How To Use Vitamin C Serum
Because the environmental aggressors that create free radicals are typically encountered during the day, vitamin C is usually incorporated into morning routines. You can use a vitamin C serum at night, but it will likely negatively interact with other active ingredients typically used at night, such as retinol or AHAs. You do not need to apply vitamin C serum twice a day.
After cleansing, toning, and hydrating with an essence or another serum, layer your vitamin C serum before finishing up with moisturizer and SPF. There are many reasons why you have to wear UVA/UVB protection every single day, but SPF and vitamin C really are two peas in a podboth work to lessen the effects of oxidative stress on your skin. Your vitamin C serum doesnt have to work as hard when combined with SPF, and vice versa.
Grab Your Vitamin C Serum
Now we get to the important part: applying the vitamin C serum to your skin. Your face is clean, shiny, toned, and ready for some love. Youre excited to see those benefits of vitamin C go straight to your face! But hold on, dont douse your face with a flood of serum.
Remember, a little bit goes a long way when it comes to serum, as its intended to directly give you great active ingredients and set a healthy base for moisturizing products in the next step. Plus, you just spent money on this valuable serum. Enjoy it, but dont let it go to waste by using a huge amount. This isn’t a hair conditioner.
Start With A Patch Test
Treat your skin to a patch test about 48 hours before using vitamin C serum on your face for the first time. Youll be able to see if you have a reaction before using it all over your face.
A patch test is simple: Just dab a little bit of the product on the inside of your elbow or wrist and leave it there for 48 hours. If you dont notice any irritation, redness, or other strange reactions at that time, you can proceed with the next steps.
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Which Ingredients Should You Avoid When Using Vitamin C
Exfoliating acids, when applied immediately after vitamin C, can irritate. But that doesnt mean you cant use them in one regimen. Just avoid using them at the same time. You can use vitamin C in the morning and then exfoliate in the evening.
Another skincare ingredient to be wary of when using vitamin C is niacinamide. Thats because if niacinamide is in a combined water-based product , it inactivates vitamin C.
Again, that doesnt mean you should avoid it altogether and lose out on its benefits. No, use it as part of your nighttime routine.
Can I Mix Two Serums Together
Yes, it is completely okay to mix 2 or more serums! However, there are a couple of guidelines to abide by when mixing serums. First of all, you need to be mixing them in the palm of your hand before applying to your face.
Secondly, it is important to make sure that the serums you are planning to mix are of the same texture and consistency. This is in order for them to mix well without clotting, otherwise the mixture is not going to turn out smooth. If the serums you are planning to mix have different textures, worry not, there is still something you can do. Start with the serum which has the lightest texture and move on to the serum that has a heavier texture. It is also important to apply the most potent serums first and the least potent ones second.
Which Form Of Vitamin C Is The Best For Skin
Vitamin C comes in many forms, but L-ascorbic acid is considered the gold standard. Its well studied and backed by a lot of research.
L-ascorbic acid is the purest form of vitamin C, meaning that it contains no other ingredients, which can be helpful for those who want to avoid any unnecessary additives in their products.
L-ascorbic acid is an effective antioxidant that reverses and prevents signs of aging due to photo-damage from UV exposure, says Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, Board Certified Dermatologist and Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Yale.
Its also beneficial for those with acne and damaged skin because it helps build collagen and elastin while improving hyperpigmentation.
Youll find L-ascorbic acid listed as an ingredient in most vitamin C serums. So if youre looking to incorporate the best form of vitamin C into your routine, L-ascorbic acid is your best bet.
If you have dry skin and need a little more hydration, look for a serum that also contains hyaluronic acid.
How Do I Use Vitamin C Products
The general rule for skincare order of operations is to work thin to thick.
Apply formulas with a thinner consistency first so they have a chance to absorb into skin before applying thicker products.
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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
What Does Vitamin C Do For Your Skin
What exactly does vitamin C do for your skin? Well, it has the potential to help with a lot of issues, especially when applied topically in serum form. Vitamin C has a wide range of protective and anti-aging effects for the skin, Annie Chiu, MD, a board-certified cosmetic and general dermatologist on faculty at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, tells SELF. Serums typically offer the highest concentrations of active vitamin C and tend to have better skin penetration compared to other vitamin C products, like creams and cleansers. Here are a few of the biggies when it comes to benefits:
Thats because the antioxidant can help your skin produce collagena protein that gives your complexion a firmer, bouncier feel, which in turn helps to improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles, Dr. Chiu explains.
With consistent use, your skin can become more even in toneand downright glowy! because vitamin C inhibits the over-production of melanin, the substance in your body that produces pigmentation in your hair, eyes, and skin. Some areas of the skin will create too much melanin which is what leads to hyperpigmentation. This often manifests as darkened skin discoloration, says Dr. Chiu.
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Vitamin C Serum Can And Will Act As A Pro
Ever notice that vitamin C serums turn brown after sitting on the shelf for a month? That brown color happened because the serum oxidized, and oxidation occurs in all serums containing vitamin C. Oxidation is a destructive process , and when you put a vitamin C serum on your skin, it will cause oxidation and skin damage. This is due to the pro-oxidant effect of vitamin C in skin care.
A pro-oxidant is the opposite of an antioxidant. Where an anti-oxidant is a molecule that prevents oxidation of other molecules, and hence protects against the cell-damaging effects of free radical production, a pro-oxidant does the reverse, and induces oxidative stress, either by generating reactive oxygen species or by inhibiting antioxidant systems.
Vitamin C on its own can act as an anti-oxidant. So when you eat foods high in vitamin C, you get the health benefit of the vitamin donating electrons, and thus preventing oxidation of tissue, lipids, protein, and DNA.
When vitamin C acts as a pro-oxidant, the consequences include irritation, inflammation, collagen and elastin breakdown, and acne. So if you have any of these skin ailments, and are using a vitamin C serum, then its time to re-think your regimen.
Vitamin C serum can become a pro-oxidant when exposed to atmospheric oxygen, so just by living on Earth you are putting yourself at risk when wearing a Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C can also become a pro-oxidant when in contact with metal.
Vitamin C + Ahas/bhas
Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are chemical exfoliants that can totally transform your skin game. While AHA helps renew the skins surface, BHA gets deeper into the pores to remove dead cells and excess sebum. Alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy and Vitamin C are all acidic ingredients. Therefore, when you layer AHA/BHA with Vitamin C, you will experience irritation on your skin. What you could instead do is use Vitamin C in the morning and AHA/BHA in the night or alternate between AHA/BHA and Vitamin C every night.
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Vitamin C Serum And Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule our bodies produce naturally in our skin, bones, connective tissue, hair follicles, and cartilage.
As a natural humectant , its a skincare ingredient to reckon with for its anti-aging benefits.
Again, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid each have their benefits, But when paired, they make a remarkable, highly effective skincare formula.
How Do You Use Vitamin C Serum In Your Skin
The right moment to use vitamin C in your skin-care routine depends on what kind of product it is, Dr. Hogan explains. Serums are the most popular pick, but you can also get vitamin C in cleansers, moisturizers, masks, and even sunscreens, Dr. Hogan says. Of course, a product that stays on your skin for hours is going to work longer and harder, but the type of vitamin C used in the formulation matters too.
The effectiveness will vary depending on which form of vitamin C is used, as well as the concentration and the other ingredients in the product, Dr. Chiu says. As we mentioned, youll want to look for a research-backed form of vitamin C like L-ascorbic acid on the ingredient list, somewhere between 5% to 20% , and bonus points if its paired with other antioxidants like vitamin E or ferulic acid.
However, if you want the most potent effects, youll want to reach for a serum, as the topical skin-care benefits of vitamin C have been studied most extensively in this type of formulation. Not sure how to add it to your routine? Heres the best way to apply a vitamin C serum:
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Why Should You Use Vitamin C Serum
Vitamin C is a type of vitamin that the human body needs but cannot produce on its own. As such, you need to get it from food or skincare products like vitamin C serums.
Vitamin C serum is an excellent way to replenish your skin with the nourishment that it needs and keep your skin healthy and clear. When applied to the skin, the serum helps fight signs of aging, reduce hyperpigmentation and treat other skin concerns.
How Vitamin C Serum Works
To understand how vitamin C works, you first have to understand free radicals. These natural molecules arent bad on their own, but they can become a problem when they build up. In high numbers, they can break cells down over time, contributing to illness and aging.
Antioxidants help fight free radicals, though, keeping everything in balance. Vitamin C is one such antioxidant.
- protect your skin from sun damage
If youre interested in trying vitamin C serum but arent sure how to pick one, dont worry. We rounded up 10 great options for you.
In selecting our top vitamin C serums picks, we looked at:
- Price. We included a range of options to suit many budgets.
- Customer reviews. We looked for serums highly rated by online reviewers.
- Potency. Each product contains at least 10 percent vitamin C.
- Packaging. Vitamin C serum should be packaged in opaque packaging. Otherwise, it can break down when exposed to light, causing it to be less effective.
Its worth keeping in mind that there are different types of vitamin C, and not all of them are equally effective.
We mostly chose products made with:
- L-ascorbic acid
- Key ingredients: glycolic acid, vitamin C
- Key features: cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free
- Skin type: oily or combination skin
Why we love it: Vitamin C can be a little unstable, breaking down easily when exposed to light, air, or water. Murad uses gold to stabilize the vitamin C in this serum, which the brand says results in a stronger product.
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Benefits Of Vitamin C For Skin
Vitamin C is an impressive skincare ingredient that is shown to be effective in the following areas:
- Protects against environmental stressors: As an antioxidant, one of vitamin Cs main functions is protecting the skin. âNormal cellular processes, as well as environmental insults like ultraviolet light and pollution, create free radicals in the skin,â Herrmann explains. âFree radicals are inherently unstable molecules that damage cells, promoting skin dullness, wrinkles, and even cancers.â Guanche adds, âVitamin C is an antioxidant, which means that it can protect to skin from damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure.â By scavenging these free radicals, vitamin C protects the skin, keeping it healthy and improving visible signs of aging.
- Promotes collagen production: Vitamin C also plays an important role in collagen synthesis. âCollagen gives our skin support and structure, and as it degrades with age, we begin to notice wrinkles and lines,â Herrmann explains. âVitamin C is a necessary cofactor for building collagen bundles, without which this process halts.â
- Lightens brown spots: Vitamin C is also helpful in lightening unwanted brown spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or decreasing brown discoloration by blocking the pathway of pigment synthesis, according to both Herrmann and Guanche.
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Avoid Making These 5 Mistakes When Using A Vitamin C Serum
Vitamin C serums are regarded as skin heroes for a reason. A hot favourite in skincare kits, the multifunctional ingredient does it all from promoting collagen production and strengthening the skin barrier to brightening the skin and evening out rough skin texture. And we’ve got the right Vitamin C serum pick for you too it’s the Lakmé 9 to 5 Vitamin C+ Facial Serum. Enriched with Kakadu Plum, the richest source of Vitamin C in the world, this magical serum harnesses the power of the potent ingredient. It reduces skin dullness by fighting free radicals and promoting skin health.
But now that you’ve got your serum sorted do you actually know how to use it? Or, to rephrase that do you know what not to do while using it? While Vitamin C is great for your skin, there are a few things that can make you go from ‘best serum ever’ to ‘what is happening to my face?’ To ensure that doesn’t happen, we’re listing down the five things to avoid while using Vitamin C serum at all costs. Read on.
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Who Should Use A Vitamin C Serum On Their Skin
Saedi recommends vitamin C serums for people of all ages because virtually everyone is at risk of sun damage, and with vitamin C serums we are minimizing the amount of sun damage that our skins getting from sunlight, she says. She says it does double duty, both protecting the skin and helping problem areas recover. Its preventive in that its protecting you from sun damage and signs of aging like wrinkles, Saedi says. It also helps promote collagen and boost your natural collagen formation.
Should You Swap Your Serum For Powdered Vitamin C For Glowing Skin
The popular antioxidant may be even more powerful in its powder form. Heres what you need to know before adding it to your routine.
The benefits of vitamin C for skin have turned the ingredient into a cosmetic darling-and deservedly so. It brightens the face, evens out skin tone, limits UV damage, and increases collagen production.
But theres one downside: The star antioxidant is notoriously unstable and thus has a limited shelf life.
Vitamin C is inherently a biologically unstable molecule that oxidizes upon exposure to air, light, and heat, explains Julia Tzu, M.D., a New Yorkbased dermatologist and founder of Wall Street Dermatology. So when serums or lotions are not stored in cool, dark, and dry conditions, that can speed up oxidation, causing the degradation of the molecule, she says. And when the vitamin oxidizes, theres no benefit to the skin.
Enter vitamin C powder, which is exactly what it sounds like: a powdered version of vitamin C that cosmetics makers claim can be added to any moisturizer and dissolves to have the same effects, without the instability.
But the other big reason for the popularity of powdered vitamin C-which you mix at home into your existing skin-care products-is the overall hype around DIY beauty and creating a customized skin-care routine by combining various ingredients, Robinson says. Companies are capitalizing on the do-it-yourself trend, he says.
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