Types Of Vitamin C & Their Benefits For Skin
There are many different forms of Vitamin C available. Since natural Vitamin C is quite unstable and easily degrades , many new forms of Vitamin C have been synthetically created in an effect to provide greater stability. While many of them are great, they all have their benefits and downsides. For example, some forms of synthetic Vitamin C can absorb deeper into the skin than others. Additionally, some forms of Vitamin C are better at protecting against the suns UV rays than others. Before you purchase a Vitamin C serum, review our guide below to ensure that the type of Vitamin C you are buying is right for your skin type and desired outcome.
What Didnt Make The Cut And Why
While some of the below vitamin C serums may do the job, we found a few downfalls that rendered them not making the cut:
- LOréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum: Though a fan-favorite, this serum had impractical packaging and made my skin too oily.
- Murad Dark Circle Corrector: While the brands other vitamin C serum had a dreamy texture, this one stung a bit on my face.
- Tru Alchemy Glow Serum: This one was good and effective at brightening the skin, but it wasnt as bright as others we tested. However, we still recommend its formulation for just about any skin type.
- Youth to the People 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum: While we recommend this formula because it includes caffeine which helps to eliminate dark spots it was a bit too clumpy on my skin.
Check out New York Post Shopping for more content. Some of these serums were sent by brands for consideration for our readers.
Best Drugstore: Cerave Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum
Contains hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides to plump skin and strengthen skin barrier
Can oxidize and leave orange streaks
You can squeeze product out of this CeraVe tube of vitamin C serum. In addition to 10 percent L-ascorbic acid, this affordable formula replenishes the skin barrier with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides and soothes stressed skin with vitamin B5.
Benefits: Radiance-boosting, hydrating, replenishing | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Thin layer daily | Size: 1 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Price at time of publish: $21
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The Best For Leaving The Skin Plump: Tarte Youth Or Dare Multi
- Pros: Gave my skin an all-day shine, has a pump dispenser
- Cons: Requires more blending than other serums, due to it initially coming out orange
Well, hello oranges that somehow made their way inside Tartes Youth or Dare Multi-Acid & C Serum its good to see you.
As a pure-orange serum that blends translucent, it was cool to try this one out. The less-than-$50 serum, aside from vitamin C, contains hyaluronic and glycolic acids and apple extract that work in tandem to give an all-day glow and healthy plump.
- Pros: Incredible at eliminating dark spots on consistent use, brightens the skin well, sleek packaging, precise application
- Cons: None to speak of
Nobody likes dark circles and when you need it most , Josie Marans Argan Bright Skin Vitamin C Serum is the one we recommend most.
Despite not having chronically dark circles or spots, I did notice a difference underneath my eyes when I used it consistently. And, at $65, I would have guessed it was more than $100.
Which Vitamin C Serum Is Best
When it comes to skincare, choosing a formula largely depends on your skin type, goals and budget. Luckily, the vitamin C serum category runs the gamut in ingredient concentration, price point and consistency. Identifying the right concentration for your skin type will determine how effective your serum will be, and starting slow could help ease your skin into this new regimen. Consider starting with a lower dose of 10% before increasing to 15% and 20%. Additionally, if you have normal or oily skin, consider using L-ascorbic acid, the most potent form of vitamin C. However, if your skin is dry or sensitive, opt for magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a water-soluble vitamin C, which is less irritating.
Similar Products: Comparable Products Are More Expensive
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic : This cult-favorite SkinCeuticals serum, which Byrdie contributing writer Jenna Igneri reviewed and loved, also packs in vitamin E and ferulic acidbut it comes with a $166 price tag. It also has a ton of research behind it, as well as clear ingredient percentages, so you can be confident that youll get results. If you can swing it in your budget, this is an excellent alternative.
Because of its affordable price tag and multifunctional use, Mad Hippie’s Vitamin C Serum is definitely worth a try. I was impressed that I saw results after just a few weeks, and the long list of active ingredients means that its working hard to improve the appearance of my skin, from dark spots and fine lines to that even-toned glow.
- Product Name Vitamin C Serum
- Product Brand Mad Hippie
The Best Refreshing Vitamin C Serum: Tula Brightening Treatment Drops Triple Vitamin C Serum $48
- Pros: Consistent at brightening and hydrating, works well on sensitive skin, smooth and refreshing
- Cons: None to speak of
Tulas Brightening Treatment Drops are literal drops of ocean-cool refreshment onto your skin. Its the serum I would choose if I need to really wake up in the morning and over time, gives some of the best, glowy results.
- Pros: Has the best consistency we tested good at giving an all-around, sweet glow
- Cons: Has a slightly strong floral scent, but nothing unusable
Rose Inc. shocked me with its ability to produce a natural-looking glow. Seriously, if you happen to skip your cleanser and moisturizer one day and just use the brands Radiant Reveal Clean Brightening Vitamin C Serum, youll be A-OK.
Its not too thick and not too runny, so its the Goldilocks winner of serums. Plus, its packaging is minimal and sealed, anti-bacteria safe.
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The Best Brightening Vitamin C Serum: Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum $45
- Pros: Has a sweet citrus scent, gives your skin an immaculate brightness that stood out from the rest
- Cons: May be too shiny for some
Mario Badescu certainly knew what he was doing when his Vitamin C Serum was born. Wow is an understatement I expected it to work well, but I was floored when I noticed how bright and glowy it left my skin.
It did, however, leave my skin a bit shinier than Id like after using, but if you want to see great brightening effects, this serum is your best bet.
- Pros: Has a fresh feel, leaves the skin plump
- Cons: Requires some mixing before use
Ive been one of Drunk Elephants No. 1 fans for years and have been using the C-Firma Fresh Day Serum regularly since I wrote a review on the product. It turns you into a bathroom mixologist and has one of the freshest, high-quality formulations yet.
Aside from its revitalized feel, it always leaves my skin plump and healthy, which is the ideal texture before catching those ZZZs.
Best With Spf: Supergoop Daily Dose Vitamin C + Spf 40 Serum
Niacinamide in combination with vitamin C fades dark spots
No physical SPF
Supergoop’s SPF 40 formula glides on like a serum, and can be used as a makeup primer during the day to helps prevent signs of photoaging .The hybrid formula boosts dull complexions and evens out discoloration with vitamin C and niacinamide while safeguarding your skin from the sun’s damaging rays with three chemical UV filters.
Benefits: UV protection, radiance-boosting, tone-evening, hydrating | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Generous amount 15 minutes before sun exposure | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Price at time of publish: $46
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Best For Dullness: Vasanti Brighten Up Glow Boosting Serum
Abyssinian kale oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E calm inflammation and redness
Contains synthetic fragrance
Vasanti’s Glow Boosting Serum tackles dullness with antioxidant superstars vitamin C, bearberry-derived arbutin, and Abyssinian kale oil. The formula soothes stressed skin and calms inflammation with aloe vera and vitamin E.
Benefits: Radiance-boosting, firming, hydrating, reparative, tone-evening, soothing | Skin Type: Balanced, dry, combination, oily | Dosage: 1 to 2 drops up to twice daily | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Price at time of publish: $39
Best Natural: Instanatural Vitamin C Serum
Ferulic acid and vitamin E boost vitamin Cs efficacy and stability
Licorice root extract and argan oil brighten and hydrate
InstaNatural’s wallet-friendly Vitamin C Serum flaunts an all-natural formula with hyaluronic acid, sea buckthorn oil, ferulic acid, and plant stem cells. In addition, radiance-boosting licorice root extract, argan oil, and cica deliver collagen boosting properties that help to repair cellular damage.
Benefits: Hydrating, radiance-boosting, reparative, rejuvenating | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Dime-sized amount twice daily | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Price at time of publish: $18
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Type And Concentration Of Vitamin C
Vitamin C comes in many forms, but the most common is L-ascorbic acid. If this is the active ingredient, the serum should contain 10 to 20 percent L-ascorbic acid and have an acidic pH of 2 to 2.5 for optimal absorption and results, Dr. Alam says.
If you have more sensitive skin and tend to react to skincare products, then it might be best to pick up a serum with a lower concentration of L-ascorbic acid, about 10 percent, or a product that contains a derivative of vitamin C that is gentler than L-ascorbic acid, such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl-6-palmitate, which have a neutral pH of 7, Dr. Alam says.
The takeaway? Its not always the percentage of vitamin C but the formof vitamin C thats most important for tolerance and effect, says Dr. Palm. If the specific serum youve been using seems to be causing a reaction or, on the flip side, not having much effect at all, ask your dermatologist if the particular form of vitamin C in your serum has been tested in published clinical trials: This is the true mark of a well-thought out, tested, and formulated vitamin C preparation, she advises.
Best For Dry Skin: Maelove The Glow Maker
Some users dislike the texture upon application
Its 3-month shelf life may be shorter than some would prefer
A cult beauty favorite, the Maelove Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum frequently sells out of stockbut if you can, we highly recommend getting your hands on it. With 15 percent L-ascorbic acid, it has plenty of vitamin C to even out your skin tone, reduce lines and wrinkles, and fight acne. But because it also has vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, it wont dry out your skin in the process.
Considering how budget-friendly it is compared to some other high-end brands, we think that its three-month shelf life is hardly an issue, especially since you’ll want to use this product every day. It also has a very mild scent that will leave your skin feeling and smelling fresh.
Key Ingredients: 15% L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid | Usage: Apply 3-5 drops to face, neck, and chest after cleansing and drying | Scent: Yes, but mild
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The Packaging: Product Too Runny For A Squeeze Tube
The majority of the vitamin C serums Ive tried are packaged in a glass bottle with a dropper, but this formula is packaged in a squeezable tubesomething I normally would prefer. However, for how runny this cream formula is, I found that if I opened the tube upside down, the product would begin to drip out . I think I would actually have preferred this formula to be packaged as a dropper bottle.
About My Skin: Vitamin C Changed My Complexion For The Better
I still cant believe it took me as long as it did to make vitamin C a part of my everyday routine, but after reviewing SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic earlier this year, Ill never look back. Ive long suffered from rough patches, bumpy texture, and a dull, sun-damaged complexion, and vitamin C has totally transformed my skin. Sure, its far from perfect, but its much smoother, plumper, and brighter, and I rely on a daily dose of topical C to keep its texture and tone in check and to prevent any fine lines from developing.
Typically, I reach for vitamin C during my morning routine, applying SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic after a spritz of facial spray or toner and before my facial oil or moisturizer. I would have swapped out SkinCeuticals for The Ordinary, but because The Ordinarys formula is stronger and causes a more intense stinging sensation, I chose to use it in the PM instead. After cleansing my face, I would pat on a dollop all over my face and neck, then follow it with night cream or facial oil. The only time I would use it in the morning was if I was using my GloPRO Microneedling Tool in the evening because applying vitamin C after micro-needling would cause some serious stinging.
Read Also: How To Use Vitamin C On Face
Best Dry Skin: Ursa Major Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum
Rosehip oil and aloe tamp inflammation
Lightweight, fast-acting formula
Ursa Majors blend of vitamin C, rosehip oil, aloe, and edelweiss-derived antioxidants create a featherweight formula for instant hydration. Reviewers note relief from inflammation, and a more radiant complexion within a couple of days.
Benefits: Hydrating, radiance-boosting, soothing | Skin Type: All | Dosage: 1 pump daily | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Price at time of publish: $56
Best Splurge: Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex
High concentration of ascorbic acid
Supports naturally healthy skin pH
Consistency is more like a lotion than a serum
Though it sits at a similarly high price point to SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, Dr. Saedi explains that many of her clients gravitate toward Revision C+ Correcting Complex because it is fragrance free and is more of a lotion in consistency, making it less irritating.
It also contains an extremely potent variety of vitamin C called THD ascorbate: A truly pH neutral and highly-absorbed form of vitamin C, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate has superior absorption through skin and better bioavailability, says Dr. Palm, adding that its extremely well tolerated and has been shown in clinical studies to decrease inflammation, roughness, and redness of the skin in addition to its skin brightening qualities.
Together with vitamin E, this serum is the perfect weapon for free radical damage, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and dark spots for all skin tones. It is also paraben and sulfate free.
Key Ingredients: THD Ascorbate 30% | Usage: Apply one pump evenly to the face, morning and night, after cleansing | Scent: None
Also Check: What Are The Food Sources Of Vitamin D
Accessories To Apply Vitamin C Serum
There are a number of tools you can use to apply vitamin c serum:
- Gua sha tool. This ancient Chinese technique is used to stimulate the facial fascia to increase skin circulation, remove blockages, and increase blood flow. Gua sha tools can be paired with any serum to help the tool glide more effectively over the skin and make absorption more effective.
- Jade roller. Like gua sha tools, jade rollers can help increase circulation, depuff skin, reduce inflammation, and expedite product absorption.
- Ionic wand for face. Using ionic technology, an ionic wand opens up the pores to help push active ingredients within a serum deep into the skin for better penetration and absorption.
Best Multitasker: Pca Skin C
Courtesy of Dermstore
Hyaluronic acid hydrates and plumps
Lilac stem cell extract helps control oil production and restore skin
Antioxidants stabilize vitamin C
Formula can feel tacky
A highly-reviewed pick from clinical label PCA, this brightening serum contains hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and a blend of antioxidants to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Lilac stem cell extract is effective in controlling oil, leaving you with a smooth, matte finish. Reviewers note that the formula is particularly efficacious at fading sun spots.
Benefits: Hydrating, radiance-boosting, oil-controlling | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Dime-sized amount twice daily | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Price at time of publish: $120
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Sarah is a freelance writer with a focus on health and wellness. She has written for publications like Women’s Health, Healthline, and Parents. She taught creative writing for five years, and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Southern Connecticut State University.
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Topical vitamin C can seriously benefit your skin. According to Nazanin Saedi, MD, director of Jefferson Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology Center in Philadelphia, vitamin C is a key ingredient in many skin care products because of its reputation for reducing acne scarring, erasing fine lines, and evening out skin tone. And with a good vitamin C serum, you can improve your skin complexion, minimize hyperpigmentation, and help improve skin texture.