Vitamin C Serum in Your Skin Care Routine

Vitamin C Serum in Your Skin Care Routine

By Annie Doyle. Medically reviewed by Reema Patel, MPA, PA-C


Vitamin C serum has many health benefits for your skin, including promoting collagen production and protecting against sun damage. Some people may experience side effects.

What’s a vitamin C serum?
If you have your head in the skin care game, you’ve likely heard of vitamin C serums. Vitamin C is touted as one of the best ingredients on the market for pro-aging support — and the key to maintaining a smooth, even, and glowy complexion.

Although you’re probably getting vitamin C in your diet, there’s no way to guarantee it’s going straight to your skin. Using serums and other topical products


Benefits of vitamin C

There are plenty of benefits to using vitamin C on your skin.
For example, vitamin C:
1. Is safe for most skin types
2. Provides hydration
3. Can brighten your skin
4. Can reduce redness
5. Can reduce hyper-pigmentation
6. Can reduce the appearance of under-eye circles
7. Promotes collagen production
8. May help prevent sagging
9. May protect against sun damage
10. May soothe sunburns and wound healing


How to use a vitamin C serum
Although topical vitamin C is generally well tolerated, all skin products have the potential to cause side effects.

You should always do a patch test to assess your risk of allergic reaction. Here’s how:

  • • Select a small area of skin that’s easy to conceal, like
  • your forearm.
  • • Apply a small amount of product and wait 24 hours.
  • • If no side effects occur, you can apply it to your face.
  • Discontinue use if you develop a rash, redness, or hives.

According to skin experts, you should apply vitamin C serum right after the toner. Just a few drops of serum on the palm or directly on the face. Pat softly on the face and leave until completely absorbed in the skin. Seal the serum into the skin with a hydrating moisturizer.

It’s possible to have a skin reaction after repeat exposure, so it’s best to introduce new products one at a time, spaced out by a few weeks.

Vitamin C serum is typically applied once or twice per day. A good rule of thumb is to cleanse, tone, apply vitamin C serum, and then moisturize. Be sure to apply skin care products with clean hands.

It can be safely used with other active ingredients, although using alongside products containing niacinamide may make vitamin C less effective.

According to a 2020 review, a combination of tyrosine, zinc, and vitamin C was shown to increase the bioavailability of vitamin C 20 times more than just vitamin C alone.

Make sure to check your product’s use-by date. If the product has darkened or otherwise changed color, the vitamin C has likely oxidized. Although the product is still safe to use, it no longer carries the same benefits.

Potential side effects and risks
Although irritation is unlikely, you should always do a patch test before full application. This is the only way to determine how your skin will react to the serum.

If your skin is especially sensitive, avoid products with L-ascorbic acid. Products with magnesium ascorbyl phosphate may be less likely to cause irritation.

Vitamin C products
Serum stability is affected by two things: product formulation and packaging. The following vitamin C derivatives are designed to retain potency for longer:

  • • L-ascorbic acid
  • • Ascorbyl palmitate
  • • Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate

You should also ensure that the product has a water-free formulation. And the bottle should be opaque and airtight.



Vitamin C can help heal blemishes, reduce hyperpigmentation, and give your skin an out-of-this-world glow. Consistency is key for maximum effect, so add it to your skin care routine in a way that makes sense for you.

Some people apply it in the morning to take advantage of its UV-protectant properties, while others find that it works best as a night serum. Others apply it twice daily. Discontinue use if you begin to experience irritation or discomfort.


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