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  • Writer's pictureDeZell Mathews

When to Use Vitamin C in Skincare Routine

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

Vitamin C is a powerful ingredient when it comes to skincare. It can help brighten your skin, diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and even out your skin tone. In this blog post, we'll focus on vitamin C's benefits for your skin and when you should use it in your skincare routine.

What is Vitamin C

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is a potent antioxidant that helps protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals.

Free radicals are known as unstable molecules that can cause premature aging, wrinkles, and other damage to your skin. Vitamin C helps neutralize free radicals, which can help reduce the signs of skin aging.

Benefits of Using Vitamin C in Your Skincare Routine

Vitamin C Brightens the Skin

The pigment melanin is responsible for the color of our hair and skin. Too much melanin can result in dark spots, uneven skin tone, or dull complexion. Vitamin C can help to brighten your skin and even out your skin complexion by inhibiting the hyper production of melanin.

Vitamin C can also help to fade and brighten dark spots and other blemishes on our skin. If you suffer from acne scars or dark spots, using a product containing Vitamin C can help to fade those blemishes and give you even-toned skin.

Vitamin C Boost Collagen Production

Collagen is a protein that helps your skin maintain its firmness and elasticity. The body produces less collagen as we age, leading to saggy skin and to wrinkles. Vitamin C helps boost collagen production. Using products with vitamin C can help stimulate collagen production and achieve firmer, youthful-looking skin.

When to use Vitamin C in your skincare routine?

Vitamin C is most effective on clean skin. Generally speaking, it's best to use vitamin C serums in the morning before you apply sunscreen and makeup.

Since it offers protection from environmental stressors like pollution and ultraviolet light. Applying a vitamin C serum before your sunscreen as a part of your morning skincare routine will give you the best results.

This will help to protect your skin from the sun and environmental pollution throughout the day.

You can also use a Vitamin C serum during your nighttime routine after removing your makeup and cleaning your face.

What is the Right Vitamin C serum concentration for your skin type?

The concentration of vitamin C in a product is essential to effectiveness. Knowing which one is right for your skin type can avoid skin flare-ups and using ineffective products. Vitamin C products should have up to 20% concentrations of this key ingredient.

If You Have Dry or Sensitive Skin

Opt for a low-concentrated product if you have rosacea, dry or sensitive skin; 5 to 10% of Ascorbic Acid will suffice. You'll want to avoid L-Ascorbic Acid and use gentler Vitamin C esters instead.

You can gradually increase the concentration to 15% while paying attention to how your skin reacts or if the concentration causes any skin irritation.

If You have Normal to Combination Skin

If you have oily, combination or normal skin type, a 20% concentration is usually manageable. Try gradually increasing the amount you use to help your skin adjust to the vitamin C serum.

What other skincare ingredients can you use Vitamin C Serum with?

Vitamin C is a great all-around skincare ingredient, and it goes well with other active ingredients. For example, try pairing vitamin C with vitamin E and ferulic acid if you're looking for antioxidant protection.

When vitamins C and E are used together, their antioxidant power is amplified. Additionally, ferulic acid boosts these vitamins' free radical-fighting ability, doubling their efficacy and helping you keep premature aging at bay.

Vitamin C Serums for Different Skin Types - What to look For

The Best Vitamin C serum for Anti-aging

Pure Ascorbic Acid is the most effective form of vitamin C if you are looking for vitamin C serums for anti-aging.

Just note that this pure vitamin C needs to be slightly acidic to work.

As mentioned previously, this antioxidant is more effective combined with other antioxidants, such as Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E. This provides increased protection against free-radical damage.

Vitamin C serum for acne-prone skin

Not only does Vitamin C have anti-inflammatory effects, but it also helps with acne. Pure Vitamin C 15% and Ferulic Acid 0.5% work together to help reduce pigmentation scars and post-breakout redness and also calm the skin.

Choose a non-comedogenic serum to aid in minimizing acne-related redness and swelling.

Vitamin C serum for sensitive skin

If you use Vitamin C products correctly, it shouldn't lead to irritation. Although, if you use high concentrations of Ascorbic Acid, it can result in sensitivity.

For sensitive skin, it is better to use Vitamin C esters, which are lower in activity and less likely to irritate your skin. Choose a maximum concentration of 10% Vitamin C.

What ingredients should you not use with vitamin C?

Although it is mostly safe, there are a few ingredients you should avoid combining with Vitamin C.

As Vitamin is an acid, you shouldn't combine vitamin C with other skincare acids, such as AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) like salicylic acid and BHAs (beta-hydoxy acids) like lactic and glycolic acids.

Other acids can change the pH of vitamin C and make it ineffective. In addition, using various acids on your face simultaneously is a recipe for irritated skin.

Side effects of Vitamin C Serum

Some common side effects of using a vitamin C serum include light skin irritation, such as tingling, redness, and itching upon application. However, this mainly occurs in those with sensitive skin.

Before using any new product, especially a strong one like a vitamin C serum, do a patch test on an area of the skin.


Vitamin C is an excellent addition to any skincare routine. It has many benefits, including reducing the signs of aging, fading dark spots, brightening your skin, and evening out your skin tone.

When using Vitamin C serums, it's best to apply them in the morning before sunscreen and at night after cleansing your face.

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