Does Vitamin C Serum Work? The Benefits And Side Effects

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There is a wide array of beauty products out there. So many, it leaves you wondering about their effectiveness and how to use them correctly. As far as the skincare business goes, vitamin C serum is one of the most talked-about. This leaves you with the question, does vitamin C serum work?

Sometimes, a product is only as good as they say it is, especially when there is a lot of buzz around it. However, if you have used vitamin C serum before, you are likely to contest that assertion.

Functioning as an antioxidant, vitamin C eliminates potentially damaging oxidizing elements in your body.

Vitamin C products such as serums have proven potent in improving dull skin tone and texture. In addition, it helps in reducing signs of aging, hyperpigmentations, and dark spots, increasing collagen production, brightening, and providing anti-inflammatory effects.

Read further to find out more about the effectiveness of vitamin C serum.

What is a vitamin C serum?

Vitamin C serum is an oil- or water-based product rich in vitamin C. 

Vitamin C is one of the best anti-aging agents on the market and the key to maintaining clear and even-toned skin. Therefore, using vitamin C serum can help you to achieve clear skin.

Although your body gets vitamins from the food you eat, there is no guarantee it will be enough for your skin. Experts say that using serum and other topical products is one of the most direct ways to enjoy its benefits. 

What makes up vitamin C serum?

Skincare brands make vitamin C serum mainly with vitamin C and other antioxidant compounds such as vitamin E and ferulic acid.

These skincare brands find it difficult to manufacture vitamin C serum purely out of vitamin C because the compound is liable to break down when exposed to light, heat, and air.

As a result, mixing vitamin C with vitamin E, ferulic acid, and other compounds to make vitamin C serum enables manufacturers to deliver a product with a high concentration of vitamin C that the body can absorb easily. 

What are the benefits of using vitamin C serum?

Apart from being a great source of antioxidants, there is a great deal of benefits to using vitamin C serum on your skin. The following are the benefits of vitamin C serum.

Protects the skin from sunlight damage

Constant exposure to sunlight can damage your skin due to the free radicals it contains. Free radicals are particles that cause inflammation. Using vitamin C serum helps to protect your skin from these damaging factors.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which allows it to be able to reduce the damage free radicals inflict on the skin. 

It protects the skin from sunlight damage by reducing premature cell death, reducing the release of cytokines which are inflammatory agents, and reducing damage from exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. 

Gives an even skin tone

Vitamin C reduces the production of melanin, the agent responsible for the dark pigmentation of the skin. By reducing, it helps to treat hyperpigmentation of the skin, giving it an even tone. 

Prevents premature aging

Vitamin C serum doesn’t stop the body from aging. It helps reduce rapid wrinkling of the skin. Vitamin C serum helps the skin achieve this by stimulating collagen growth. Collagen is a protein that helps provide elasticity and structure to the skin.

Hydrates the skin 

Using vitamin C serum has a hydrating effect on the skin, allowing it to stay protected from skin dryness. A research review from 2017 reveals that most healthy organs and skin contain high concentrations of vitamin C. Consequently, vitamin C serum is healthy for the skin and body.

The use of vitamin C serum decreases transepidermal water loss, making room for the skin to retain good moisture.

Smoothens skin texture 

The oil- or water-based forms of vitamin C serum make it light on the skin, allowing easy absorption and better moisture retention. This moisture helps to heal cracks in the skin, giving a more smooth and soft texture.

Reduces skin redness

Vitamin C serum acts as an inflammatory agent due to its antioxidant potency. This allows it to help soothe the skin and reduce puffiness that may arise from skin reactions and irritation. 

Minimizes the appearance of under-eye circles on the face

Under-eye rings are likely to appear when you are losing sleep or aging. Using vitamin C serum helps to treat it. Vitamin C serum smoothens fine lines by hydrating and plumping the under-eye area. 

According to a 2009 study, using vitamin C of 10% sodium reduced under-eye dark circles after 6 months, thickening the dermis of the eyelid and concealing dark coloration due to the presence of congested blood.

Aids wound healing process

Given its ability to produce collagen and soothe sunburn, vitamin C serum helps to speed up the healing process of wounds on the skin. Wound healing is associated with the build-up of collagen, and as such, vitamin C helps boost collagen production. 

What percentage of vitamin C in serum is best to use?

Essentially, using a serum with a high concentration of vitamin C is beneficial only on a moderate level. Ellen Marmur, a New York-based dermatologist and founder of Marmur metamorphosis skincare, warns that vitamin C in excess can potentially irritate the skin.

It depends on your skin type. However, she recommends using serums that contain 10-15% of vitamin C for better results.   

How do you use vitamin C serum?

does vitamin c serum work

Using vitamin C serum is pretty much as easy as applying body lotion and cream on your skin. Although vitamin C is generally safe for your skin, most skin products have the potential to cause skin reactions. 

It is important to always do a patch test to determine your risk of allergic reaction before use. Here is how to conduct one;

  • Choose a small area of your skin that is not exposed 
  • Apply a small amount of the  product and wait for a minimum of 24 hrs
  • If no irritation appears, you can apply it to your face. It is best to discontinue use if irritation of any form appears on your skin.

It is equally important to follow the instructions of your dermatologist or the application process displayed on the product’s label.

Typically, to use vitamin C serum on your body and for it to work, you apply it once or twice a day after bathing. For your face, you apply once or twice a day after cleansing with a facial cleanser. 

The application process is; to cleanse, apply, and massage it into your skin. Vitamin C serum can be used alongside other skincare products as long as it isn’t causing skin allergies.

What are the risks and side effects of using vitamin C serum?

Although it is unlikely to get irritation from using vitamin C on your skin, some products’ formulas may be unsuitable for your skin type.

So, skin irritation can occur if you have sensitive skin. It is recommended to avoid vitamin C serum that contains L-ascorbic and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. These compounds are likely to irritate. 

The most common side effects that could develop from using vitamin C serum include;

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Slight burning sensation
  • Swellings 

Most importantly, it is best to seek the advice of your dermatologist before using any skincare product.


Is vitamin C serum good for all skin types?

Yes, it is. Vitamin C is good for all skin types.

However, It is formulated with various ingredients as serum, based on production. Therefore, a vitamin C serum product may be unsuitable for your skin type. 

It is recommended that;

  • Oily skin should use a vitamin C serum with ascorbic acid rather than oil-soluble ascorbyl palmitate.
  • Dry skin should use vitamin C serum with extra moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid.
  • Skin with rosacea (a condition in which certain blood vessels in the face bulge, giving it a flushed look) should not use vitamin C serum as it is damaging because the skin is already compromised. It may be best to avoid vitamin C serum.

How long does it take for a vitamin C serum to work?

It takes several months to start seeing the results from using vitamin C serum. This is because it takes a while for your skin cells to replenish. 

How often can you use vitamin C serum?

You can use vitamin C serum every day. Frequent use of vitamin C serum gives your skin a healthy and glowing look.


If you have asked yourself, ‘does vitamin C serum work for the skin?’ Your answer is – yes, vitamin C serum works well for the skin.

It contains the right ingredients to aid the improvement of your skin’s appearance by protecting it from sunburn, dryness, and sagging. 

More so, adding vitamin C serum to your skincare routine is ideal because you can find it in many physical and online beauty stores worldwide. It comes in a long list of varieties you can choose from. 

Thanks for reading.

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