Use Vitamin C Serum And See The Best Beauty Benefits, Here’s Why

Vitamin C serum contains powerful antioxidants that can help reduce fine lines and free radicals and keep skin looking young.

By Kari Apted | Updated

vitamin c serum

Everyone knows that vitamin C can do wonders for the immune system, but not as many realize how amazing it is for the skin. The vitamin that brings to mind lemons, oranges, and limes is popping up everywhere in skin care products, the best of these being vitamin C serum. Though it’s not a magic potion, this powerful fluid can really elevate your skin’s appearance.

Vitamin C serum is an antioxidant that works by blocking the formation of free radicals, which are unstable atoms that damage cells. Free radicals break down collagen and elastin, two substances naturally present in the skin that help it remain firm and youthful. Using skin care products with vitamin C can slow down or halt this type of skin damage.

“Vitamin C is best known for its ability to neutralize free radicals and improve aging skin,” Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a dermatologic surgeon in Omaha, Nebraska told Everyday Health. “It can also improve collagen and elastin synthesis — which can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; help reduce inflammation, provide natural, mild exfoliation; and brighten skin.”

Vitamin C may help protect the skin against sun damage and it also maintains skin hydration by strengthening the skin’s barrier. Although ingesting vitamin C supplements is great for your overall health, little of the antioxidant makes it from your digestive system to your skin. That’s why it’s vital to use a topical source of this nutrient if you wish to obtain all its skin-improving benefits.

All of the benefits of vitamin C serum have been backed by research. One study showed that it increased collagen production in all age groups. The effects were seen after 40 days of consistent treatment and were even more pronounced after 60 days of applying the serum.

Topical vitamin C serum can also help even out skin tone in people with melasma or hyperpigmentation. Participants in a 2013 study experienced a 73% improvement in abnormal skin pigmentation. They also used a mandelic/malic acid skin care product and avoided sun exposure entirely during the study.

Unlike lotions or moisturizers, vitamin C serum has a liquid or gel-like consistency. So if you have oily skin, you don’t have to worry that adding the serum to your daily skincare routine will make your face oilier. In fact, there are very few reasons not to add topical vitamin C to your anti-aging arsenal.

“The best time to deal with the visible signs of aging is before they occur,” says Dr. Schlessinger. Dr. Nazanin Saedi, a board-certified dermatologist and a clinical associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, agrees and adds that virtually everyone is at risk of sun damage. “With vitamin C serums we are minimizing the amount of sun damage that our skin’s getting from sunlight…it does double duty, both protecting the skin and helping problem areas recover.”

Choosing a high-quality vitamin C serum is important, but the most expensive versions aren’t always the best. Compare labels to see each product’s vitamin C concentration levels and choose one that has at least 8% (but don’t assume that more is better). Anything over 20% is where the benefits begin to taper off.

Paula’s Choice BOOST C15 Super Booster is a dermatologist-recommended vitamin C serum that also includes vitamin E and ferulic acid to increase its power. It costs around $55, but since you only use 2 to 3 drops per day, a little goes a long way. The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% is a more budget-friendly but still effective serum that will only set you back $11.