How Vitamin C Works
Scars form as part of the healing response to a wound in the skin. Collagen is an integral part of this process as its a necessary component in the new tissue required to heal a wound. And vitamin C is a key player when it comes to creating collagen. Even though collagen and wounds are usually discussed in the context of repairing fresh injuries, since collagen helps make healthy tissue, it can impact older scars as well and improve their appearance. And since scientists already know that topical vitamin C can help reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation , it stands to reason that vitamin C could also help minimize the discoloration of acne scars.
That said, while you dont necessarily want to apply topical vitamin C directly into an open sore, you also shouldnt wait for a rainy day to begin treating your acne scars. While studies have shown the effectiveness of a combination of topical vitamin C and hyaluronic acid on scars more than four weeks old, theres not a lot of data demonstrating how well vitamin C works at reducing long-ago acne scars. The takeaway here is: Dont wait to start treatment.
Paulas Choice C15 Super Booster
This is another cult favorite, and for good reason. The PC Vitamin C is one of the best dupes for the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. However, it does have a lot more ingredients that the Skinceuticals one, so it may not be the best for sensitive skin types.
But, as anything with Paulas Choice, theres nothing but great ingredients in their products, so all those extra ingredients serve a purpose. They also include what the ingredient does in parentheses which is so nice!
Paulas Choice C15 Super Booster Ingredients:
Water , Ascorbic Acid , Butylene Glycol , Ethoxydiglycol , Glycerin , PPG-26-Buteth-26 , PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil , Pentylene Glycol , Tocopherol , Sodium Hyaluronate , Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate , Lecithin , Ferulic Acid , Panthenol , Bisabolol , Oryza Sativa Bran Extract , Propyl Gallate , Sodium Gluconate , Sodium Hydroxide , Phenoxyethanol , Ethylhexylglycerin .
As you can see, this serum has the same 3 main ingredients: Ascorbic acid, tocopherol and ferulic acid, so its a great alternative to the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic! Of all the dupes, the Paulas Choice booster is the most expensive, and it also has a lengthy ingredients list, which can be a problem for sensitive skin. However, the ingredients in the C15 Booster are amazing for the skin. From antioxidants to hydrating and soothing ingredients, this serum packs a punch.
- Can be mixed in with other serums or moisturizers
Should You Use Vitamin C Every Day
Vitamin C can be used every day, as long as it is tolerated well and not irritating the skin or causing an adverse reaction, says Pritzker. However, if youre new to the vitamin C serum scene, it may be best to start at a lower concentration or apply it less frequently because it can cause irritation.
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Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
The Ordinary Serum for Fighting Acne and Evening Skin Tone
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
This product from The Ordinary hosts an impressive variety of benefits. Azelaic acid is a brightening skincare ingredient known for minimizing acne, lightening hyperpigmentation, and reducing redness.
This product contains a 10% concentration of azelaic acid, a gentle exfoliator that has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. The lightweight gel-cream helps to improve and brighten skin tone, as well as unclog pores and reduce blemishes for clear, smooth skin.
- Some reviewers note that this product can be drying
In addition to its ability to fight acne, azelaic acid is often used to treat rosacea to promote a more even skin tone.
Aqua , Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Dimethicone, Azelaic Acid, Dimethicone/Bis-Isobutyl PPG-20 Crosspolymer, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polysilicone-11, Isohexadecane, Tocopherol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Isoceteth-20, Polysorbate 60, Triethanolamine, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. “Azelaic acid”
Accessed Aug. 11, 2021.
Nufountain C20+ferulic Vitamin C Serum
Best for: hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone
This powerful serum boasts a 20 percent concentration of topical L-ascorbic acid. Combined with ferulic acid and additional antioxidants, this ascorbic acid delivers a significant boost to the skin. Hyaluronic acid and panthenol work together to provide essential moisturizing capabilities to the skin. This serum is made fresh with each order, guaranteeing that you receive a potent and effective product. The serum will provide the best results when used daily. The color and fragrance-free serum is suitable for all types of skin.
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Vitamin C Serum For Acne Scars: Natural Skin Treatment
For those looking for an ingredient that truly works to combat acne, you may be better off tossing those synthetic drugstore creams, and turning instead to the natural acne-fighting power of vitamin C.
It is typically found in the form of L-ascorbate or ascorbic acid for skincare products, is a powerful antioxidant that works to keep your skin healthy and beautiful.
Because vitamin C is water-soluble this vital nutrient easily passed through the human body if it is only ingested as part of our diets.
With a topical treatment, on the other hand, you can reap the true acne fighting and rejuvenating potential of this substance by applying it directly to the source of your skins problem areas.
Because our bodies do not have a place to store any excess Vitamin C, it is imperative that it is consumed or applied frequently to avoid any deficiency.
Fighting spots with Vitamin C acne scars treatments yields positive results when properly applied. In order to experience the maximum benefits from Vitamin C acne treatments, it is advised to utilize topical solutions like best Vitamin C serum for acne scars on a regular basis.
In addition, many formulas combine the antioxidant power of Vitamin C with that of Vitamin E, because these two powerhouse ingredients have been shown to be a powerful combination when it comes to reducing and preventing spots.
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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What Can Vitamin C Do For Your Skin
In skin care, a great vitamin C tip is that it can do a few really helpful things if you know its use. First, vitamin C can actually inhibit the production of melanin, the pigment in the skin, which makes it a crucial ingredient for managing hyperpigmentation and generally evening out skin tone.
Second, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which means it can help neutralize free radicals. These are unstable atoms that form as a result of exposure to environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution. Over time, free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which can harm the skin and cause premature signs of aging. Using sunscreen daily along with a potent antioxidant like vitamin C is the best way to protect yourself from damage due to free radicals.
Best Overall: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic
Contains vitamin C-boosting ferulic acid
Encourages production of collagen for firmer skin
Some users dislike the texture
Who else recommends it? The Strategist, Self, and Byrdie all picked Skinceuticals C E Ferulic.
What do buyers say? 4,300+ Dermstore reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
We picked this vitamin C serum as our best overall because this antioxidant-rich formula checks off a lot of vitamin C serum boxes: it contains 15% pure vitamin C and 1% vitamin E , which means the Skinceuticals serum can brighten your complexion at the same time as it protects your skin against free radicals .
It also contains 0.5% ferulic acid, an ingredient that Melanie Palm, MD, dermatologist at Art of Skin MD in San Diego, California, says increases the absorption of vitamin C by nearly 90 percentso youll know its reallyworking. This serum is a bit pricier than others on our list, but its a bestseller for a reason its suitable for all skin types and can last you a pretty long time, since you only need a few drops per use.
Key Ingredients: 15% L-ascorbic acid, 1% alpha tocopherol, 0.5% ferulic acid | Usage: Apply four to five drops each morning after cleansing and drying face | Scent: Has a scent
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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
The Ordinary Vitamin C Brightening Serum
One of the more cost-effective options, this serum contains vitamin C derivative that reviewers say really brightens your skin. Not to mention, the formula is extremely lightweight and won’t feel greasy after application, since it absorbs quickly.
One reviewer wrote: “I love this product. I can visibly see my dark spots disappearing! I have had many different laser treatments, including IPL, none of which have ever worked. But this product definitely does! I have only been using it a week and I can see a dramatic difference.”
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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 Does Vitamin C Serum Do
Vitamin C, also called L-ascorbic acid, is a key nutrient that plays an important role in our general health. We get our essential doses of vitamin C through the foods we eat every day, but can applying a vitamin C serum directly onto the skin have additional skincare, health, and aesthetic benefits?
GP Dr Ginni Mansberg, skin expert and founder of ESK Skincare, explains why the skincare industry is keen to use vitamin C:
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Vitamin C Suspension 23% + Ha Spheres 2%
The Ordinary Vitamin C Serum for Evening Skin Tone and Fighting the Signs of Aging
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
This is one of the best The Ordinary products to add to your skincare routine, because it contains a potent concentration of vitamin C , which brightens and evens out overall skin tone while fighting the signs of aging.
Those looking to brighten their skin tone while also fighting against the signs of aging should turn to this product, which has the highest concentration of antioxidant-rich vitamin C of any of the products the brand offers. Since vitamin C has been shown to help with hyperpigmentation, this option is also great for those looking to even out dark spots. In addition to vitamin C, this product contains sodium hyaluronate , which increases moisture in the skin.
- May irritate sensitive skin
Since this product contains such a high percentage of vitamin C, some users may experience tingling as their skin adjusts, particularly if theyre newer to topical vitamin C.
Ascorbic Acid, Squalane, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Coconut Alkanes, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glucomannan, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Trihydroxystearin, BHT.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. “Vitamin C in dermatology”
Accessed Aug. 11, 2021.
How Do You Cure Acne Scars
2. Lemon juice. Another best remedy for acne scars on the back is lemon juice. It contains citric acid, which lightens scars, and vitamin C, which helps the skin regenerate new cells. Wash your back with lukewarm water and pat dry with a towel. Apply fresh lemon juice to the affected area with a cotton swab. Let stand for 10 minutes.
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How & When Do I Use Ascorbic Acid & Alpha Arbutin
- Use this in the morning and the evening if you wish.
- This is an anhydrous solution so apply after water-based products and before oils and creams if using.
- Just a couple of drops for your face. If you feel you need more, use more but it´s best to start off with a small amount.
- Avoid the eyes.
- Always use an SPF.
What Were Looking For
Formulation: All of our experts agree: Formulation is paramount to vitamin Cs stability. The more stable, the better, because you reap all of the glow-inducing benefits. A product must be formulated carefully to enable sufficient delivery to the skin, Dr. Kenneth Howe of the Wexler Dermatology Group explains. As for how much vitamin C should be in a given formulation, Lal recommends at least 10 percent. Less than that and you dont get the full benefit of the product, and over 20 percent, you dont get any additional benefits and are more likely to experience irritation. However, this doesnt really mean much when it comes to derivatives because, according to Lal, once the derivatives hit the skin, a 10 percent concentration is much closer to 3 or 4 percent.
Packaging: Your vitamin C should come in a dark or opaque bottle. This helps prevent oxidation, which happens when it is exposed to sunlight or isnt kept in an airtight bottle. It will be obvious that this is happening because the formula will darken in color. To prevent this, our experts recommend keeping it away from sunlight and storing it somewhere dark, along with closing the bottle tightly.
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Power 10 Formula Li Effector With Licorice
Itâs Skin Serum for Brightening and Evening Skin Tone
Itâs Skin Power 10 Formula LI Effector with Licorice
This affordable serum contains a high concentration of licorice extract, which works to brighten and promote a more even skin tone.
This Korean serum is perfect for those looking to even out their skin tone. Licorice extract is known to help fade hyperpigmentation and melasma, improve skin texture, soothe the skin, and reduce redness.
This daily serum can also be combined with other Itâs Skin Power 10 serums to target specific skin concerns youâre looking to address.
Water, Glycyrrhiza, Glabra Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin,Polyglutamic, Acid, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA
National Center for Biotechnology Information. “Cosmeceuticals for Hyperpigmentation: What is Available?”
Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
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.
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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.
More Faqs About Ascorbic Acid & Alpha Arbutin
Can I use Vitamin C Suspension 30% with Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% and Glycolic Acid Toning at the same time? It may not be necessary to apply both Vitamin C products in the same routine. We would suggest alternating between Glycolic Acid and Pure Vitamin C and waiting until your skin has adjusted to one before introducing another.
Can Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% at the same time as The Ordinary Buffet? It is best to not use Peptides in the same routine as the following products: Direct acids, LAA and ELAA .
Can I use the Ascorbic Acid & Alpha Arbutin in the evening and the Niacinamide in the morning? Yes, you can.
I use the Ascorbic Acid + Alpha Arbutin after Hyaluronic Acid and I get residue-type flakes. Is there something that Im doing wrong? Pilling often occurs due to many different reasons, for example, the amount of the product being applied, consistencies of the products being used in conjunction, the total number of products being applied, etc.
You may be applying too much product to your skin. Your skin can only absorb a certain amount of product, and any excess will be left on top of the skin so that when the next product is being applied, it rubs off. We recommend using 1-2 drops of each product, massaging it into the skin until it is fully absorbed in order to move on to the next.
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