Vitamin C is a a must-have on any beauty shelf! It reduces inflammation, fight free-radical damage, brighten skin, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce the appearance of discoloration and dark spots. But while vitamin C can be quite effective some people can suffer Vitamin C Skin Deficiency.
According to Dr. Tara Rao of Schweiger Dermatology Group, vitamin C is an unstable ingredient, finding properly formulated serums is paramount to reaping all the benefits of the antioxidant and avoiding Vitamin C Skin Deficiency. Our experts generally recommend looking for serums that contain L-ascorbic acid — the most active form of vitamin C — and to store whichever one you buy away from sunlight to prevent oxidization. Below, their favorite vitamin C serums & Toner for every skin type.
Best overall vitamin C serum
Four of our dermatologists recommend Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, which they (and our editors) hail as the gold-standard vitamin C serum, and is suitable for all skin types. “I think it’s the best out there,” declares Dr. Kenneth Howe of the Wexler Dermatology Group. She says it has a light, non-greasy feel, while still delivering “the maximum amount of its actives to the skin.” It is expensive, but worth the price due to its super-stable, patented formula, according to our experts. That’s because L-ascorbic acid (which comprises 15 percent of this serum) is water soluble, and in less precisely formulated serums, won’t effectively penetrate skin. “A product must be formulated carefully to enable sufficient delivery to the skin,” Howe explains. Part of this serum’s patented formula includes a pH level higher than those of its competitors, meaning it won’t cause the redness and sensitivity that serums with lower pH can. As Dr. Julie Russak, founder of the Russak Dermatology Group, puts it, this serum can “deliver vitamin C through the top layer without disrupting the protective barrier of the skin.”
Whatever vitamin C serum you choose, Howe suggests applying it in the morning. “That way a reservoir of active vitamin C is present in the skin during the daylight hours, when ultraviolet radiation is strongest,” she explains.
Best affordable vitamin C serum
For a more budget-friendly option, Russak recommends Maelove Glow Maker. Created by MIT scientists, the antioxidant serum “contains a straightforward formula which has been proven to protect, hydrate, and nourish the skin.” In addition to skin brightening L-ascorbic and ferulic acids, the serum also has a soothing botanical blend of aloe, grape, magnolia, and orange peel to give the skin an added dose of nourishment. The formula is also designed to serve as a makeup primer, so there’s no need to worry about your products pilling under your foundation in the morning.