How To Choose the Best Vitamin C Serum

Choosing the Best Vitamin C Serum: Here is How to Pick the Very Best Vitamin C Cream for Your Skin.

Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid), when applied to the skin in serum form, can have almost magical effects. It can reduce wrinkles, even your skin tone, reduce hyperpigmentation, and help protect your skin against damage from the sun.

That's why most experts agree that a vitamin C serum is one of the most important skincare products anyone can treat themselves to.  Nevertheless, caution has to be applied when selecting one.

Best Vitamin C Serum

Before you even head out to the stores, you need to know how to choose the best vitamin C serum, to avoid ending up with a potentially harmful product. In this article, we'll explain just that.

Things To Look Out For In A Vitamin C Serum

Keep a keen lookout for these things while browsing the shelves:

Vitamin C Form

Vitamin C is usually called a few different names on product labels, but the types that are mostly used in serums are L-ascorbic acid and vitamin c derivatives.

While L-ascorbic acid is the purest form of vitamin C, and by extension, the most commonly used, it's also not the best option for sensitive skin because it tends to be harsh. It also degrades very quickly.

How To Choose the Best Vitamin C Serum

On the flip side, vitamin c derivatives are gentler on the skin, which makes them suitable for sensitive skin. They also have a longer shelf life. The most common vitamin C derivatives are sodium ascorbyl phosphate, magnesium ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, and Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. However, these derivatives convert to ascorbic acid when they're absorbed into the skin.


Experts recommend between 10% and 20% as the sweet spot for concentration levels. For the best efficiency, you should aim for a concentration of more than 8%. However, over 20% may cause irritation while providing no further benefit.

The higher the concentration levels, the greater the likelihood of serum reactions. For people with sensitive skin, lower concentrations of ascorbic acid are advised.

Vitamin C Serum

On their part, when vitamin C derivatives come into contact with the skin, they are transformed into ascorbic acid. However, It's not a direct comparison. In other words, if a product contains 5% of a derivative, it will not be transformed to 5% ascorbic acid.

Stabilizing Ingredients

Ascorbic acid is volatile, and when it faces exposure to light and air, it oxides rapidly. That's why it's crucial to ensure that your preferred serum contains stabilizing ingredients such as vitamin E and ferulic acid.

To ensure the best results, several products combine both ingredients. Check out the ingredients list to verify the exact contents of the product. And while you're at it, keep a keen lookout for an expiry date as well.

Vitamin C

Pay attention to the smell and color once you've started using it. If you notice any foul smell or discoloration, discard it immediately.

Moisturizing ingredients

Vitamin C often leaves the skin feeling dry, so you owe it to yourself to pick out a serum that includes moisturizing ingredients in its list. Ingredients such as aloe vera gel or juice, hyaluronic acid, and carrier oils such as grapeseed and olive should be among the things you're looking out for.

Best Vitamin C Serum


Vitamin C does not react well to light and air, so you should only settle for serums that are packaged in dark-colored or opaque bottles, or pump dispensers.

To extend the shelf life of the product, several shops recommend storing it in the refrigerator. A considerate manufacturer will give guidelines on how to preserve their serums on the label.

pH Balance

The serum must have a low, acidic pH in order for the skin to absorb vitamin C. According to some reports, absorption is optimum at a pH of 2 to 3. A normal, healthy adult's pH is 5.7, so the estimated number is a lot lower than average.

How To Choose the Best Vitamin C Serum

You might be able to get away with it if you have regular skin. If you have sensitive skin, on the other hand, you should choose a product that is pH balanced (in the 5 to 6 range).

In A Nutshell

Vitamin C serums are very effective and beneficial, but it's also very volatile, definitely not a product you should purchase without doing your due diligence.

In case you're planning on hitting the stores soon, we've provided this fast and easy guide to help you identify the best qualities of a vitamin C serum so that you know exactly what you're looking for and not end up with a dud.

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