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.
The Type Of Vitamin C
Vitamin C in its pure form is L-ascorbic acid, but when it comes to topical products it can vary. Some of the most effective ones to look out for are L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl 6 palmitate, disodium isostearyl 2-0 L-ascorbyl phosphate, tetris palmitoyl ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid sulfate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl glucoside2.
Some forms are prone to oxidation , so if your product takes on a yellow-ish appearance once opened, chances are its lost its efficacy.
Beauty Stat Universal C Skin Refiner
Founded by cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson, this serum contains vitamin C in its purest form, with a unique patented formula of stable 20% pure vitamin C and stable epigallocatechin gallate, which is a skin-aiding ingredient found in green tea. The two ingredients work well together to prevent signs of aging, alongside squalane for moisture and tartaric acid which helps the skin absorb product more easily. New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss is a fan of the formula too because it is a patented version of stabilized 20% L Ascorbic Acid that does not oxidize, though she recommends approaching it with caution because of the high concentration.
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Hyper Skin Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum
Hyper Skin is a brand hyper-focused on treating the needs of people of color, says founder Desiree Verdejo. The lines debut product, Hyper Clear, helps to heal hyperpigmentation while simultaneously enhancing glow with its blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, kojic acid, hyaluronic acid, turmeric, and bearberry.
The Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serums 2022
Posted on Last updated: July 31, 2022
Drugstores are finally offering vitamin C serums that work just as well as their luxury counterparts. Many large drugstore skincare brands have introduced vitamin C serums that are very effective without the triple-digit price tag. So today, lets talk about the best drugstore vitamin C serums.
The popularity of vitamin C in skincare has grown exponentially in recent years thanks to the multitude of anti-aging benefits it offers the skin.
Vitamin C serums are formulated to deliver this potent ingredient to the skin in stable formulas and in a way that it is effectively absorbed so that it can go to work on issues like wrinkles and fine lines, dullness, uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, dark spots and loss of elasticity.
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How To Choose The Best Vitamin C Serum For You
Whats the best way to apply my vitamin C serum?
Apply the serum to your face and neck after cleansing, but before moisturising, to allow the product to penetrate the skin. As vitamin C contains a mild acid, you might experience a tingling or mild stinging sensation when applying your serum.
The discomfort should be mild and temporary to avoid more painful stinging, apply a thin layer every other day at first until your skin becomes used to the product. Go especially easy on sensitive skin. Its wise to start with a lower concentration at first and avoid applying vitamin C on broken skin.
Vitamin C can feel a little gritty or sticky on the skin at first, but this stickiness should disappear once the product is absorbed. If your skincare regime also includes retinol, its best to not use these at the same time as they can each cause mild irritation apply your vitamin C in the morning and your retinol at night.
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What are the benefits of vitamin C and what do the different concentrations do?
Vitamin C at any concentration will help to freshen up, plump and repair skin. Higher concentrations of vitamin C boost the products brightening and pigment-reducing effects so if you especially want to target dark spots and discolouration, youll want to work up to a stronger serum containing a higher percentage of the active ingredient. Always note our advice above about skin sensitivity when using higher concentrations of vitamin C, though.
Best Budget: The Ordinary Vitamin C 23% + Ha Spheres 2%
Addition of squalane accelerates cellular turnover
Hyaluronic acid hydrates with a matte finish
The Ordinary’s beloved vitamin C serum-lotion hybrid contains a hefty dose of radiance-boosting L-ascorbic acid, a pure form of the antioxidant, plus squalane and hyaluronic acid to hydrate, plump, and smooth.
Benefits: Radiance-boosting, hydrating, smoothing | Skin Type: Dry, oily, mature, combination | Dosage: Small amount nightly | Size: 1 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | No
Price at time of publish: $7
What Our Testers Say
“By the end of the day, my skin still felt soft and glowy.” Jenna Igneri, Product Tester and Editor
What About Powder To Diy My Own Vitamin C Benefits
Got too many skin potions already? You can add a daily pinch of vitamin C powder to an existing serum or moisturizer in your routine.
You may have seen some skin care lines touting C powders, like Philosophys turbo booster version, which is nearly 100 percent ascorbic acid. Or you can snag a food-grade supplement powder, like NutriBiotic, at your favorite vitamin retailer for a fraction of the cost.
|Pros of vitamin C powders||Cons of vitamin C powders|
|inexpensive if purchasing as a supplement||not as convenient|
|adjustable||could cause irritation at high concentrations|
|longer shelf life in powder form||may not stay as sanitary over time|
Keep in mind that the combo of vitamin C with other specific ingredients, like vitamin E and ferulic acid, are what help stabilize it and allow your skin to absorb it.
So, playing chemist in your bathroom with your own array of products may not produce the same results as buying a pre-crafted serum. However, if youre a diehard DIY-er, you can use a powder to make your own affordable and serum with all the necessary ingredients.
Whatever brand or form you buy, the bottom line is that vitamin C is one of the best tried-and-true ingredients for your skin with lots of research to back it up. You dont need a fancy version to reap vitamin Cs skin-saving rewards.
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.
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What Are The Skin Benefits Of Vitamin C
Studies have shown that using Vitamin C for at least three months improved the appearance of fine lines and deep wrinkles, and improved overall skin texture and appearance.
“Vitamin C is a superstar ingredient for the skin,” says Dr SalomÃ© Metreveli , dermatologist and co-founder of Sky Clinic . “It has many anti-ageing benefits, including brightening the skin, helping combat hyperpigmentation, promoting collagen production and even protecting the skin from sun damage. It can also help the skin to recover from free radical damage.”
Jack Black Brightening Booster Vitamin C Serum 1 Oz
- A significant number of participants reported that skin looked brighter and revitalized.
- They said Brightening Booster Vitamin C Serum is hydrating and moisturizing.
- A significant number of participants said their skin looked firmer, with a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.
- A majority of participants reported improved overall appearance of the skin.
Check Latest Price
|Mature Dry Oily Combination Normal|
Reviews From Real Customers
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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
Best Clean Beauty: Drunk Elephant C
Mixed after purchasing for maximum potency and freshness
Powerful trio of vitamin C, E, and ferulic acid
Some may not like its strong odor
May be too oily for some skin
Drunk Elephant has gained a loyal following for their commitment to using clean ingredients without skimping on effectiveness, which is why we recommend this pick to anyone looking for a clean, natural serum.
Drunk Elephant cuts out essential oils, alcohols, fragrances and dyes, and chemical sunscreen to prevent skin irritation, leaving you with a serum thats simply packed with the potent antioxidant cocktail of 15% L-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, and vitamin E. As a total bonus, it also includes fruit extracts, like pumpkin and pomegranate, to remove dead skin cells, brighten your skin, and leave it glowing.
Key Ingredients: 15% L-ascorbic acid, 0.5% ferulic acid, 1% vitamin E | Usage: Apply one pump face, neck, and chest after cleansing and drying | Scent: Yes, may be unpleasant
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The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + Ha Spheres 2%
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%: A Water-Free, Silicone-Free Stable Suspension of vitamin C serum and hyaluronic acid to brighten and protect skin against aging by Deciem.
Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant and its pure form of L-Ascorbic Acid has been shown to reverse multiple signs of skin aging while brightening the skin when applied topically. This water-free, silicone-free serum provides 23% pure L-Ascorbic Acid which remains completely stable due to the absence of water. This Vitamin C serum is supported with the addition of dehydrated spheres of Hyaluronic Acid to offer visible surface smoothing alongside the benefits of Vitamin C. This treatment is ideally applied at bedtime.
Note: L-Ascorbic Acid is the pure form of Vitamin C and is unstable in presence of water. This formulation suspends extremely fine L-Ascorbic Acid in a silicone-free base without the use of water, maximizing topical delivery of the Vitamin C suspension.
The Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum
Maelove Vitamin C Serum for Brightening and Anti-Aging
Maelove The Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum
This lightweight and oil-free vitamin C serum from Maelove combines vitamin C with other powerful ingredients to fight signs of aging, brighten, and hydrate the skin.
This affordable vitamin C serum contains a 15% concentration of l-ascorbic acid , which works to minimize signs of aging, promote a more even skin tone, and brighten the complexion. It also contains vitamin E and ferulic acid, two antioxidant-rich ingredients that have been proven to increase the efficacy of vitamin C. The Glow Maker also features hyaluronic acid, which helps hydrate the skin.
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Some reviewers complain that the serum oxidizes easily
This lightweight serum contains a botanical blend that helps soothe and nourish the skin. It includes aloe, magnolia, and vitis vinifera.
Water , Ascorbic Acid, Ethoxydiglycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ferulic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Callus Culture Extract, Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract, Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Metabisulfite, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyglycerin, Maltodextrin, Tocopherol
National Center for Biotechnology. “Vitamin C in dermatology”
Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.
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Vitamin C Concentrated Serum
Derma E Vitamin C Serum for Brightening and Anti-Aging
Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum
This affordable vitamin C serum contains a stable and effective form of vitamin C, as well as additional ingredients that help hydrate and soothe the skin.
Vitamin C an antioxidant that fights free radicals that can damage the skin is key for a rounded out skincare routine, and this option is affordable and effective. It contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable form of vitamin C that doesnt deteriorate as easily as other forms. It is able to brighten the skin and fight signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
- Contains fragrance
In addition to vitamin C, this serum contains a blend of ingredients that hydrate, soothe, and nourish the skin, including hyaluronic acid, green tea leaf extract, rosehip oil, and aloe vera extract.
Purified Water, Glycerin , Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate , Sodium Hyaluronate , Organic Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract*, Microcrystalline Cellulose , Cellulose Gum , Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide , Polymnia Sonchifolia Root Juice, Maltodextrin, Lactobacillus , Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Extract *, Allantoin, Panthenol , Tocopheryl Acetate , Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride , Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Natural Fragrance Oils
Cerave Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum
CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum contains 10% pure l-ascorbic acid , three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate, and vitamin B5.
Pure vitamin C provides antioxidant benefits like protection from UV exposure and environmental stressors. It also helps to brighten the skin and support an even skin tone. Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, and Ceramide EOP replenish the skins natural moisture barrier. Vitamin B5 helps to soothe the skin.
The serum also contains CeraVes proprietary MVE Technology that delivers key ingredients over time for better hydration and nourishment for up to 24 hours.
This CeraVe vitamin C serum is non-comedogenic, meaning it wont clog pores. It is also fragrance-free and paraben-free. Its lightweight, absorbs quickly, and works well under makeup.
The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% is a water-free stable solution of pure vitamin C plus 2% alpha arbutin.
This serum is all about brightening. Pure vitamin C offers antioxidant, brightening, and anti-aging benefits, while alpha arbutin interrupts melanin formation to reduce hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and uneven skin tone.
This is one of 8 vitamin C products offered by The Ordinary. I included this serum as one of the best drugstore vitamin C serums for a few reasons. First of all, it contains pure vitamin C, not a derivative. No matter how effective a vitamin C derivative is, it wont be more effective than pure vitamin C.
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Drugstore Vitamin C Serum Versus Luxury Brand
While this isnt a blog article to tell you that luxury vitamin C serums arent effective, not everyone can to pay 50-plus dollars for a skincare product especially when its just one of several components to make up an entire routine. However, when shopping for a drugstore vitamin C serum, there are a couple of things to look for to get a quality product at a lower price point.
For starters, the packaging is vital. To get the best vitamin C serum benefits, the first thing to look for is how the vitamin C serum is packaged. While traditionally, dark glass bottles were the preferred material, companies have made many packaging innovations to keep the C stable. When C is exposed to light, the product turns yellow you dont want this to happen because it may darken your skin instead of helping with hyperpigmentation issues. Always store your vitamin C serum in a cool, dark place.
Second, keep an eye out for the concentration level of vitamin C in the serum to ensure its effectiveness. Most experts agree that a level between 10 and 20% is the sweet spot 8% is too low, whereas going over 20% could cause irritation and isnt any more effective. Note that L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate are vitamin C derivatives designed to retain potency for longer. Lastly, you should also make sure that the product has a water-free formulation.