Flu season is upon us, which means you need to stock up on Vitamin C (hello, oranges!). But have you also added it to your grooming regimen? Well, you should. For one, it’s one of the most potent and effective vitamins for your skin.
“Vitamin C (also known as Ascorbic acid) can help with a whole host of skin problems, including unwanted brown pigment due to melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or age spots, and a dull complexion,” Dr. Anne Allen, an online Dermatologist at FirstDerm.com, tells The Manual. “It can also help prevent skin aging due to pollution and UV damage by scavenging free radicals and by activating collagen growth.”
Because of its potency and transformative properties, Vitamin C has been a popular active ingredient in serums as an anti-aging potion. Not surprising, since it can brighten dark spots, even skin tones, and reduce redness. In other words, it’ll make you look even more handsome fast.
Take note though, as Vitamin C tends to be less stable than other super ingredients. Opt for a serum with L-ascorbic acid in the ingredient list, as this is its most stable form.
“I would definitely keep it in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life,” Allen says. “It’s not well known how stable these serums are as each one is compounded with different ingredients. I would buy a new serum every 1-2 months to make sure you are getting the maximum benefit.”
When buying a serum, look for one with a 10% Vitamin C concentration, and see how your skin reacts before using a stronger product. Also, Vitamin C can cause sensitivity to light, and mixing with retinol (another anti-aging super ingredient) can cause irritation.
“I typically recommend using retinoids at night and Vitamin C in the morning,” Allen says. “Vitamin C is in some great sunscreen brands these days so it’s easy to apply both with one product.”
Ahead are some of the best Vitamin C serums at every price point.
Best Vitamin C Serum Overall: Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum
Boost your skin’s natural defense system with this high-performance serum. Formulated with an innovative ultra-stable Vitamin C complex coupled with advanced biotechnology that will not only get rid of fine lines, dark spots, and fight signs of aging but also promote better skin within.
Best for Hyperpigmentation: Urban Skin Rx Super C Brightening Serum
Brighten your skin and improve the look of wrinkles with this powerhouse serum. Comprised of 20% L-Ascorbic Acid, Ferulic Acid, and Kojic Acid harmoniously work together to enhance dark spots and uneven skin tone.
Best for Mature Skin: La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum
Fight the signs of aging with this powerful anti-aging Vitamin C serum designed to leave your face feeling radiant and hydrated, thanks to a trio of active ingredients Vitamin C, Salicylic acid, and Neurosensine for maximum effectiveness that’s still gentle enough for sensitive skin.
Best for Dry Skin: Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Brightening Serum
Restore natural radiance with this dynamic multi-tasking face serum that’s fortified with Vitamin C Ester, a more potent, less irritating form of Vitamin C, and rosemary extract for extra hydration. It helps firm the skin and reduce fine lines.
Best for Combination Skin: Buttah Skin Vitamin C Serum
Reclaim your glow with this revolutionary serum, consisting of a cacophony of antioxidants like Vitamin C, ferulic acid, grapeseed extract, green tea, chamomile extract, and fireweed extract.
Other Vitamin C Serums We Love
Glossier Super Glow Vitamin C and Magnesium Serum
Turn up your skin’s glow with this energizing serum, formulated with vitamin c and magnesium. Even better, it’s a quick-drying solution that quickly evens out your complexion.
The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% and Alpha Arbutin 2%
Meet the holy grail to more radiant skin; this bold formula combines two effective brightening ingredients in a water-free formula to maintain its potency without irritating oily skin.
Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum
This seemingly miracle formula can help firm and smoothen your skin, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Versed Stroke of Brilliance Brightening Serum
Combat dullness with this proven cocktail of brightening and dark-spots-eliminating plant extracts and antioxidants. This lightweight serum absorbs quickly into the skin while hydrating, firming, and promoting your skin’s overall health.
Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster
This feather-light concoction absorbs quickly and improves collagen production.
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