People looking to elevate their skincare or achieve a brighter and younger-looking complexion, add a vitamin C serum to their regimen. It is a powerful antioxidant for the skin, which means that it can help fight free radicals that would otherwise cause damage. It can also brighten dark spots, as well as improve lines and wrinkles. 

What to Look for in a Vitamin C Serum

How does vitamin C protect and repair the skin?

Vitamin C itself is known for supporting the body’s immune system and helping it fight infections. As previously mentioned, it is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals. These are known to cause oxidative stress, which is a process that triggers cell and DNA damage, and contributes to aging.

What vitamin C does is help with the natural regeneration process of the skin to help the body repair damaged cells. It can be consumed through fruits and vegetables or be applied topically to help improve dullness and reduce signs of aging. Topical vitamin C is said to help with the production of two essential skin proteins, collagen and elastin.

Vitamin C in skincare is usually available in the form of serums, oils, and moisturizers. Serums are the most popular formulation and are used alongside broad-spectrum sunscreens to improve the skin’s protection against environmental damage. Other benefits of vitamin C serum include:

  • Reduces the look of wrinkles
  • Helps with wound healing
  • Lighten dark spots/hyperpigmentation
  • Brightens complexion and evens skin tone 
  • Helps protect against sun damage

What to look for in a vitamin C serum

While there is no doubt about what a vitamin C serum can do, the challenge comes in finding the right one. This is because there are a lot of products out there with different formulations, concentrations, and support ingredients. Doing a bit of research helps, along with knowing the factors to consider when choosing a vitamin c serum.

Form Vitamin C is available in different forms and labels. L-ascorbic acid is water soluble and is said to be the most active form of vitamin C. It helps support collagen synthesis, as well as thickens the skin and reduces the appearance of lines. And as a potent antioxidant, it is beneficial in combatting free radicals and reducing oxidative stress. 

Concentration – The recommended vitamin C concentration level (L-ascorbic acid) is 10 to 20%. Make sure to look for a product with a concentration higher than 8%, which is the minimum amount considered effective. 

If you’re just starting, begin with a concentration of 10% and increase it to 15 to 20%. Do take note that you don’t need a concentration above 20%, as this does not increase its benefit and can lead to redness and irritation. 

Ingredients – Vitamin C is often used alongside other ingredients to help stabilize it and increase its effectiveness. It works well with the following active ingredients:

    • Vitamin E – is another antioxidant that stabilizes vitamin C. It helps increase the skin’s hydration benefits and protect it from scarring and pigmentation.
    • Ferulic acid – increases vitamin C’s stability and effectiveness. It is also an antioxidant that can fight free radicals and when added to vitamin C, it can help minimize sun damage and discourage photoaging
    • Vitamin B3 (niacin) – can help reduce fine lines and dark spots. It raises the lightening capabilities of vitamin C by reducing the skin’s pigment (melanin) visibility. 
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – supports skin health by helping stimulate the skin’s healing process. It also improves the skin’s hydration levels and helps boost vitamin C’s collagen regeneration results. 

Packaging – vitamin C is unstable and can degrade quickly, especially with exposure to air, light, and heat. So, look for a product that comes in a dark or opaque glass bottle. Avoid those that are stored in jars, because it is likely for the product to be exposed to air every time you use it. Also, go with a glass bottle with an airtight medicine dropper instead of an air pump. 

Our vitamin C at Cutis

Here at Cutis, we have Dr. Sylvia’s 20% Vitamin C, B, E Serum with Ferulic Acid. It features various antioxidant actives that all interact with each other on a deeper level.  This combination creates a dynamic and potent product, which further enhances the free radical fighting properties of the serum. 

Our serum helps combat free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, as well as provides additional hydration and skin lightening benefits. All selected ingredients provide enhancements that help fight oxidative stress on multiple levels, delivering a satisfying antioxidant treatment. Benefits include: 

  • Provides antioxidant benefits
  • Reduces damage caused by oxidative stress
  • Has actives that work synergistically to boost one another
  • Helps lighten dark spots and the skin
  • Hydrates and moisturizes

Using your vitamin C right

For your antioxidant serum to do its job, you need to use and store it properly. Below are a few things to keep in mind when using a vitamin C serum

  • Layer it under sunscreen – Use it together with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Applying it under sunscreen helps provide further protection and improves the serum’s effectiveness.
  • Store it properly – Make sure your serum has opaque packaging. Always keep the lid closed and store it away from heat or sunlight, like inside your fridge. 
  • Patch test first – When using any new product, patch test first before applying it all over your face. This is to make sure that there’s no allergic reaction and the product is safe for you.
  • Know the ingredients you should never mix it with – Don’t use it alongside AHAs (glycolic acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid), as they can make the skin’s pH level more acidic and can dry the skin. The same also goes for retinol and benzoyl peroxide, as they can cancel each other out. 
  • Use it daily – Experts recommend using it during the daytime to protect you from further sun damage. Just be sure to layer it under sunscreen. 
  • Know when to throw it away – Most vitamin C serums are typically light yellow in color. If yours is brown or has an orange or brownish tint, it has probably oxidized and gone bad. Throw it away, as the product is no longer effective in fighting free radicals. 

Further reading: Vitamin C Serum: Are You Using it Right?

Browse through our website today for more skincare tips and product/treatment recommendations. And if you have specific skin concerns that you want to treat or improve, contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore today and schedule a consultation with our aesthetic doctor.