Kahryn Pedroza is a writer, intuitive-intersectional wellness educator, and national board certified health and wellness coach. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a double minor in Sociology and Health Studies from the University of San Francisco. She combines this education with certifications in functional medicine health coaching and yoga teaching and her own rhetorical knack to communicate in person, online, and in print about the intersectionality and accessibility of health, wellness, sustainability, spirituality, and intentional living.

Vitamin C isn’t naturally found in skin cells, so nature wants us to supplement. This master nutrient is proven to be one of our greatest allies when it comes to building skin health. While Vitamin C is commonly known for its ability to support immunity and is typically consumed as a supplement, Vitamin C serums have many skin benefits that simply can’t be experienced if you were to skip the serum and solely take it in oral supplement form.

As the body’s largest organ, skin goes through a lot. In the same way, you get stressed-out from your environment, your skin can too. Topical Vitamin C is a powerhouse, helping to protect the skin barrier, repair stressed out skin, and brighten complexion.

How Can Vitamin C Serums Help My Skin?

Vitamin C serums are multidimensional in how they support the skin. Regardless of where your skin’s at, on any given day, it may be exposed to air pollution, excessive sun, blue light, and pesky chemicals — and appropriately, your skin responds to these stressors. These stressors cause oxidative stress, meaning unstable atoms in the environment known as free radicals damage cells and cause skin exhaustion and accelerate signs of aging.

With an imbalance of free radicals to antioxidants, your skin will show it is stressed out. Stressed skin can show up as dryness, dullness, dark spots, uneven skin tone, and premature wrinkles.

Vitamin C serum can make your skin more resilient to stress by protecting cell health and reversing signs of stress.

Surprisingly, our bodies don’t naturally produce Vitamin C due to the absence of an enzyme needed to create it. With that being said, neither does our skin. Supplementing with Vitamin C and using topical Vitamin C can have synergistic effects, as you’re supporting from the inside out and outside it. While oral Vitamin C protects the body against oxidative damage, topical Vitamin C can provide targeted skin support and unstress your body’s largest organ.

8 Benefits of Vitamin C Serums

If you’re over spot treating skin issues and looking to build and sustain healthy skin, here’s how Vitamin C serum provides benefits:

1. Safe for a range of skin types

Vitamin C serum has been well-researched and shown to be gentle and safe no matter the state of your skin type. Whether dry or oily, topical Vitamin C can balance out your skin pH and provide benefits.

2. Can brighten dark spots

Curious if vitamins enhance the appearance of dark spots? Research studies have shown a reduction in melanin synthesis after sun exposure with Vitamin C, so if you spend a day in the sun, your skin is less likely to respond to potential sun damage by creating dark spots and more likely to manage that UV exposure without stressing itself out.

3. Can brighten melasma

Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that can stop the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for melasma. Studies show applying vitamin C serum can reverse hyperpigmentation, brighten the skin, and improve the appearance of melasma when used as part of a comprehensive skin care routine.

4. Can promote collagen

Another Vitamin C benefit is that it can promote skin’s natural collagen and elasticity. In fact,

collagen cannot be created without Vitamin C, and because we have a finite amount of vitamin C in our bodies from the food we eat, using topical Vitamin C ensures your skin has enough of this micronutrient to create healthy collagen.

Collagen allows the skin to appear plump, and because collagen production naturally decreases with age and stress, you can prevent sagging, exhausted skin by nourishing it with Vitamin C.

5. Can help reduce lines

Vitamin C can actually reduce the look of skin texture and fine lines. And while aging is a natural part of life, fine lines and wrinkles can occur prematurely because of environmental stress and skin damage. By creating enough collagen, the skin barrier can do its job when it comes to elasticity and plumpness, so more collagen means less fine lines and wrinkles.

6. Can help skin heal faster 

Vitamin C can support skin’s ability to heal itself. Lower Vitamin C levels have been shown to cause skin to take longer to heal itself when wounded and because wound healing is associated with collagen formation, Vitamin C’s ability to increase collagen allows you to recover quicker from minor skin wounds (but avoid applying vitamin C directly to the wound — this is why consistent use is important as it increases your skin’s Vitamin C reserves).

7. Can safely support other skin care actives

You don’t need to cut other skin care actives out of your current routine. In fact, Vitamin C serum can work well in combination with SPF as it provides the skin additional support and protection. Studies show when you combine vitamin C with sunscreen, you get even fuller sun protection and sun aging protection because they work together synergistically, so if any sun manages to sneak through your sunscreen, that Vitamin C will be there to take the hit.

8. Can protect against daily toxins

Try as you might, you cannot avoid every toxin. Just stepping outside can mean car exhaust and chemicals in the air, and exposure to these toxins not only creates cellular stress but, that stress can become visible in the form of clogged pores. Vitamin C serum can reduce the appearance of clogged pores as the antioxidants it contains protects the skin from absorbing and retaining these toxins.

How to Use a Vitamin C Serum

Here are a few things to keep in mind when applying Vitamin C in your skin care routine:

  • Start slow — Get your skin familiar with this new step and gradually work your way up to a larger topical dose over time.
  • Use AM + PM — This allows your skin to experience the full range of Vitamin C’s benefits.
  • Apply to clean skin — After cleansing and while the skin is still damp.
  • Do not mix with retinol — If Retinol is part of your skin care routine, it is suggested you apply Vitamin C serum in the morning and Retinol at night.
  • Do not mix with chemical exfoliant — This can cause irritation and throw off skin pH
  • Be consistent — Consistency is essential to see the full range of benefits and build skin health.

How to Select a Vitamin C Serum

Not all Vitamin C serums are equal. When it comes to skin care, Vitamin C is known to be a very unstable ingredient. When exposed to air, water, and light, its potency can decrease, which means that the percentage of Vitamin C formulated in the bottle may not actually make it onto your skin.

While Vitamin C serums can certainly deliver benefits of the active ingredient, Vitamin C powders have been shown to be a powerful alternative. Since the ingredients are not already suspended in liquid, it’s stable for longer, retains its potency, and allows you to customize your dose. This gives your skin a better chance at absorbing the antioxidants it needs.

Additionally, not all forms of a Vitamin C product can penetrate the skin. L-Ascorbic Acid is the most bio-active and research-proven form that provides skin benefits. Other forms of Vitamin C are Ascorbyl-6 Palmitate and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate — which have not been shown to actually provide the skin benefits as the skin does not retain these forms of Vitamin C.

Here are 3 things to consider when choosing a Vitamin C serum:

  • Form: Is it L-Ascorbic Acid, or a non-active version like Ascorbyl 6 Palmitate or Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate?
  • Concentration: What percentage of Vitamin C does it contain? (10% - 20% is optimal)
  • Other Ingredients: Does the serum contain Hyaluronic or Ferulic Acid? (Those have been shown to increase the effectiveness of Vitamin C on the skin)

G Pack™ is the first 50% Vitamin C and Glutathione antioxidant formula. Our innovative powder combines 50% Vitamin C, 10% Glutathione, and 3% Ferulic Acid to help promote skin’s natural collagen and elasticity, minimize the appearance of fine lines, visibly brighten dark spots and melasma, and fortify against damage from environmental toxins and oxidative stress. Glutathione benefits for skin don’t just end there as glutathione helps acne and when mixed into Plump Jelly natural hydrating face serum, it creates the ultimate hydrating antioxidant recipe: a potent and stable Vitamin C E G Ferulic serum.

Should I Moisturize With a Vitamin C Serum?

As with any skin care routine, it’s so important to moisturize after using a Vitamin C serum. Depending on the product you’re using, see if the brand encourages you to follow up with a water or oil based moisturizer. If you’re using G Pack™ mixed with Plump Jelly, follow up with Cosmic Cream.

Why Should You Use a Vitamin C Serum?

Using a daily Vitamin C serum can support your skin health in numerous ways. One of the most striking reasons it is so supportive is that it actually works with your skin’s circadian rhythm. During the day when skin is in protection mode, shielding you from UV rays by producing melanin, Vitamin C acts as environmental protection. At night, when skin flips into damage control, doing DNA repair and replication, Vitamin C supports deep regeneration. Because lifestyle factors like stress, sugar, alcohol, and even travel can make skin more prone to damage, applying Vitamin C serum AM + PM helps protect and repair, supporting sustainable skin health.

Potential Side Effects

Thankfully, Vitamin C serums do not have significant side effects but a good Vitamin C serum should be tested and formulated with sensitive skin in mind. Even so, patch test the Vitamin C serum by applying to a small area and look out for a few side effects.

Is Vitamin C Serum Worthwhile?

Yes! Good skin occurs bidirectionally, from the inside out and the outside in. Vitamin C serums should be in your clean skin care routine (outside in) while Vitamin C supplementation in the form of nutrition and capsules (inside out) should be a part of your daily lifestyle.

No matter how hard we try, we cannot avoid environmental stress, but we can protect, repair, and make our skin more resilient to it with a bio-active Vitamin C serum. Because this micronutrient is not naturally created by the body but can powerfully protect and enhance the skin in 8 different ways, it is worthwhile to use a Vitamin C serum so your skin can thrive.