If you've noticed more vitamin C beauty products on the market, you're not alone. We asked the experts what this beauty trend is all about, and why you ought to add a vitamin-infused serum to your skincare routine.

By Rachel Wermager
May 07, 2019
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Glowing, youthful, radiant: things anyone would love to be described as. But with exposure to the sun, and just normal, average aging of the skin over time, it can take a little extra effort to keep skin bright and hydrated. One beauty trend, vitamin C facial serum, is here to give dull-looking skin a glowy boost. Just like how taking a vitamin C supplement can have positive effects on the body, treating your complexion to a dose of vitamin C also has its benefits. We asked the experts why adding a vitamin C serum to your skincare routine is so important, when (and how) to apply it, and which vitamin C serums to buy.

Image courtesy of Getty.

What Is a Vitamin C Serum?

First of all, a facial serum is a lightweight liquid moisturizer that contains a high concentration of ingredients to help with whatever skincare concerns it pertains to. Vitamin C serums are formulated to keep skin looking young and bright. Most serums come in a small glass bottle with a dropper for application.

Vitamin C serums contain, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, a ton of vitamin C. But not all products are created equal. When you’re browsing for a vial, you’ll want to look for an ingredient called L-Ascorbic Acid (LAA) because that means it contains true vitamin C, says Bobbi Del Balzo, Lead Aesthetician at Deep Blue Med Spa.

How Does a Vitamin C Serum Work?

According to dermatologist Kathleen Cook Suozzi, M.D., vitamin C has three main functions when it comes to your skin. First, it helps to stimulate collagen, which gives the skin a supple and plump appearance. Second, it acts as an antioxidant to sop up free radicals that cause skin aging. And lastly, vitamin C helps to brighten skin and give it a youthful glow.

“Everyone can benefit from vitamin C serums,” dermatologist Shari Sperling, D.O., says. “It’s an antioxidant that helps to prevent free radicals. It has anti-aging benefits and helps to protect your skin from the sun. It’s good across the board!”

When and How Often Should You Apply It?

Both Del Balzo and Sperling suggest applying a vitamin C serum in the morning to help protect against environmental damage and UV rays all day. Though morning is the ideal time to apply it, it can also be used before bed. “The key point is not so much the time of day but regular, consistent application,” Suozzi says. “The ideal situation is to maintain high levels of vitamin C in the skin with regular, consistent use.”

Sperling says the application is simple; drip one to two drops of serum onto your fingertips and gently rub the serum into these five areas on your face: cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose. Do this after you've used your cleanser but before you apply a moisturizer or other skincare and makeup products.

Related: 4 Hassle-Free Ways to Protect Yourself from the Sun All Day Long

Popular Vitamin C Serums to Buy

With numerous advances in the formulation of vitamin C products, there are so many products to choose from, Suozzi says. She also adds that vitamin C is destabilized by light, and once it turns a brownish color it is no longer active. When you're shopping, look for serums bottled in airtight containers, which will help prevent oxidation, and store it out of direct sunlight at home (a medicine cabinet will do).

Ready to add a brightening serum to your skincare routine? We’ve picked out a few top-rated vitamin C serums to help get you on your way to glowing skin.

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

If clean beauty is top of mind for you, reach for this all natural, vegan and cruelty-free vitamin C serum. It wins awards for improving the overall appearance of skin, including fading wrinkles and reducing discoloration.

Buy It: Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum, $27.19, Amazon

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Pixi Skintreats Vitamin C Serum

Reduce the appearance of sun damage and create a smoother complexion with Pixi Skintreats Vitamin C serum. It's packed with powerful antioxidants to make skin radiant and keep the signs of aging at bay while brightening those pesky dark spots.

Buy It: Pixi Skintreats Vitamin-C Serum, $32, Amazon

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

We know that hyaluronic acid works wonders on dry skin, and it's a big reason why Mario Badescu's Vitamin C Serum is so effective. Its ingredients work to retain the moisture your skin already has–and give it a smoother, younger, more luminous appearance.

Buy It: Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum, $45, Amazon

Image courtesy of Glow Recipe.

Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Brightening Serum

You can eat your fruit, or you can wear it. Pineapple juice is a key ingredient in this lightweight vitamin C serum that's extra gentle for sensitive skin. This calming serum will help balance uneven skin tones, minimize acne scars, and leave skin glossy.

Buy It: Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Brightening Serum, $49, Glow Recipe

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