Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, helps repair sun damage, stimulates collagen production, and reduces the signs of aging. (1) Knowing this, it’s no wonder that so many Vitamin C serums are appearing on store shelves. However, not all Vitamin C serums are created equal – there are many different forms of Vitamin C that can be used in a serum (some more stable than others), and the other ingredients used to formulate these serums vary greatly by brand. Here are a few things to look at when choosing a Vitamin C serum to add to your skin care regimen.
Vitamin C comes from more than just orange juice, and some forms are more stable and effective than others. Furthermore, some forms of Vitamin C may irritate your skin more than they improve it. Pure Vitamin C is called L-ascorbic acid (or just “ascorbic acid”) and is water-soluble, which makes it optimal for collagen synthesis. (3) Ascorbic acid is naturally present in a variety of foods (including citrus fruits), botanical extracts such as Kakadu plum (which is what we use in our own Vitamin C serum), and is manufactured as a dietary supplement. (4) Unfortunately, it is also the least stable form of Vitamin C, which means it oxidizes very quickly when exposed to sunlight. (3)
Sunlight and oxygen degrade ascorbic acid very quickly, so the best packaging for a Vitamin C serum is a solid coloured or dark container – something that doesn’t allow light in. (2) Extracting it from the container using either a pump or a dropper is also much more hygienic than pouring it from an open container (and allows less oxygen to enter the bottle).
Optimally, a Vitamin C serum should be clear or slightly milky in colour depending on the other ingredients. If a serum has changed colour to tan or brown, it means that the Vitamin C in the product has oxidized and you should throw it away. Rather than neutralizing free radicals, oxidized Vitamin C can actually generate free radicals in your skin. (3)
Generally speaking, more Vitamin C is better – that’s why you’re using the serum, after all! Serums containing a very high concentration of Vitamin C may state a percentage, but most products don’t. Instead, look for where the Vitamin C is positioned in your serum’s ingredient list. If the Vitamin C is being sourced from a botanical ingredient (such as Kakadu plum), the botanical/extract name may be listed instead of ‘ascorbic acid’. (2) Ingredient lists are ordered from greatest to least concentration so the closer the Vitamin C ingredient is to the front of the list, the more of it is in your serum. Also, the other ingredients in the serum all play important roles: aloe is great to see in a serum because it will help add moisture to your skin (remember that Vitamin C is water soluble!), and antioxidants work in tandem so seeing another one in your serum will make the product longer lasting and more effective. (2)
Texture greatly affects how a skin care product applies so this one comes down to personal preference and how you intend to use your Vitamin C serum. If you’re looking to use your serum as more of a spot treatment, a thicker texture will help it ‘stay put’ better. A thinner or gel-like texture will spread easily and be much more efficient if you are looking to apply the serum to your entire face. (2)
Comments will be approved before showing up.