When it comes to Vitamin C and choosing the right serum it can be damn confusing!
You’ll realise 80% of the labels are B.S. and just full of marketing hype. Which takes literally forever to get through to the real benefit.
What To Expect From Vitamin C?
Well for starters it’s one of the most vital antioxidants your skin can benefit from.
Vitamin C is “your skin saviour from free radicals” says Dr. Mohi Morgan,M.D, Ph.D., Dermatologist at University College Birmingham.
And for that reason, high quality sunscreens are using it in their core ingredients. It also acts as a lightning effect which leads to significant reduction of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
3 Things to keep in mind when picking out Vitamin C serum
1 - Not exposed to light
Any vitamin c serum should be stored in a place far away from the sun light and kept in a dark bottle.
If the product is exposed to light or the bottle itself is transparent the vitamin c serum will be as good as useless.
How to know if it was exposed to light? You’ll notice the serum itself will turn yellow.
Warning: If your Vitamin C serum is yellow stop using it immediately. It can darken your skin and make your pigments darker than usual.
Tip: That’s why it’s highly recommended once you apply your Vitamin C serum to wait until it fully absorbs in your skin before you go out in the sun.
2 - Vitamin C concentration levels
It’s vital to be aware of the levels of Vitamin V concentrations in serums. It starts at 1% and can go up to 20%.
Why it matters? Because if you have a sensitive skin, starting out with any concentration more than 5% can cause skin irritation.
Some will like to increase their dose along the way, as you’ll notice positive results with more doses.
Note: Don’t go beyond 20% it doesn’t matter from there. If a product is promoting itself as 30% or 40% it doesn’t really make any difference than 20%. The only difference would be charging you much higher than usual.
3 - Vitamin C Form
There has been a debate among dermatologists if the form matters or not. And here is the conclusion: It can slightly matter on the storage!
Let me explain:
There are two main forms Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid (water-soluble form) and Esterified form.
Ascorbic Acid is very unstable and most proper brands avoid it completely. Simply because of that fact when exposed to light and/or air, it becomes instantly inactive.
The Esterified form has the following benefits:
- Not as sensitive to light as Ascorbic Acid and very stable.
- Less likely you’ll experience skin irritation with that form.
The only downside of Easterfied forms is that they tend to be less effective than Ascorbic Acid.
Some products go on bragging that it’s Ascorbic Acid (water soluble) and they can put high price up to $200, which can be ridiculous because eventually this extra effect doesn’t really matter and not worth charging 10X the usual price.
What Matters: It’s all about how this vitamin C serum was stored and that’s all.
First Time Using Vitamin C Serum
If this is your first time using Vitamin C serum, then here is the most important tip for you: “Use it in the morning you’ll get the maximum benefit from it” says Dr. Morgan.
Because vitamin c serum will act as a shield on your skin against free radicals from UV rays and of course using a sunscreen after the serum is a must.
I recommend it twice daily.
Some even recommend using it one time in the morning and one at night before sleeping. You can test and see which routine has better outcome on your skin.
Some research suggests that free radical damage continues to affect your skin overnight, so you could add in vitamin C to your end of day routine as well.
What Causes Vitamin C to Darken Your Skin
As I mentioned earlier, Vitamin C serum can darken your skin. And to recap there are usually two scenarios for that for why you might see a colour change, and both have to do with oxidation:
- The vitamin C has oxidised in the bottle.
- The vitamin C has oxidised on the surface of your skin.
How to avoid this?
I usually look for vitamin c serums that also include Vitamin E & Ferulic Acid, it helps to make the formula more stable (not to mention double its photoprotection!). Some examples include:
Can A Breakout Happen With Vitamin C Serum?
It highly depends on you skin type. But even if you have a sensitive skin type, you are most likely will not deal with any breakouts. Generally, Vitamin C serums are relatively safe compared to other types of serums.
But that doesn't mean you should skip patch test your Vitamin C. Some of the extra ingredients that comes with Vitamin C might not adapt with your skin.
Most with sensitive skin types prefer to use Purito & Some By Mi due to the fact they are initially designed for sensitive skin types.
Cover Photo by Christin Hume