How My Skin Changed When I Started Using Vitamin C Serum

If you’re like me, you probably walk into Sephora roaming the aisles for either a product that has cute packaging, or one that’s affordable and targets your skin concerns. You also have to add in the endless and overwhelming recommendations from beauty advisors. There are just so many good products available that it can feel difficult to find the all-in-one that you need for any skin issue.

Nowadays, the “natural” no makeup look is in, but fighting textured and acne-prone skin all starts with your skincare regimen. Whatever skin concern you think of — including dullness, fine lines, and wrinkles — vitamin C will most likely be the recommended treatment. We all aspire to have that bright, glowy and smooth complexion, and this serum may just be that one ingredient to help you go from Mia Thermopolis to the Princess of Genovia, real quick.

I used to be the type to start my day by cleansing my face, putting on moisturizer, and heading out the door — the bare minimum, but definitely a good start. I have oily-to-dry skin and typically struggle with uneven skin tone (also known as textured skin) where an excess of dead skin cells build up on the surface. Since my skin is very sensitive and prone to redness with a few hormonal breakouts, I was hoping for a less dull and clearer complexion, and weekly face masks just weren’t cutting it. 

Before I included a vitamin C serum in my skincare routine, I decided to try out a few tips and tricks I read online by dermatologist Dr. Shreene Idriss. This included not washing my face in the morning with a cleanser, because if I'm washing my face until it’s squeaky clean, there’s a chance of aggravating my skin and stripping away at the lipids that help keep the skin’s barrier intact. I kid you not, my skin has never felt so rejuvenated. Although cleansers can unclog pores and remove dirt, washing with plain cold water will prevent skin from drying out, and it will reduce fine lines and wrinkles. I found this change in the morning to be the most helpful before diving deep into a new product.

Original Photo by Jennifer Valladares

So what exactly is vitamin C serum? 

Basically, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that aids in the skin’s regeneration process and helps repair damaged skin cells, especially from UV damage and exposure to air pollution. For sensitive skin, you can start out with a lower concentration of 5% vitamin C and apply a small amount to see how your skin reacts before working your way up to a higher concentration.

I personally started using the Banana Bright 15% Vitamin C Serum by Ole Henriksen on a clean face right after using a toner. Let me tell you, I have seen a major difference in my skin’s appearance. I mean like an easy, breezy, beautiful Covergirl difference. My skin now feels hydrated throughout the day, I’ve noticed a more even skin tone, and I have less redness. I have never felt more confident in a product that I can use on my face with no makeup every single morning.

Original Photo by Jennifer Valladares

What are the benefits?

Although you may be intaking vitamin C in your diet, the best way to make sure you are directly absorbing it is through topical use. This serum fades hyperpigmentation, it hydrates and brightens your complexion, and it promotes collagen production to prevent saggy skin. Best part is: you can get it at your local drugstore or at your favorite makeup store. With it being one of the best anti-aging ingredients on the market, I can say it has been one of the safest products I have applied onto my skin. 

Personally, I apply my serum in the morning right after I cleanse my face and use a toner (to get rid of excess dirt and oils) and right before I moisturize making sure that my face is a bit damp for extra absorbance. Pretty much a no-brainer. Think of it as an in-between step you do in the morning to give your skin that glow it needs, especially on a no-makeup day. *chef’s kiss* I started using it only in the mornings to see how my skin would react to it and eventually used it both day and night. But, for mornings, you’re gonna want to use it along with your go-to sunscreen. 

By now you’re probably all-in and waiting to load your shopping cart, but remember not all vitamin C serums are created equal. Some things to look for when finding the best one that targets your area of concern: are ones that include hyaluronic acid and fall between a concentration of as low as 5% for those with dry or sensitive skin, and working up to 10 to 20% for maximum effectiveness. Products that contain L-ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbyl phosphate are water-soluble and are typically lightweight enough for those with oilier skin. Yes girl, the science behind it matters! Going over that 20% mark or pairing your routine with potent exfoliants is going to land you some pretty bad irritation — and we both know you want those #nofilter before and after pics.

Some budget-friendly beginner vitamin C serums include those from TruSkins Naturals, Versed, Derma-E, Olay, and CeraVe

Original Photo by Jennifer Valladares

Trust me, you’re gonna want this glow.