What is Vitamin C Face Serum?

What is Vitamin C Face Serum
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Vitamin C serum has taken the beauty world by storm, and it’s being recommended for nearly every skin type. But what exactly is Vitamin C face serum, and what does it do? Let’s look deeper into this amazing product.

What is Vitamin C Face Serum?

Vitamin C serum is a liquid formula that combines a concentration of one or more forms of vitamin C, and is used to combat skin issues such as inflammation, sun damage, and acne-prone skin. These serums can be oil or water-based, and often contain additional ingredients to boost their effectiveness.  

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for humans. It is required for the formation of collagen and the repair of tissues, and is important for the immune system and other body functions. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant, preventing free radical damage by donating electrons and preventing oxidative damage.

Humans require Vitamin C in their daily diet, because it is used by so many of the body’s systems and is necessary for survival. Eating foods that are high in Vitamin C, or taking a Vitamin C supplement, ensures good health and prevents disease.

However, even when a person is eating healthy amounts of Vitamin C, it may not reach the outer layers of the skin and provide visible benefits for your beauty routine. For that reason, many people choose a Vitamin C serum, so that the Vitamin C can work on the layers of the skin and enhance your appearance.

Instead of producing collagen, preventing damage, and helping to repair cells from the inside, a topical Vitamin C face serum penetrates the skin from the outside, providing those benefits specifically to the cells of the face.

What is Vitamin C Face Serum

How to Choose a Vitamin C Face Serum?

When choosing a Vitamin C serum, here are some of the factors to look for:

The Form of Vitamin C

The most potent form of topical Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, also called L-ascorbic acid. It is the purest, most concentrated, and most active form of Vitamin C, and is water soluble. However, L-ascorbic acid may irritate sensitive skin.

If you have sensitive skin, choose THD-ascorbate instead, which is less active and potent, and needs to be converted to the active form within the body, but may be less irritating. Because THD-ascorbate is oil soluble, while L-ascorbic acid is water soluble, many newer Vitamin C serums combine both forms of Vitamin C in the same product, so the two forms of Vitamin C can penetrate the skin in different ways and have longer-lasting effects.

Companion Ingredients

Vitamin C serums often also contain ferulic acid. Ferulic acid is a phytochemical that helps to strengthen cell walls. Repeated studies have shown that Vitamin C and ferulic acid have a synergistic effect, where they work together to heal, strengthen, and protect the cells of the skin. Many Vitamin C serums also contain Vitamin E, which reduces inflammation and reduces sun damage.


Vitamin C serums are typically available in different concentrations. The best formulations are 10% or more; quantities lower than 10% are not as effective at giving visible benefits for the skin. However, concentrations higher than 20% are more likely to irritate the skin, and do not provide more benefits than lower concentrations.


Vitamin C serum is delicate, and can break down and become less effective when exposed to UV light or air. Look for a Vitamin C serum in a dark or opaque bottle, and store it tightly sealed, away from sunlight.

What Does Vitamin C Face Serum Do?

Vitamin C face serum has a wide range of positive effects for nearly every skin type. Here are the most common benefits of Vitamin C serum:

  • Anti-oxidant. The antioxidant effects of Vitamin C help to prevent free radicals from damaging the skin. This antioxidant vitamin is in fact a very powerful antioxidant, one of the most powerful ones out there. 
  • Stimulates collagen production. Over time, our bodies become less efficient at producing collagen in the face. By stimulating collagen production, Vitamin C serum helps the skin to look firmer and plumper, combating the skin thinning, sagging, and fine lines of aging. For this reason, the application of vitamin c is often used for mature skin, as it has anti-aging properties. Another main ingredient often combined with Vitamin C, in terms of anti-aging benefits, is hyaluronic acid.  
  • Reduces inflammation. Vitamin C serum, thanks to being a potent antioxidant, helps to reduce inflammation in the skin, reducing redness and swelling.
  • Fights hyperpigmentation. Over time, the skin on the face may develop darkened spots, especially for those who suffer from acne. These spots of uneven skin color are called hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C inhibits the effects of the enzymes that cause hyperpigmentation, therefore reducing the appearance of dark spots. 
  • Evens and brightens skin color. In part, it does this by affecting melanin production of the skin. Along with fighting hyperpigmentation, Vitamin C can simply even and brighten skin color, reducing dark spots and evening tone. Achieving even skin tone is one of the main reason why people use these vitamin C products. 
  • Reduces the appearance of acne scars. The collagen-boosting properties of Vitamin C also help to smooth and reduce the appearance of scarring due to acne. This is something that people who are acne prone due to oily skin types will appreciate. On a side note, those serums that contain Vitamin C, the ones designed to help treat acne, may also contain salicylic acid. 
  • Heals skin damage. Vitamin C helps to speed cell turnover in the skin, replacing damaged skin cells with healthy ones, as well as to reduce the appearance of pores. This helps to more quickly repair skin damage and improve the appearance of the skin.
  • Hydration. Not all Vitamin C serums have hydrating benefits, but many do, which therefore makes them ideal for people with dry skin. A Vitamin C derivative called magnesium ascorbyl phosphate has been shown to reduce water loss and help the skin retain moisture. When Vitamin C serums include Vitamin E, the serum provides hydration and soothes the skin. For a complete list of the absolute best hydrating face serums, check out this article.

Because Vitamin C serums can help repair the skin and reduce damage, and are safe and non-irritating, they are recommended for nearly all skin types. Vitamin C serum is good for aging skin, acne-prone skin, damaged skin, and skin that is simply uneven in tone, while helping to reduce irritation and protect skin from future damage. As you can see, there are many antioxidant benefits for you to reap. 

Many Vitamin C face serums also provide hydration and other benefits, depending on the formula. These vitamin C skincare products, can help create an effective skin barrier, help improve skin texture, have many anti inflammatory properties, get rid of age spots, regulate pigment production, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, make firm skin, and more. Some may even help to reduce uneven skin tone and help heal inflamed skin too.  These are all feel good benefits that you should absolutely take advantage of. 


Be aware that not all forms of Vitamin C are equally powerful and effective, and not all concentrations of Vitamin C are good for all skin types. Also remember that a concentrated serum need to be used carefully, and you also need to keep an eye on the ingredients list when you choose a product that has a blend of vitamin C and other substances. Choose a high-quality form of Vitamin C in a facial serum, preferably in its purest form, and start at a 10% concentration to see how it affects your skin.

Start with applying Vitamin C serum once or twice a week, and then gradually increase to daily (or even twice daily) application. One study even suggests applying Vitamin C serum every 8 hours for maximum benefits.

Now you know what Vitamin C serum is, and why it is so highly recommended for all skin types and beauty needs. In case you really want maximum skin care benefits, consider adding some fruit enzymes, jojoba oil, and citric acid to the mix, all of which have their own benefits.

However, do keep in mind that if you have sensitive skin, you may want to consult a healthcare professional before starting a new skin care routine, as an allergic reaction may occur. This is especially the case if you are one of the many people out there who have sensitive skin types. 

More on Facial Serums

Click the links below to read about the pros and cons of face serums.

Face Serum Vs. Face Oil: Which is Better For Your Skin?

Do Face Serums Work?

Serum Vs. Moisturizer: What’s the Difference?

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