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The Truth About Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been all the craze recently! Whether it be in skin care, supplements or in its natural form, it has many benefits. But despite the benefits, you need to first make sure it’s right for you. It’s fairly acidic and can be unstable, meaning that it isn’t necessarily for everyone. So, let’s talk about Vitamin C and read on for tips on how to get the most out of it!

Why should I use Vitamin C?

Vitamin C can help protect your skin from stress caused by an excess of free radicals created in your body (known as oxidative stress). It can also increase collagen formation and can help even out your skin tone and brighten your complexion!

Antioxidant Powerhouse

Its antioxidant properties can help your skin’s natural regeneration process in repairing damaged skin cells. They minimize the damage through neutralizing free radicals that are found both internally (by-products of our bodily processes) and externally, which are found in environmental stressors (i.e smoking, pollution, UV rays). Free radicals are molecules with one or more unpaired electrons, they are naturally found in the body but are usually in ratio with the body’s natural antioxidants. 

Collagen Booster

Amazingly, it can also speed up the production of collagen and elastin, keeping skin plump and firm. In other words, Vitamin C helps prevent skin from aging prematurely through prevention and control!


SPF is definitely our “BFF” and Vitamin C has photo protective effects that can boost the efficacy of our sunscreen! Talk about a power couple. Together they preventing our skin from the undesirable sun damage.


Vitamin C can also tackle skin discoloration by inhibiting tyrosinase, a key enzyme in the production of melanin (i.e., natural skin pigment). It helps to fade dark spots and brighten overall skin tone.

What does it mean when it ‘oxidizes’?

Despite its many benefits, this powerful antioxidant skincare ingredient is not without disadvantages. Vitamin C can be very unstable as it oxidizes rather easily when exposed to light, heat, pH change and even air. And when these products go brown or are showing less effect, it may mean the product has oxidized.

If you’re curious or want to learn more about the efficacy and safety of using a vitamin c product you suspect may be oxidized, take a look at our FAQ on Vitamin C with cosmetic chemist @skinchemy.

How to incorporate into your regime

How can you add vitamin C to your routine? Well, like we said before, you have to be careful with this ingredient so it doesn’t oxidize. So efficacy and shelf time can depend on the formulation and packaging. Meaning they can be a bit pricey. Here are some tips to look out for when choosing so you can get the best bang for the buck!

Choose a serum

We can find vitamin C in different skincare products, but serum is the most efficient preparation. Serums are definitely more potent than creams or toners and you can easily incorporate it into your regime. We can apply serums once or twice a day depending on your individual skin tolerance and your existing regime.We have a few serum ‘Picks’ if you want help getting started.

Choose the right formulation

L-ascorbic Acid (LAA) is the most effective form of Vitamin C. However, it can irritate because of its low pH formulation, and it is also the most unstable. There are various derivatives that are more stable, less sensitizing with variable efficacy in either water or oil formulations. So, choose ones that are suitable for your skin type and budget!

Buddy up with Antioxidants

When combined with other antioxidants such as Ferulic Acid and Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Vitamin C becomes more stable and efficient. We can also pair it with hydrating ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid to increase its stability, prolonging its shelf life.

Start slow and low

You can use it twice daily, but it’s best to start low and go slow. Aim for 5% concentration and work your way up to 20% once your skin grows more tolerant to the ingredient. Remember that it can sensitize and may not be suitable for everyone. If you’re experiencing prolonged skin redness, dryness or itching while using Vitamin C skincare products, it’s best to give your skin a break as your skin barrier may become compromised!

Be mindful of the packaging

Some Vitamin C serums are more unstable and require to be packaged in dark-tinted, air-tight packaging to prevent oxidation. If your Vitamin C serum comes in a dropper, make sure you close the bottle tightly after every use. It is also important to store it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight!

Layer it under SPF

You can use vitamin C products either in the morning or night routine. Applying in the morning can help boost the efficacy of your sun protection! So, go on ahead and use it alongside your SPF!

Is Vitamin C for you?

There’s no exact rules for which ingredients should and shouldn’t mix with Vitamin C. However, mixing too many active ingredients in the same routine may increase risk of having a reaction! Try to avoid potentially irritating active ingredients such as AHA, BHA, retinoids and benzoyl peroxide.

Instead, use these products at different times or mix and match on alternate days. Despite the seemingly endless skin benefits, remember that it may not be for everyone! If you have sensitive skin or cannot tolerate Vitamin C, do not fret as there are many alternative skincare ingredients that may be more suitable for your skin. As always, don’t forget to do a patch test before trying any new products!

Find it on Picky!

Refine your search with the Mega Ingredient Filter on Picky so you can scroll through products with just the ingredients you want, like vitamin C! There’s plenty of ways to discover new skincare and learn on Picky, so don’t forget to check out both the app and web! And don’t miss our fun skincare content on Instagram!

Created With

Dr. Crystal Lee

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