How to Use a Vitamin C Serum

One of the most popular ingredients in skin care, Vitamin C can work magic on your skin, as long as you’re preparing your skin well and apply the serum right. It’s quite common not to get results when applying a Vitamin C serum and the quality of the serum may not be the main reason for that.

Why is Vitamin C good for our skin?

The strong and powerful Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that may be used topically to address and prevent changes caused by photo aging. It’s a great ingredient to use in hyperpigmentation. However, it’s pretty unstable which makes it tricky to help it get into the dermis.

Here are some of the benefits of Vitamin C for the skin:

  • It’s an antioxidant that is part of the group of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants that are out there for protecting the skin from ROS (reactive oxygen species). Vitamin C protects the skin from oxidative stress as it always delivering electrons to neutralize the free radicals.
  • Vitamin C ensures photo protection. When we expose the skin to UV light, it generates ROS. The radicals are strong enough to cause cascade reactions that endanger the cells. As UVA mutates and damages the collagen, elastin and other cellular structures, UVB may lead to sunburns, epidermal mutations and even skin cancer. Vitamin C is able to protect the skin from both UVA and UVB.
  • It whitens the dark spots of various causes. It’s a reliable ingredient that makes the difference between substances that are toxic to the melanocyte and substances that main phases of melanogenesis.
  • It reduces inflammation and may work when addressing various skin conditions as acne vulgaris or rosacea. It sustains the healing of wounds and minimizes the risk for developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
  • It’s fundamental for the collagen biosynthesis. It seems that Vitamin C also controls the quantitative collagen synthesis and not only stimulates qualitative changes in the collagen molecule. Topical use of Vitamin C boosts the collagen production for both young and aged human subjects.

What are the topical formulations of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C comes in a great variety of creams, serums and even transdermal patches. However, it’s only the serum that is formulated with active Vitamin C in an almost colorless form. As it’s not stable, when exposed to light gets oxidized, which explains the yellow hue of the serum. Keeping the pH of less than 3.5 is the key for controlling the stability of Vitamin C.

Keep in mind that the efficiency of your Vitamin C serum is related to the concentration, but only up to 20%. If you’re looking for the right photo protection, it’s important to apply the serum every 8 hours. Since UV light reduces Vitamin C levels in the tissue, applying vitamin C after exposure to UV light is the best way to protect the skin.

How to apply the Vitamin C serum?

You should always begin with properly washing your skin. Let it dry and don’t just apply the Vitamin C serum. It’s important to massage it all over your face and neck for improving circulation and increasing the firmness of your skin.

Some recommend using the Circle Up Rub method that smooths the skin and firms the muscles of your face. This type of massage is also removing the fine lines on the cheeks and jaws. Used in CFF Exercises (Carolyn’s Facial Fitness), these movements firm up your cheek bones and nasolabial folds. Let’s not forget about the pleasure part either. Using this massage twice a day, 5 days a week, is going to give impressive results for most.

Here’s what you should to:

  • Make a wide “O” shape with your mouth
  • Place your fingertips on all sides of your chin and under your mouth
  • Using a clockwise movement, use small circles and move gently up your face, over your cheeks and all the way up to the temples. Repeat it 5 times.

You cannot have a younger looking face and an all-wrinkled neck so you should massage properly your neck too:

  • Point your chin up towards the ceiling until you feel your skin on neck really taunt
  • Use a dab of your Vitamin C serum on your fingertips and massage the left side of your neck. Remember to use the same small circles movements.
  • Go 5 times up and down your neck.
  • Do it all once again for the right side of your neck, using the other hand this time.

Keep in mind the following tips also. They can make the difference when using a Vitamin C serum:

  1. Don’t use the serum if it turns yellow
  2. Use the serum on regular basis (every night before going to bed is the most common time)
  3. Use Vitamin C serum on face, neck, chest and hands too
  4. Try to store your Vitamin C serum in a cool place, at controlled temperatures (59-86F degrees). Keep the cap on tightly on your serum.
  5. Don’t worry about the slight tingling or warm feel when applying the serum, as it’s a normal reaction of the skin.
  6. Always follow the serum with a moisturizer, especially if you feel the serum dries out your skin.

Here’s an interesting discussion on Reddit on how to apply the serum, and here are the illustrated steps on Wikihow.

What else to remember when using a Vitamin C serum

Exfoliating the skin every 2 days is essential when using a Vitamin C serum. A proper exfoliation of the skin is going to help the Vitamin C get deeper and better within the skin, lighten the age spots and brightening your skin complexion even sooner.

If you have no exfoliator around the house, you can make it your own with some table sugar and some drops of warm water. Mix the two ingredients until you get a paste like consistency and massage it nice and gently all over your face and neck.

Does a Vitamin C serum give results overnight?

Don’t forget that skin reacts differently so the results may differ from one to another. The changes are also related to the level of damage of your skin and how powerful and fresh your vitamin C serum really is.

If you’re lucky enough, you should be able to see results after only a couple of days. Your skin gets smoother and more hydrated, becoming more radiant altogether.

One of the most impressive benefit, if not the most important one, of the vitamin C is that it evens out your skin tone, improving your skin texture at the same time. Evener skin tone is priceless and everyone wants to pay less for makeup, at the end of the day.