HomeSkin Care According to dermatologists, the 5 best vitamin C serums for whitening skin

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is great for treating hyperpigmentation. We asked the experts for their favorite recipes. With more and more skin care products hitting the market, it can be hard to tell which ingredients are truly worthy of expert trust and which are more than just a trend.


Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that has long been favored by health experts because of numerous studies supporting its benefits. When ingested in the form of food or drink, it protects cells throughout the body from damage that can lead to diseases such as cancer.




When used topically, the best vitamin C serums provide this protection directly to your skin cells. In fact, research shows that topical vitamin C can help prevent signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, and cancer-causing UV damage.




But not all vitamin C skin care products are created equal. Vitamin C is usually found in an acidic form in skin care products, but at certain concentrations it can cause irritation, especially for people with sensitive skin.




According to experts, vitamin C is also an extremely unstable ingredient, and its chemical properties allow it to act as an active antioxidant in the body, but also make it susceptible to oxidation, making it inactive in the skin.




To help you find the best vitamin C serum for your skin type and learn more about who will benefit most, we spoke with three board-certified dermatologists to get their buying recommendations. How We Choose the Best Vitamin C Serum




Vitamin C is found in a variety of skincare products, but the experts we spoke to recommend incorporating it into your routine via a serum. "Serums are lightweight and easier to combine with moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup," says Dr. Erum Ilyas, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in Pennsylvania. According to dermatologists, here are some important things to consider in order for a vitamin C serum to be effective:




Packaging: Packaging that prevents product contact with air will help maintain serum activity. Our experts tell us that ideally, vitamin C serum should come in a pump bottle rather than a dropper, since the serum is exposed to the air every time it's opened.




Type of Vitamin C: According to our experts, the type of Vitamin C is also crucial to its effectiveness. Pure vitamin C (also known as L-ascorbic acid) is the most effective antioxidant when properly formulated.




However, this is also the most irritating form, making it less suitable for people with sensitive skin. Other forms of vitamin C that are less potent but more gentle include sodium ascorbyl palmitate (a fat-soluble molecule commonly found in creamy skin care products) and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbyl ester (an oil-based form of vitamin C , can penetrate deep into the skin and is less effective). Annoying). To effectively penetrate the skin, vitamin C products must have a low pH (between 2.5 and 3.5) and some brands note this on the packaging. (Low pH products are slightly acidic, which is one reason vitamin C can be irritating. If you have sensitive skin, introduce low pH products slowly.) Concentration: Most vitamin C serums on the market have concentrations between 10% and 20%.




"Beyond that, it's just annoying and not necessarily more effective," says Dr. Carmen Castilla, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at New York Dermatology Group in Manhattan. The Best Vitamin C Serums of 2023




To incorporate the antioxidant power of vitamin C into your skincare routine, our experts recommend looking for a serum with a concentration between 10% and 20%. Below they feature their favorite formulas that are perfect for all skin types.




1. SkinCeuticals Vitamin C E Ferulic Acid Essence: All three experts we spoke to recommended Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, a serum containing 15% L-ascorbic acid. It's often cited by dermatologists as the gold standard of vitamin C serums.




"There's probably the most evidence for this," Castilla said, noting that the brand's clinical studies showed a 41 percent reduction in oxidative skin damage. According to Dr. It's also one of the most stable formulas on the market, thanks to the addition of vitamin E and ferulic acid




according to board-certified dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD, founder of Smarter Skin Dermatology in New York. "This combination makes vitamin C more effective," says Elias, preventing L-ascorbic acid from oxidizing before it reaches the skin.




The only caveat our experts pointed out was the packaging: dropper bottles expose the serum to more air. However, the formula is said to remain stable and effective for up to six months after opening, according to the brand.




2. CeraVe Skin Renewal Vitamin C Serum: Three of our experts also recommend this drugstore serum as a cheaper alternative. In addition to 10% L-ascorbic acid, CeraVe's serum contains ceramides, which strengthen and support the skin barrier and hyaluronic acid, a humectant that helps skin attract and retain moisture. Castile particularly likes the packaging: “It comes in a squeeze bottle, which protects it better from oxidation,” she says.




3. La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Vitamin C Essence: Another dermatologist-recommended drugstore vitamin C serum: This 10% L-ascorbic acid formula also contains salicylic acid. According to our experts, this can be a plus or a minus, depending on your skin type.




If your skin tolerates it, the exfoliating power of salicylic acid and vitamin C can help dark spots disappear faster, Elias says. However, Shah says this combination may be too harsh if you have sensitive skin.




4. Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Corrector Serum: Shah also likes the combination of vitamin C and salicylic acid in Kiehl's formula, which specifically targets dark spots, acne scars and hyperpigmentation.




It contains a stable form of vitamin C called 3-O-ethylascorbic acid, which is more easily absorbed by the skin, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health. Can be used morning and night after cleansing.




5. U Beauty Rejuvenating Cream: According to the brand, U Beauty's Rejuvenating Complex Serum combines retinol, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to target hyperpigmentation, fine lines and uneven skin texture.




It uses a milder, more stable form of vitamin C called sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP). "It's not as penetrating [into the skin] as L-ascorbic acid, but SAP has been shown to help with collagen production and may also be slightly better for oily, acne-prone skin, says Castilla. Apply Skin Renewal Balm to dry skin immediately after cleansing and massaging before applying other products. What are the benefits of vitamin C for skin? Vitamin C can provide many benefits when it is an integral part of your skin care routine.




Below we summarize the most convincing advantages according to experts: Vitamin C helps protect your skin from the sun and other pollutants. “The most compelling evidence we have for vitamin C (in skin care) is that it protects against free radical damage,” Castilla says. Scientifically speaking, free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons, which makes them unstable and can damage cells. According to Castile, antioxidants like vitamin C can neutralize these free radicals by donating electrons. Sunlight is a common source of free radical exposure, Shah said, as is the pollution the skin is exposed to every day. Such exposure can "accelerate skin damage and aging through what we call oxidative stress," she said. Vitamin C protects the skin and prevents the breakdown of collagen and elastin.