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When to Use Vitamin C Serum?

When to Use Vitamin C Serum?

Vitamin C is a powerhouse skincare ingredient commonly found in cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and toners. Most people use vitamin C serum in their skincare routine, as serums contain higher concentrations of active ingredients than other skincare products.

So, you’ve heard all the good stuff about vitamin C — its brightening effects, ability to fight free radicals, and dark spot-diminishing powers — but how can you incorporate it into your skincare regimen? And is there a best time to use it to get the most out of this potent antioxidant?

Here’s when to use vitamin C serum in your routine to maximize the benefits of vitamin C.


After Cleansing

According to the dermatologists, one of the best times to use a vitamin C serum is in the morning — after cleansing your face. That’s because vitamin C boasts antioxidant properties that act as a shield against UV rays and pollution, thus keeping skin healthy, youthful, and protected.

Since skincare products penetrate clean skin better than dirty skin, we recommend starting your routine with a thorough face cleaning. While skin’s still a little damp, pat your vitamin C product into your skin and leave it to absorb before applying any other product.


Underneath Your Sunscreen

Unlike retinol and hydroxy acids, vitamin C does not leave skin more vulnerable to sunburn. While highly potent forms of vitamin C can cause sun sensitivity, most vitamin C skincare products can be beneficial to the skin when used in conjunction with SPF. That’s because vitamin C protects skin even further — by neutralizing free radical damage that occurs from UV light penetration.

“Combining vitamin C serum and broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect well against UVA rays has been shown to be more effective at neutralizing free radical damage from sun exposure than just using sunscreen alone,” says Dr. Steven Mandrea, a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Lakeview Dermatology in Chicago.

By neutralizing free radical damage, vitamin C helps to prevent the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation.

That said, you should still be wearing sunscreen over your vitamin C serum to ward off sun damage and maintain optimum skin health.


When Skin Begins Showing Signs of Aging

Vitamin C is quite the anti-aging elixir. According to the derms, this powerful antioxidant stimulates collagen production.

“Collagen gives our skin support and structure, and as it degrades with age, we begin to notice wrinkles and lines,” explains board-certified dermatologist Jennifer Herrmann, MD. “Vitamin C is a necessary cofactor for building collagen bundles, without which this process halts.”

It also helps to repair damaged cells, restoring your smoothest, freshest, most radiant skin.

If you’re seeing fine lines or wrinkles creeping up on your skin, now’s the time to start using a vitamin C treatment. Of course, you can also start using one before you spot the first signs of skin aging. Prevention is always better than cure!


Before Going to Sleep

As beneficial as it is to apply a vitamin C serum in the am, the derms say using it at night also comes with its own set of perks.

According to new data, UV damage continues for hours after sun exposure. This leads experts to believe that it could be beneficial to apply a vitamin C in the pm to fight post-sun damage.

“Your body builds up a storage of antioxidants as you use them,” says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “So using vitamin C serum at night will help guarantee your body has enough ready to go in the morning when you need them most.”

Include it in your nighttime routine, start enjoying the benefits asap!


When Skin Looks Dull

Vitamin C is an excellent brightening agent that’s guaranteed to leave you glowing. Next time your skin looks a little meh, slather on your favorite vitamin C serum to perk it up.


When Hyperpigmentation Appears

In addition to leaving you with radiant skin, vitamin C can even out skin tone and fade discoloration.

“Vitamin C can reduce dark spots by minimizing the formation of excess melanin in the skin,” says skincare expert Nicolas Travis.

Are you dealing with dark spots or discoloration? Topical vitamin C formulations can help clear up your skin and fade hyperpigmentation.



To get the most out of vitamin C, it’s important to use it right. Here are some tips for using vitamin C serums in your skincare routine.

Look for L-Ascorbic Acid

To check whether a product contains vitamin C, look for l-ascorbic acid, which basically means vitamin C. L-ascorbic acid is the most potent form of vitamin C — and the most beneficial. Those with sensitive or dry skin may want to choose magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a water-soluble vitamin C, which is less irritating to skin.

Choose the Right Concentration of Vitamin C

Identifying the right concentration for your skin type will ensure you get the best benefits from a vitamin C serum. If you’re new to vitamin C or have dry skin or sensitive skin, begin with a low concentration of about 10%. Once your skin adjusts, you can increase to 15%.

If you have oily or breakout-prone skin, you can start with 15% and build your way up to 20%. Pay attention your skin and how it reacts before increasing the concentration.

Pair it with the Right Skincare Ingredients

Vitamin C can cause skin irritation when used straight after or together with retinol or exfoliating acids. The best ingredients to pair it with include hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, niacinamide, and ferulic acid.


Shop Vitamin C Serum

Looking for the best beauty product with vitamin C inside? Try Rainbow’s Smooth Serum. It contains a nourishing blend of vitamin C, vegan collagen, and aloe to brighten, plump, hydrate, and soothe skin while diminishing discoloration.



Like with all skincare products, there are multiple optimum times to apply a vitamin C serum to get the most benefits. Give them a try, and see the results for yourself!



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