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Vitamin C: What You Need To Know

Next to retinol, no ingredient reigns supreme like vitamin C. When applied topically, this potent antioxidant has been shown to brighten the skin, reduce hyperpigmentation, improve skin tone and texture and diminish the appearance of fine lines. Jump on the bandwagon, and you will soon notice that your skin is brighter, firmer, and that your dark spots have faded.

Benefits of Vitamin C

Anti-aging: Collagen is a structural protein that contributes to the skin’s firmness and thickness. As we age, our skin’s collagen production naturally decreases which allows fine lines and wrinkles to form. Vitamin C has been proven to boost collagen production and reverse cell damage, which keeps the skin looking plumper, firmer and more youthful. 

Discoloration: Vitamin C is the go-to ingredient for lightening pesky discoloration and hyperpigmentation. It has the unique ability to slow down your skin’s natural melanin production, which in turn reveals a brighter, clearer, more even skin tone.

Antioxidant: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from damaging free-radicals caused by sun exposure, pollution, stress, smoking and other toxins. Free radicals can lead to a dull complexion, dark spots, hyperpigmentation and more visible fine lines and wrinkles. Antioxidants like vitamin C, however, protect the skin by neutralizing free radicals. Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to treat skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea and can radically reduce redness.

Tip: Vitamin C is even more effective when combined with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E and ferulic acid, as this can serve as dual protection against free radicals. If you’re looking for a serum that also has anti-aging benefits, look for vitamin C serums that also contain retinol, peptides and tea extracts.

What to Look For

Concentration: Concentration is basically the strength of the acid. According to some dermatologists, a concentration of at least 10% L-ascorbic acid is recommended; however, you will find some products on the market that offer 15 or 20%. The concentration is important, but the best vitamin C serums combine other antioxidants and boosters like vitamin E and ferulic acid, which probably adds more value than just increasing the concentration alone.

Forms: Vitamin C comes in different forms—L-ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, to name a few. The most loved forms are L-ascorbic Acid and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate.

L-ascorbic Acid 

L-ascorbic acid is the most biologically active form of vitamin C available and is also the most popular. However, it can be extremely unstable which is why it’s important to use a good quality vitamin C. 

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+ is a tried-and-true serum with a cult-like following. This serum is formulated with a powerful combination of antioxidants and botanicals to both protect and calm the skin. In this serum, vitamin C works together with vitamins E and A to help heal, soothe, and rejuvenate the skin, making it a savior for those with acne-prone skin or rosacea. Plus, it also delivers anti-aging benefits with olive leaf extract that provides antioxidant protection against free radical damage.

Osmosis MD Catalyst AC-11 DNA Repair C Serum activates the repair mechanisms in your cells to reverse aging in the skin, reduce pigmentation, decrease scar tissue, clear capillaries and increase skin elasticity. Catalyst AC-11 contains a powerful collection of patented, activated amino acids that amplify the vitamin C results to repair DNA and to boost collagen and elastin.

PCA Skin C-Quench Antioxidant Serum combines Lilac Leaf Stem Cell Extract, Resveratrol, Glutathione, L-Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E, and Ergothioneine. The powerful blend of ingredients effectively prevents and corrects cellular oxidation. This product also enlists a host of powerful anti-inflammatory agents to soothe the skin while increasing hydration and adding support to the extracellular matrix. This treatment can be used by all skin types.

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate

Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, also known as THD ascorbate, is an oil-soluble, vitamin C ester that’s extremely stable. This form of vitamin C has gained quite the reputation and cult following due to its ability to penetrate the skin. What makes tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate an A-list player is its gentle, yet result-driven nature, making it compatible with most skin types. Looking for products with Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate? Look no further.

Glytone C+ Advanced Antioxidant Serum is a lightweight serum that contains a 20% Antioxidant Complex to defend against free radicals. It incorporates Vitamins C and E and Squalane to boost the skin's moisture and preserve its moisture barrier.

Truth Treatment Systems Transdermal C Serum is the most concentrated vitamin C serum available using tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. Premium fat-soluble vitamin C, anti-inflammatory plant extracts and nutrients help repair damaged skin, fade dark spots, improve skin firmness and even skin tone. Boosted with skin barrier-building cholesterol and fatty acids, Truth Treatments vitamin C serum corrects damage and repairs the skin barrier.

Usage and Storage

Vitamin C is well-tolerated by most skin types with no known risks for pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, if you have sensitive skin, some dermatologists recommend starting with a serum that contains a concentration of 5 to 10 percent and then working up to a higher concentration of 15 to 20%.

Dermatologists have different theories about how and when to use a vitamin C serum. Some believe that vitamin C skin should be applied at night in order to help skin repair itself while other sleep-restorative functions are taking place. Some believe that it should be applied during the day in order to help fight off free radical damage as it accumulates through the day. The take away here is that when to apply a vitamin C serum is not nearly as important as remembering to actually apply it.


Everyone should be using vitamin C. If you aren’t- you are missing out.