Why Your Vitamin C Serum Isn’t Working

The benefits of vitamin C serums go beyond brightening and reducing dullness. It can help improve several inflammatory conditions, reduce redness, and fade different types of hyperpigmentation. This powerful antioxidant ingredient also boosts collagen production to help you maintain an even, smooth, and glowing complexion. 

Improper use of the product, however, can cause it to work against your favor or not reap all the benefits. If you believe that your serum is not working or doing its job, here are the possible reasons.

1. You are NOT storing your Vitamin C serum properly.

Exposure to heat and sunlight causes oxidation, which can then affect the serum’s potency. You’ll know it when the product changes color, from clear to brown, or has a rancid smell. If you notice this with the one you’re using, it is time to throw it away. An oxidized serum is no longer effective in fighting free radicals.  

The average life expectancy of vitamin C serums is about three months after opening. After this period, you can expect to see some browning in its color with less potency. It is recommended to stop using the product, as it is less effective and won’t make any difference to your skin. 

What to do: Choose products that come in opaque and air-tight bottles/containers. This will help in keeping the product fresh and prevent overexposure to air. You should also store it in a dark, cool place (like the fridge) and away from direct sunlight. 

2. You are mixing it with the wrong ingredients. 

Vitamin C is an extremely unstable acid that shouldn’t be combined with other acids (AHAs and BHAs). Mixing them can destabilize the pH balance of your skin and sabotage the serum’s effectiveness. If you are looking to use acids or exfoliating ingredients, it is best to use them separately or at different times of the day.

Here are the ingredients you shouldn’t mix vitamin C with:

  • AHAs/BHAs (lactic, glycolic, salicylic acid)
  • Retinol 
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
  • Benzoyl peroxide 
  • Soap-based cleansers

3. You are not using sun protection.

Vitamin C serums are ideal for daytime use to protect your skin from damage due to UV rays and pollution. The only issue is serums with higher concentrations can make you vulnerable to sun exposure. Not wearing sun protection can negate the effects of your antioxidant serum. Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure can also darken your skin and cause premature skin aging.  

Be sure to always team your vitamin C serum up with sun protection. When applying during the day, layer it under a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. The use of both products can help neutralize free radicals and offer further protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

4. You are not using it every day.

To see optimal results, it is best to use the product every day. It should be applied after cleanser (and toner) but before moisturizer and sunscreen. The usual recommendation is to use it during the daytime to protect you from further sun damage. Just be sure to layer it under sunscreen when applying it in the morning. 

You can also choose to apply the serum both day and night if your skin can handle it. Nighttime application means that the product will have fewer factors and products (makeup, sunscreen, UV rays, pollution) to clash with, which can help to repair the skin even better. 

Check out this blog for tips on getting the most out of your vitamin C serum.

The product we recommend  

At Cutis Medical Laser Clinics, we have the Vitamin C 20% with Ferulic Acid. This comprehensive serum combines various antioxidant actives that further enhances the free radical fighting properties of the product. It helps fight oxidative stress on multiple levels, as well as provide extra hydration and skin lightening benefits.

Dr. Sylvia’s Vitamin C 20% is a potent product that can improve several skincare issues and give your skin a radiant glow. Benefits include:

  • Hydrates and moisturizes the skin
  • Combats oxidative stress 
  • Offers antioxidant benefits
  • Provides hydration and lightening benefits
  • Has various actives that work synergistically to boost one another

If you want to reap all the benefits of this antioxidant serum, be sure to use and store it the right way. To learn more about our line of skincare products and anti-aging aesthetic treatments, contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore today.