Vitamin C serum is a powerful tool to include in your skincare arsenal.
From this article, you will learn how to make the most of vitamin C serum to use it wisely and confidently. In addition, if you are not familiar with serums, this article will get you up to speed on everything you need to know to identify them and choose the best one for you.
Looking for the best skincare products in what can seem like a sea of options is often overwhelming and confusing. Luckily, we’re here to help sort the facts from fiction and help you get a sense of what to look for when choosing a vitamin C serum to use. In addition, this article will give you a clear sense of how to apply vitamin C serum and when to use it.
Why Use a Serum?
Among the many skincare products that you might come across, serums can be some of the most confusing at first glance. Typically, a serum comes in a little dropper bottle.
To dispel any confusion, here is an explanation of why and how serums are used in a skincare regimen: a serum delivers a high concentration of a powerful ingredient to your skin in its most pure form. While many other products contain lower concentrations of their active ingredient, serums will give you a lot of the important stuff in just a few drops. This means that to use a serum, you only need to use a few drops at a time.
An active ingredient in a skincare product is the component that has the most significant effect on your skin. In a serum, this ingredient is found in a higher concentration than one might find in another product like a cleanser, moisturizer or cream.
Serums are typically used towards the beginning of your skincare routine. This is because they are more lightweight than heavier products like moisturizer, creams, and sunscreen. A good rule of thumb for serum application is to put the product on after cleanser, exfoliator, and toner, but before anything else. Cleanser, exfoliator, and toner are all either lightweight or rinsed off your face after use, meaning they won’t interfere with your skin’s ability to absorb the active ingredient in a serum.
Serums are often used instead of other products to deliver a high amount of a specific ingredient to your skin. In circumstances when you are targeting a specific skin issue like acne or wrinkles, a serum can be helpful. Serums ideally do not contain any filler ingredients that will not necessarily be beneficial to your skin.
While many creams or gels contain helpful active ingredients that are good for your skin, they typically do not contain as high of a concentration of an ingredient as a serum would. Instead, creams and gels are typically meant to be applied in larger amounts to your skin because the ratio of the active ingredient to other ingredients is lower.
Introducing Vitamin C
Now that you know why serums are helpful for your skin, it’s time to learn about vitamin C as a skincare ingredient.
Chances are, you are familiar with vitamin C and maybe have even taken it in supplement form to support your immune system. However, vitamin C can also be applied topically to your skin. Using vitamin C on your skin is beneficial for multiple reasons. It's a powerhouse ingredient that can be a major asset in dealing with numerous skin issues like wrinkles, blemishes, and hyperpigmentation.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning it neutralizes potentially harmful free radical activity in your body. Free radicals are atoms in your body that have unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be paired, which means that free radicals will search for electrons to pair with from other cells within your body. When there are not enough antioxidants in your body, you will likely undergo what is known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is too much free radical activity in your body and not enough antioxidant activity. This imbalance can cause the cells in your body to weaken and break down, contributing to an increase in signs of aging.
Why Use Antioxidants on Your Skin?
Topical antioxidants like vitamin C can help your skin resist the harmful effects of free radical activity. The presence of free radicals in your body is unavoidable – they are produced in response to numerous aspects of daily life, including air pollution. However, you can decrease free radical activity in your body by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and including antioxidants in both your diet and your skincare regimen.
Applying antioxidants like vitamin C to your skin will support your skin’s production of the proteins it needs to stay strong, healthy, and looking young. Two of the main proteins that vitamin C can stimulate production of are collagen and elastin. Collagen is the protein in your skin that helps retain its structure and firmness. If your skin is not producing sufficient amounts of collagen, it will inevitably begin to show wrinkles and can even become discolored. Dark spots can form on your skin as a result of lack of sufficient collagen production – this is called hyperpigmentation. Overall, your skin needs to produce adequate amounts of collagen to help you retain a youthful appearance.
Elastin is another protein produced by your skin. Elastin helps your skin stay flexible while still retaining its shape and structure. Without sufficient elastin production, your skin may begin to sag and get wrinkly. Increased free radical activity can inhibit the production of elastin in your skin, so supplying your skin with antioxidants like vitamin C is essential.
How to Use Vitamin C Serum
To use vitamin C serum, just a few drops is sufficient! Since serums are highly concentrated, your skin will be getting plenty of vitamin C from just a little bit of a serum with each application.
Serums are best applied using your fingers. To apply vitamin C serum, put a few drops on the tips of your index and middle fingers. Next, gently spread the serum evenly throughout your face, avoiding the skin around your eyes. This part of your face is especially sensitive and can sometimes be irritated by products that are not designed specifically for it, such as an eye gel or eye cream.
Before using a serum, make sure to make use of a high-quality cleanser to purify your skin and get it ready to receive the serum’s active ingredient. In order for the vitamin C in a vitamin C serum to penetrate your skin, it is best to wait to apply any heavier products until after you have put the serum on.
After using a cleanser, you can exfoliate and use a toner, but wait until after you have applied the serum to put on any heavier products like eye cream, moisturizer, or sunscreen.
When using vitamin C serum, it is essential to wear sunscreen daily as well. Using products with high-strength active ingredients like vitamin C serum can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so daily application of sunscreen is a must.
Sunscreen is best used at the end of your skincare routine, after the application of other products is complete. You can apply a generous amount of sunscreen multiple times daily. Depending on your job, lifestyle and where you live, you may benefit from wearing a hat and sunglasses when outdoors to provide your skin with extra sun protection.
How Often Should You Use Vitamin C Serum?
Vitamin C serum can be used twice daily--once in the morning and once at night. However, if you experience irritation or redness after using vitamin C serum, it can be beneficial to reduce your usage.
If you suspect that your skin may not react well to vitamin C serum, it can be helpful to perform a patch test before you use the serum on your face. To perform a patch test, apply a small amount of the serum to the skin on your arm and wait 24 hours. If you do not experience any redness or irritation after 24 hours have passed, your skin can handle vitamin C serum well.
If you have any questions or concerns about how and when to implement vitamin C serum into your skincare routine, consider consulting your dermatologist. If you do not currently see a dermatologist, building a relationship with one is a worthwhile step to take for your skin’s health.
A skincare expert can review your regimen and let you know their insights on any new products you are considering trying. Your dermatologist may recommend specific products or ingredients to you based on your skin type, specific concerns about your skin, and even your age. In addition, a dermatologist can help you decide what vitamin C serum is best for you.