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What’s a vitamin C serum?
If you have your head in the skin care game, you’ve likely heard of vitamin C serums.
Vitamin C is touted as one of the best anti-aging ingredients on the market — and the key to maintaining a smooth, even, and glowy complexion.
Although you’re probably getting vitamin C in your diet, there’s no way to guarantee that it’s going straight to your skin. Using serums and other topical products is the most direct way to reap these benefits.
Read on to learn why you should add vitamin C serum to your routine, how to introduce a new product, and more.
Vitamin C has an excellent
Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, one of the main vitamin C derivatives used in skin care,
Vitamin C can help fade pigmentation (more on this below!) and smooth the skin’s surface to reduce dullness. This gives skin a youthful glow.
Vitamin C application has been shown to
Dealing with acne? Vitamin C isn’t your only option. Learn more.
These serums can help smooth out fine lines by plumping and hydrating the under-eye area.
Although vitamin C is more effective at reducing overall redness, some people say that it can help alleviate discoloration associated with under-eye circles.
Vitamin C is well known for
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein that depletes over time. Lower levels of collagen can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
Collagen production is tied to skin elasticity and firmness. When your collagen levels begin to drop, your skin may begin to sag.
Applying a vitamin C serum may boost collagen production, resulting in an overall
Sun damage is caused by molecules called free radicals. These are atoms with a missing electron.
Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect healthy skin cells by “giving” these free radicals an electron, rendering them harmless.
In addition to minimizing redness, vitamin C
Given its effects on sunburn, it should be no surprise that vitamin C application can
Although topical vitamin C is generally well-tolerated, all skin products have the potential to cause side effects. You should always do a patch test to assess your risk for allergic reaction. Here’s how:
- Select a small area of skin that’s easy to conceal, like your forearm.
- Apply a small amount of product and wait 24 hours.
- If no side effects occur, you can apply to your face. Discontinue use if you develop a rash, redness, or hives.
When it’s time for a full application, follow the instructions on the product’s label.
Vitamin C serum is typically applied once or twice per day. A good rule of thumb is to cleanse, tone, apply vitamin C serum, and then moisturize.
It can be safely used in conjunction with other active ingredients, although use alongside niacinamide may render vitamin C less effective.
Make sure to check your product’s use-by date. If the product has darkened or otherwise changed color, the vitamin C has likely oxidized. Although the product is still safe to use, it no longer carries the same benefits.
Although irritation is unlikely, you should always do a patch test prior to full application. This is the only way to determine how your skin will react to the serum.
If your skin is especially sensitive, avoid products with L-ascorbic acid. Products with magnesium ascorbyl phosphate may be less likely to cause irritation.
Serum stability is affected by two things — product formulation and packaging.
The following vitamin C derivatives are designed to retain potency for longer:
- L-ascorbic acid
- ascorbyl palmitate
- magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
You should also ensure that the product has a water-free formulation. And the bottle should be opaque and airtight.
Popular vitamin C serums include:
Vitamin C can help heal blemishes, reduce hyperpigmentation, and give your skin an out-of-this-world glow.
Consistency is key for maximum effect, so add it to your 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.
Discontinue use if you begin to experience irritation or discomfort.