mad hippie vitamin c serum for acne

Can Vitamin C treat acne? Usually, no. This is a superpower most forms of Vitamin C do NOT have.

The exception? Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate. If you have acne-prone skin, this is the kind of Vitamin C you want in your stash.

You can find it in Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum. Here’s what sets it apart from other Vitamin C serums out there.

About The Brand: Mad Hippie

Mad Hippie believes that natural skincare products can – and should – be as effective as traditional skincare products. You’d think that’d be a given but most natural products are an irritating, ineffective mess. Mad Hippie is the exception. They pack their products with nourishing oils, anti-aging actives, and all kinds of natural goodies that can give you brighter, younger-looking skin. Plus, the packaging is super cute and creative. A true hippie in the skincare world.

Key Ingredients In Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum: What Makes It Work?


L-Ascorbic Acid (LAA) is the pure form of Vitamin C. Study after study has proven its anti-aging properties:

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum uses Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP), a derivative of Vitamin C that’s less studied than L-Ascorbic Acid.

Studies show SAP does convert to L-Ascorbic Acid in the skin, but we still don’t know how it compares to LAA. It’s probably a little less effective at fighting wrinkles.

So why should you use SAP instead of LAA? Three reasons:

  • Longer shelf life: LAA is famous for being unstable. It goes bad when exposed to light, heat and air. Even when you buy a freshly-made LAA serum that’s properly preserved to prolong its shelf-life, it usually lasts only a few short weeks. SAP is way stabler and lasts you for many months.
  • Less irritation: High concentrations of LAA can irritate skin, especially if it’s sensitive. SAP is way gentler. All skin types can tolerate it.
  • Acne-fighter: Unlike SAP, LAA can’t fight acne. Studies show SAP reduces sebum oxidation (a main cause of acne and inflammation) by up to 40%! It’s also more effective than 5% benzoyl peroxide and 0.1% differin.

If you have acne, sensitive skin or are simply tired of wasting a small fortune on vitamin C serums that go bad after a month, switching to Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate makes sense.

P.S. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum uses 10% Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate. That’s a higher dose than you’ll find in most serums.

Related: Is Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate The Best Vitamin C Derivative?


Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant on its own. It works even better when paired with vitamin E and ferulic acid. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum contains both. Phew!

Studies show these three antioxidants boost one another’s effectiveness and increase the sun protection your sunscreen gives you. That’s why I layer it underneath sunscreen every morning.

P.S. Ferulic acid is an antioxidant on steroids. It fights THREE types of free radicals! (Most antioxidants only destroy one).

Related: Is Ferulic Acid The Most Powerful Antioxidant Of Them All?


Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant on steroids. Hume… what?

Humectant is a fancy way of describing ingredients that can draw water from the air into your skin and bind it there. Hyaluronic Acid is the best at this: it holds up to 1000 times its weight in water!

All that moisture has a plumping effect on the skin that reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It makes it softer to the touch and gives it a translucent glow, too.

P.S. Hyaluronic Acid ain’t the only humectant in Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum. This baby has glycerin, too.

Related: What Are Humectants And Why Should You Use Them?

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that banishes shine, pimples, and blackheads? Download your FREE “Best Skincare Routine For Oily Skin” cheatsheet to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Water Deionized: The base and main solvent of the serum. Deionised means that the metal ions (such as  calcium, sodium, iron, copper, chloride and bromide) in the water have been removed. These ions can compromise the stability of the formulation. Once they’re gone, the formula lasts longer.
  • Alkyl Benzoate: It improves the texture and feel of the formula.
  • Vegetable Glycerin: A humectant that drives moisture from the air into your skin, keeping it hydrated for longer.
  • Water: It dissolves the other ingredients in the formula.
  • Sodium Levulinate: It makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Sodium Anisate: Derived from fennel, it’s a preservative that kills microbes and bacteria, helping your skincare products last longer.
  • Clary Sage (Salvia Sclarea): It has weak antioxidant properties that help fight free radicals.
  • Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis): A source of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals, boosts collagen, and brightens the complexion.
  • Amorphophallus Konjac Root Powder: It hydrates skin.
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf: Made up of 99% water, it deeply hydrates skin and soothes irritations and redness.
  • Chamomile Flower Extract (Recutita Matricaria): Chamomile is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that soothe redness and irritation. On the other, some of its fragrant components may irritate sensitive skin. If you don’t experience any side effects, keep using it.
  • Sodium Phytate: It helps to stabilise the formula by binding to the metal ions in the water and neutralising them.
  • Xanthum Gum: It’s used to thicken the texture of the serum.
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose: It stabilises the formula and keeps all the ingredients from separating.


The serum has a lightweight, runny texture that sinks quickly into the skin and dries to a matte finish without leaving a greasy residue behind. It’s pleasant to use and perfect for the oily, acne-prone skin this serum is most suitable for.


The serum is fragrance-free. I like that because fragrance is one of the most irritating ingredients in skincare. Acne is an inflammatory disease that gets worse when skin is irritated, so leaving this out was a good choice.

Having said that, this serum has a light floral scent that fades away quickly. How is that possible? Simple. That’s the natural smell of the ingredients (yep, ingredients have their own natural smell too).

How To Use It

Like all Vitamin C serums, I recommend you use it in the morning right before cleansing (so it can better penetrate skin) and before sunscreen (so it can boost its sun protection).


The serum comes in a dark bottle with a dropper applicator. I like the packaging because it keeps the antioxidants inside stable and effective for longer. Antioxidants lose a bit of their effectiveness when they’re exposed to light and air – this type of bottle prevents that. Plus, the dropper applicator makes it easy to use. And the fun design is cute.

Performance & Personal Opinion

I apply Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum straight after cleansing and slather on sunscreen on top (I don’t use moisturizer in the mornings). It layers well under most sunscreens I’ve tried. No pilling or anything like that.

I find the serum fairly hydrating. The addition of Hyaluronic Acid and glycerin gives my skin an extra boost of moisture that helps to keep it hydrated all day long. If your skin’s drier than mine, you may need a moisturizer to keep an optimal moisture level as you go through your day.

I don’t have acne so I can’t vouch for how well it works. Still, the science is solid here so I’m confident it will make a difference.

What I can vouch for is the brightening effect. The serum gives my skin a lovely glow. It also helps me keep wrinkles at bay thanks to the infusion of antioxidants.

If you’re looking for an alternative to LAA, Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum is definitely worth checking out.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

How Does Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum Compare To Mad Hippie Triple C Night Cream?

Curious to know if you should invest in Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum or go for their Triple C Night Cream? Although they both contain Vitamin C, there are some key differences here.

VITAMIN C Contains 1 form of Vitamin C: Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate. It brightens skin, fights free radicals, and is the ONLY form of Vitamin C that fights acne, too. Contains 3 Vitamin C derivatives: Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Glucoside. They fight free radicals and brighten skin, but don’t help with acne.
OTHER ACTIVES It has hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin and a bunch of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties to prevent wrinkles and soothe irritations. It has natural oils to moisturise skin and a bunch of antioxidants to prevent premature wrinkles.
TEXTURE Lightweight and fast-absorbing. Thick, creamy texture.
PACKAGING Dark bottle with a dropper applicator that keeps the antioxidants inside safe from light and air (they’d spoil them). Jar packaging with a spatula for hygienic application. The antioxidants inside can spoil when exposed to light and air, so close that lid back quickly!
COMEDOGENIC No, it doesn’t contain comedogenic ingredients. Isopropyl Palmitate and natural oils may clog pores and cause breakouts in oily skin.
SKIN TYPE Best for oily, acne-prone skin. Best for dry skin.

What I Like About Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

  • Lightweight, fast-absorbing formula that dries to a matte finish.
  • It’s fragrance-free.
  • Contains the only form of Vitamin C that can treat acne.
  • Hydrating, makes skin softer and smoother.
  • It gives skin a radiant glow.
  • Packaging keeps the antioxidants inside stable and effective.
  • Non-comedogenic.

What I DON’T Like About Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

  • If you don’t have acne and are looking only for the anti-aging benefits, this isn’t as strong as 15% L-Ascorbic Acid.

Who Should Use This?

Everyone can use it, but it’s more suitable for acne-prone skin. If your main concern is anti-aging AND you don’t have acne, stick to a serum with L-Ascorbic Acid. It’s best form of Vitamin C to prevent wrinkles.

Does Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum Live Up To Its Claims?

Our award-winning serum is a harmonious blend of antioxidants that work wonders on improving the overall appearance of the skin! Too generic to mean anything specific or deny. It does make skin look better.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a more stable form of Vitamin C than the commonly used L-Ascorbic Acid found in most skin care products, provides the same benefits, without the risk of oxidation and irritation that is often associated with L-Ascorbic Acid.  True.

Is Mad Hippie Cruelty-Free?

Yes, Mad Hippie is truly cruelty-free. They don’t test on animals and don’t outsource the process to any third parties.

Price & Availability

$33.99 at Free People, iHerb, Mad Hippie and Ulta

The Verdict: Do You Need It?

If you have acne-prone skin, this is the best Vitamin C serum out there for you. I recommend it to all my clients with acne-prone skin because it’s affordable and it just works.

Dupes & Alternatives

  • InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum (£17.75): It contains a bunch of natural oils to moisturise skin and antioxidants, including ferulic acid, to boost the effectiveness of Vitamin C. Unfortunately, a couple of natural extracts in here can also irritate sensitive skin. Available at iHerb.


Water Deionized, Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate), Alkyl Benzoate, Vegetable Glycerin, Water, Glycerin, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Clary Sage (Salvia Sclarea), Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis), Hyaluronic acid, Amorphophallus Konjac Root Powder, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Vitamin E (Tocotrienol), Ferulic acid, Chamomile Flower Extract (Recutita Matricaria), Sodium Phytate, Xanthum Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose