complete guide to vitamin c serums

Today, I’m very excited to bring you this guest post by the lovely Livia of Oily Skin Blog. She explains why we should use a Vitamin C serum and shares her favourite picks:

Discovered over 70 years ago, vitamin C has been used in the skincare industry to manufacture anything from cleansers, lotions, toners to moisturisers, serums and masks. Yet, not all of us are aware of the benefits that this powerhouse brings to our skincare routines. I bet you’re dying to know!

What Is A Vitamin C Serum?

Vitamin C serums are skincare products that use a high concentration of vitamin C to treat ageing signs like fine lines and sagging skin, brighten complexion, improve red or dark sports, even out skin tone and control breakouts.

Although this might sound like another product with too many claims and a potential for a skincare fiasco, you will be surprised to know that vitamin C is one of the most researched ingredients that can prove almost all claims currently enforced by manufacturers.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Vitamin C In Skincare

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Let’s Meet The Vitamin C Family

There are more than one form of vitamin C that can be found in cosmetics, and the most researched of all is ascorbic acid or l-ascorbic acid. Other derivatives of vitamin C include  sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.

While these have been less researched than l-ascorbic acid, they are still scientifically backed and considered efficient anti-oxidants with potential anti-inflammatory and lightening properties. However, these other forms of vitamin C are more valuable when used in combination with other potent anti-oxidants such as ascorbic acid, green tea or retinol, according Paula’s Choice website.

Related: Types Of Vitamin C Used In Skincare: Which One Is Best For You?

medik8 ce tetra vitamin c antioxidant serum

How Are Vitamin C Serums Formulated?

All sounds good up to now, right? Well, the bad part is that vitamin C is unstable, especially when exposed to light or air. That is why other ingredients are added to the formulation in order to stabilize it.

Most vitamin C Serums also contain vitamin E, feluric acid or hyaluronic acid so that the vitamin C can deliver the best results. Researchers say that 15% vitamin C combined with 0.5% ferulic acid and 1% vitamin E can enhance the efficacy of vitamin C.

Additionally, opaque and air-tight bottles are preferred in order to restrict exposure to sunlight and air.

Related: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Skincare Products Packaged In Jars

What Can Vitamin C Serums Do For My Skin?

It is important to know that, in order to be effective, the recommended strength of vit. C is up to 20%. Also, a pH of less than 3.5 is recommended for optimum absorption, although this is really hard to verify because most of the products don’t state anything about their pH.

Getting back to the benefits of Vitamin C, let’s take a quick look at what science says it can help you with:

  • Photo-protection: A concentration of 15%- 20% of l-ascorbic acid alone can reduce the signs of photo-ageing and provide protection against free radicals. Although Vitamin C can provide photo-protection on its own, it works best in conjunction with vitamin E to limit UV damage.
  • Collagen production: L-ascorbic acid increases the production of collagen. This, coupled with its anti-oxidant ability, results in reducing fine lines, improves the elasticity of skin and brightens complexion.
  • Depigmentation: Vitamin C helps prevent melanin production by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme. This is useful in the case of hyperpigmentation, red/ dark spots or uneven skin tone.
  • Inflammatory skin conditions: Its anti-inflammatory properties makes it a good adjuvant in treating rosacea or acne vulgaris.

Related: 8 Science-Backed Ways To Rebuild Lost Collagen

dr dennis gross c collagen brighten and firm vitamin c serum

What Vitamin C Serums Should I Go For?

Even though vitamin C serums are costly, you can find products for every budget with prices ranging from 20 $ up to 100$ and above.

Going on the high end, SkinCeuticals sells CE Feluric (166$), a serum that uses 15% of l-ascorbic acid in combination with 0.5% ferulic acid and 1% alpha tocopherol (vitamin E). This is a highly appreciated product from both experts and users, unfortunately the price tag may not make it accessible to everyone.

A more decent-priced product is Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum. This one sells via Amazon for 25$ and has positive reviews from bloggers, including FutureDerm’s founder Nicki, who considers it one of the best 20% Vitamin C serums on the market.

Of course, this was before she launched her own beauty line which leads us to our last product recommendation: FutureDerm’s Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16+2 (89$). The product is formulated with l-ascorbic acid and etrahexyldecyl ascorbate, another form of vitamin C, target age spots and uneven skin tone.

I think the takeaway from all this is to start looking at simple ingredients. The beauty industry keeps introducing new products and improving its technology but still, the most effective products don’t need to have fancy names or list countless ingredients. One good ol’ vitamin C may just be your saviour! Wouldn’t you agree?

livia oily skin blog

“Livia is the Founder of Oily Skin Blog, a site that focuses on beauty tips for ladies and gentlemen with problematic skin. Have a tough beauty question? Drop her a comment below!”