Proven Ingredients / Anti-ageing / Guide to Skincare Ingredients / Skin care Routines / Skincare Tips / Pigmentation / Rosacea/Redness

The Ultimate Guide to Vitamin C in Skincare

Looking for a guide to Vitamin C in skincare? You've come to the right place! In this blog post, we'll discuss everything you need to know about using Vitamin C in your skincare routine, including the benefits and best ways to use it. 

Vitamin C is one of the best anti-ageing ingredients on the market and the key to maintaining a smooth, even, and glowy complexion.

Vitamin C is necessary for the good functioning of many biological mechanisms in our body, including basic skin functions.

However, Vitamin C isn’t naturally produced by our body like most other Vitamins, we need to supply it through an external source, i.e. through nutrition, supplements or skincare.

To enjoy the benefits of Vitamin C for your skin, potent Vitamin C needs to be applied topically.


The Many Benefits of Vitamin C for your skin


Promotes collagen production – Help increase collagen production to reduce lines & wrinkles
Protects against premature aging – Helps fight free radicals caused by environmental and sun damage that can lead to premature ageing. 
Even tone – Help fade age spots and reduce hyperpigmentation.
Anti-inflammatory properties – Helps reduce inflammation with conditions such as acne and rosacea.
Brightens skin – It helps even skin tone and smooth appearance to reveal a brighter, healthier complexion.
Protects the skin against sun damage  – Helps neutralize free radicals that can lead to skin damage and premature ageing.


What are the different types of Vitamin C?

L-ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbyl phosphate are water-soluble forms of vitamin C.
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate offers a more stable form of vitamin C, however, it is less potent than L-ascorbic acid. L-ascorbic acid is by far the most active and potent form of vitamin C with the highest bioactivity; capable of penetrating deeper into the skin, stimulating collagen synthesis and protecting cells from free radicals, but less stable. By combining it with ferulic acid and stabilised vitamin E, it will remarkably increase the antioxidant properties and stability of L-ascorbic acid.
Look for products that formulate L-ascorbic acid with ferulic acid and vitamin E. This combo can make vitamin C more effective and helps stabilize.

ZENMED - L-Ascorbic Booster Serum - Contains Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate 

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP, for short) is a water-soluble form of vitamin C made by combining ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) with a magnesium salt to improve its stability in water-based formulas.

Ascorbyl Glucoside can be found in the very popular antioxidant from DermaTx. Ascorbyl Glucoside is a water-soluble derivative of Vitamin C. It is much more stable in water but it is less potent than direct L-Ascorbic Acid. DermaTx AOX also combines it with ferulic acid and vitamin E, which remarkably increases the antioxidant benefits.

Ascorbyl palmitate and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate are lipid-soluble forms of vitamin C.
Better stability and less irritating than L-ascorbic acid, so a good choice for sensitive skin types.
Since they are both oil-soluble, they can also penetrate the skin better than L-ascorbic acid.
Ascorbyl Palmitate is found in Jan Marini C-esta serum

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate can be found in Medik8 C Tetra & C Tetra Luxe

There are many forms of vitamin C for the skin, and while they all have antioxidant benefits, some types of vitamin C work better in skincare formulas than others. The quality of ingredients will also play a part in how well they work. Pharma grade vitamin C will provide clearer, quicker results than cosmetic grade.

These medical skincare products have also gone through clinical testing, and intense stability to ensure their effectiveness.


Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about vitamin C.

Why do I apply it in the morning?
Apply your vitamin c serum in the morning before heading out for the day, to protect against environmental stresses & free radicals.
When to apply, in which order?
For serums, you want to apply your vitamin C product to freshly cleansed skin. (step2)
How to apply a Vitamin C serum?


What's the right concentration of vitamin C for me?
Vitamin C serums come in a variety of concentrations, ranging from 5% all the way up to 30%.
Those with dry or sensitive skin probably want to start with lower concentrations, around 5%, which are less likely to be irritating. 
But those with more extensive sun damage & pigmentation issues may be able to tolerate much higher concentrations.
My advice is always to start low and increase slowly, that way less chance of any irritation.
Where do I store my Vitamin C serum?
Vitamin C is sensitive to light and air, so when exposed to these factors, it becomes oxidized, which then becomes less stable and less efficacious.
You will find most Vitamin serums come in an opaque glass bottle or airless pumps, that are either air-restrictive or air-tight.
Keep the bottle in a dark place, room temperature environment,  and never store the serum in the bathroom, since the change in temperature and humidity can cause the formula to break down more rapidly.
How long does antioxidant serum last?
It is normal for vitamin C products to darken after opening due to air and light exposure. The formula will remain effective. once opened, it is recommended to be used within 3 - 6 months of opening. Some people like to store in a refrigerator, which may help to prolong its shelf life.
Do I have to use a Vitamin C serum?
The most common way to get vitamin C in a skin-care routine is in a serum. With it being a concentrated formula, you will benefit the most with a serum.
If you’d rather not add an extra step to your regimen, you can also get vitamin C in cleansers, moisturisers, exfoliants, and even sunscreens.
Some of her favorite non-serum ways to get vitamin C include:


Save on damage-preventing, skin firming, collagen-building antioxidants for healthier younger-looking skin.
Not sure where to start?

We've rounded up a few of our favourites.

Medik8 C-Tetra & Medik8 C-Tetra Luxe

Jan Marini C-ESTA Face Serum

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

Eminence Organic Citrus & Kale Potent C + E Serum 

Dermaceutic Tri Vita C30


DermaTx Rejuvante Aox serum


View all of our Vitamin C serums

A photo of Andrea Patel
Andrea Patel Dermatology Nurse Practitioner & Director Author
View all posts by Andrea Patel