How to Use Vitamin C Like a Dermatologist

How to Use Vitamin C Like a Dermatologist I Mirra Skincare

Photo by Hoyoung Choi on Unsplash

In the world of skincare, there are constantly new discoveries of what you can add to your nightly routine. Vitamin C is this year’s talk among all the famous skincare gurus on social media, as well as licensed dermatologists! I’m sure you’ve been told to implement vitamin C into your diet as much as possible to gain all the benefits – but little did you know that your skin needed it too. After reading this blog you definitely will know how to use vitamin C like a dermatologist.


1. The benefits of vitamin C

2. What type of vitamin C should you look for based on skin type

3. The 8 best vitamin C products on the market

4. Ingredients to pair with vitamin C

5. Ingredients to avoid using in conjunction with vitamin C

6. How to use vitamin C serum in your skincare routine

7. Final thoughts

Key Points

  • Vitamin C is a crucial antioxidant found in citrus, berries, cabbage, and even tablet supplements.
  • The difference in how to use vitamin C depends on your general skin mood. Pick between a water and non-water-based vitamin C formula for the best results for your skin.
  • You can apply vitamin C twice a day, but especially in the morning before SPF. Avoid using other acids in conjunction with vitamin C to reap the full benefits of your products.

The benefits of vitamin C

If you were anything like me when you were growing up, your mom was always finding a way to include fruit, specifically oranges in any meal we would have throughout the day. She was always talking about how our bodies need vitamin C to grow and heal – and she was right.

Vitamin C contains crucial antioxidants that are necessary for your body to form blood vessels, muscle, and collagen, and to be able to repair after injury. This important vitamin is found mostly in citrus foods (hence why my mom made us eat so many oranges!). However, it is also found in berries, potatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, peppers, and even in tablet form.

More benefits of vitamin C for overall health:

  • Reduced risk of chronic illness
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Prevents iron deficiency
  • Enhanced brain function
  • Boosts immunity

Via Giphy

While vitamin C works wonders for the body and internal health, it also has been proven to help with skin health as well. Many brands have been coming out with vitamin C serums that you’re supposed to incorporate into your weekly skincare routine. There are many benefits of vitamin C for the skin, including:

1. Improves overall skin texture and wrinkles

Vitamin C helps keep your skin firm and wrinkle-free. Your skin naturally produces collagen, which is a protein that lifts the skin and keeps it tight. But, as everyone gets older the level at which they produce collagen drastically decreases – which is why we develop wrinkles with age. Vitamin C has been found to help boost your skin’s production of collagen and help to reduce wrinkles.

2. Helps protect from sun damage

Via Giphy

Antioxidants truly have the power to fix almost anything in the body, including sun damage. Since vitamin C contains antioxidants, applying it topically to the skin combats oxidative stress like sun damage and helps to slow the aging process it may cause. 

3. Limits the appearance of dark spots

Vitamin C uses its antioxidant properties to block the production of pigment in our skin, which prevents dark spots. 

4. Reduces acne

Vitamin C contains anti-inflammatory properties that take down the swelling and redness associated with acne. Applying a conservative amount of Vitamin C to acne around your face can help reduce the appearance and irritation a lot faster than just leaving it be. These anti-inflammatory properties also work to prevent future acne from occurring.

What type of vitamin C should you look for based on skin type

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So now that you know the benefits, you need to know the type of vitamin C that is good for topical skin use. Vitamin C serums usually come in two forms: water-based and non-water-based. You want to make sure you are using the right type of serum for your specific skin type.

Sites such as Vogue and Neutrogena point out that people with normal to oily skin should look for an “L-ascorbic acid” vitamin C serum, which is the most potent form and non-water based. People with dryer skin should look out for magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a water-soluble form of vitamin C, which will keep the skin hydrated and less irritated. You also should be aware of the PH of the vitamin C serum and do further research to see what level your skin would react best with.

The 8 best vitamin C products on the market

Here is a list of vitamin C serums recommended by dermatologists and experts:

  1. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (dry skin/not prone to breakouts)
  2. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF (oily skin/prone to breakouts)
  3. L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum
  4. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum
  5. Medik8 C-Tetra (brightens skin)
  6. Catrice’s Glow Booster Serum
  7. VI Derm Beauty Vitamin C Brightening Concentrate
  8. Obagi Medical Professional-C Serum

Ingredients to pair with vitamin C

Vitamin C is a great product to add to your routine because it pairs well with many other products that you may already have in your skincare line. These products include vitamin E, ferulic acid, vitamin B, and hyaluronic acid.

Ingredients to avoid using in conjunction with vitamin C

If you have a pretty simple skincare routine, say, just a cleanser and a moisturizer, then incorporating vitamin C into your routine shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you’re anything like me and have perfected a ten-minute skincare routine, then you should check your products before applying vitamin C on top. 

Since vitamin C is an acid, you shouldn’t apply other acid-based products with it, otherwise the serum will not do its job. Do not apply vitamin C serum in conjunction with any of the following products: alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like salicylic acid, and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) like lactic and glycolic acids. However, as mentioned above, hyaluronic acid is fine to use in conjunction with vitamin C.

How to use vitamin C serum in your skincare routine

Via Giphy

So once you find the right serum for your skin, it’s time to start applying. First things first, you want to make sure that before you apply any serum, prep a clean and dry face. Next, apply the product to your face and gently rub it into the skin. After, it is always best to finish your routine off with a generous layer of moisturizer. 

According to experts, you should apply the serum twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. Dermatologists recommend morning application before you apply SPF, so your skin essentially has a double-layered protection from the harmful UV rays. When you apply it at night, you’re allowing your skin to really soak in all the benefits of vitamin C while you rest.

Final thoughts

Overall, whenever you are thinking about adding a new product to your skincare routine, make sure to do your research. Everyone’s skin is different and some may react to products in a worse or better way than others. But once you find the right vitamin C serum for your skin, you’re going to fall in love with the way it transforms your skin, AND you’re going to know exactly how to use vitamin C like a dermatologist.

Written by Emma Carlson


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  1. https://www.neutrogena.com/the-bar/vitamin-c-skincare-benefits.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=GO-USA-ENG-PS-Neutrogena-FMT-GP-PH-RN-PR-N/A-NB_AA_Ingredient&utm_content=NB-Ingredient-Vitamin+C-General&utm_term=vitamin+c+for+skin&gclid=CjwKCAjwwo-WBhAMEiwAV4dybWwHalOOowH9U3dXJ5q_GEmSziS90sj3pghlB-pfzJUbAB8Xn61qTRoCPFsQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=CjwKCAjwwo-WBhAMEiwAV4dybWwHalOOowH9U3dXJ5q_GEmSziS90sj3pghlB-pfzJUbAB8Xn61qTRoCPFsQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-is-topical-vitamin-c-important-for-skin-health-202111102635
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932
  4. https://www.vogue.com/slideshow/vitamin-c-guide-skin-benefits-concentration-absorption#:~:text=For%20oily%20or%20normal%20skin,vitamin%20C%2C%20is%20less%20irritating.
  5. https://us.comfortzoneskin.com/blogs/blog/your-guide-to-niacinamide-vitamin-c#:~:text=Vitamin%20C%20works%20best%20in,Vitamin%20B%2C%20and%20Hyaluronic%20Acid.
  6. https://www.rd.com/list/vitamin-c-serum/
  7. https://www.bcm.edu/news/benefits-vitamin-c-skin-care#:~:text=Oxidative%20stress%20mainly%20occurs%20when,process%20and%20protects%20the%20skin.

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