitamin C serums.
What is Vitamin C?
"Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a natural water soluble vitamin which can be found in citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables," explains Dr. Rashmi Singh, a Board-Certified Dermatologist and Expert Medical Writer at Zelen Life.
Not just reserved for your morning juice, Phoebe Song, creator of Snowfox Skincare adds that it is "a potent antioxidant that is commonly used in skincare to help protect skin from free radicals. It's a popular ingredient for brightening skin, evening out skin tone and fading pigmentation for a radiant appearance. It's also believed to have potent anti-aging properties."
What does it do to skin?
Dr. Singh describes vitamin C as "One of the most raved about ingredients of the skincare world"––and for good reason––when applied to skin, the vitamin is said to "inhibit pigment (melanin) production in the skin, aiding against hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone."
"In addition to that," continues Singh, "it is a robust anti aging ingredient. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties and it also stimulates the collagen synthesis smoothening the fine wrinkles. To top it all, also boosts the photoprotection and decreases the damage caused by ultraviolet rays. No wonder it is everyone’s favourite."
Is it suitable for all skin types?
With all skincare trends, there's always the risk that the ingredient won't quite work for you and your skin. Those with dry, sensitive or acne-prone can still give vitamin C skincare a go though, with Dr. Singh stating "depending on the formulation, Vitamin C has something to offer to everyone across the skin types and ages."
Although all products will have different formulas and strengths, Dr. Singh explains that "Vitamin C is non comedogenic and, if started at low concentration and gradually stepped up giving skin enough time to adapt, it is usually well tolerated even by sensitive skin types."
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Why a serum?
There are so many products out there, so you may be wondering why you should choose a serum over other formulas. There are plenty of face washes, moisturisers and scrubs that claim to be boosted with the potent vitamin, but Dr. Singh explains that serums often include "less filler ingredients". This means that rather than claiming to offer a whole host of benefits and target other skin concerns, the serums are intended to deliver simply vitamin C to the skin, with Singh adding that they tend to be "the most effective way of delivering the desired ingredient to the skin in an efficient and concentrated manner".
Song adds to this, advising that it is still worth ensuring that you finding a brand and a serum that suits your skin, explaining, she states that "your skin will show you by reacting best to certain formulas and this is why skincare is a never ending world of brand discovery. Everyone has a brand that their skin loves (or hates)! Serums were meant to be stronger formulations to boost specific skincare benefits, but at the end of the day, it's about choosing a product that addressed your concerns best and can be used long term. I would definitely always include a serum in your daily skin care routine, but paired with other moisturisers and products that help with different parts of your routine."
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When it comes to using your serum, Song explains that "Most vitamin C formulas are best used twice daily, paired with moisturisers. I don't recommend using anything too acidic on top of a high strength vitamin C product because you will want to avoid the risk of triggering sensitivity in the skin over time."
As true vitamin C is sensitive to light and air, it's also worth taking note of the best ways to store your serum to ensure the most effective results. Song advices to "always choose vit C formulations that are in airless, solid colour bottles that keep those out. Keep your Vit C bottle in a cool dry place. Some brands will tell you to keep it in the fridge, but most are fine in a dark cabinet in your bathroom as long as it's not too humid or hot during the day."