It’s hard for even the most casual skin care enthusiast to be unaware of vitamin C and all its benefits, but what might be surprising to learn is that not all forms of vitamin C are the same. Similarly, not all products with vitamin C contain the same percentages of this highly effective antioxidant. That’s why we’re discussing not just what the best serum with vitamin C is for your skin, but what the different forms of vitamin C actually are and which percentage might be right for you.
Best Form of Vitamin C For Skin
Believe it or not, there are actually different forms of vitamin C – the best form of vitamin C for skin depends on your skin type . Here’s a quick breakdown of the different forms:
- L-Ascorbic Acid (LAA) – The purist, most common form of vitamin C; it’s also the strongest form, so unless you have very resilient skin, this might not be for you.
- Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP) – This is the form of vitamin C we use in our products, as it is just as effective as L-AA, but it is less likely to irritate your skin. Because it is a more gentle form of vitamin C, it works well with all skin types!
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) – This form of vitamin C is well known for being gentle on the skin and its ability to help hydrate the skin.
- Ascorbyl Palmitate – Looking to even out your skin tone? This form of vitamin C– which is actually a mixture of ascorbic acid and palmitic acid– is just the ticket!
- Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate – While it may help improve the skin for some, this form of vitamin C is also thought to be an irritant to others, so proceed with caution when using it.
- Ascorbic Glucosamine – Basically vitamin C mixed with glucosamine, this form of vitamin C is thought to be an effective anti-aging ingredient that gets to work on fine lines and wrinkles.
What Percent Vitamin C Serum is Best?
Like just about everything in skincare, the percentage of vitamin C that’s best for you depends on your skin type, but the general consensus is that a vitamin C serum that’s somewhere between 10 and 20% is best for most. Why? Well, anything less and it may not be very effective– anything more, and you could really end up irritating your skin. Of course, if you have thick, resilient skin, you can always go higher; but if you want to play it safe, this is a good range.
By now you might be wondering which serums have which percentages of vitamin C. From a serum with 10% vitamin C to one with 25%, here are a few of our favorites.
Best Vitamin C Serum 10 Percent
Fleur & Bee: Nectar of the C Vitamin C Serum
Even the most casual beauty followers have to know that there is no hotter look right now than dewy, healthy-looking skin, and one of the best ways to get it is to use a vitamin C serum like our Nectar of the C. Used right after your toner, it instantly gets to work brightening dull skin, diminishing the look of dark spots, and yes, even tackling fine lines and wrinkles. This non-sticky, lightweight serum contains 10% vitamin C–just enough to make it super effective for any skin type without causing irritation. With 11 nourishing actives including pink grapefruit peel oil to help brighten and balance the skin, squalane to moisturize and prevent irritation, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate, it’s one of the fastest ways available to restore the glow to your skin! Best of all, it’s made for all skin types and is completely non-comedogenic, so absolutely anyone can use it.
Best Vitamin C Serum 15 Percent
Youth To The People: 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum
Made with a 15% vitamin C concentration, Youth to the People’s Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum is just the thing to perk up your skin! With plant-derived caffeine from yerba mate and guayusa, it specializes in reducing that morning puffiness we all tend to face from time to time. And if you have an issue with hyperpigmentation and/or uneven skin tone, this will get to work on both. Of course, as its name implies, this brand concentrates on restoring the look of youth, so expect your skin to look firmer after continued, regular use.
Best Vitamin C Serum 20 Percent
Wander Beauty: Sight C-Er Vitamin C Concentrate
If you’re looking to increase your vitamin C concentration by just a tad, but don’t want to go overboard, this vitamin C serum from Wander Beauty is just the ticket. At 20% vitamin C concentration, it uses an oil-soluble, uber-potent vitamin C derivative known for being able to penetrate the skin with a gentle touch. Said to promote collagen production, it also contains niacinamide to help balance oils and even out skin texture. It also contains hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin.
Best Vitamin C Serum 25 Percent
Of course, even with vitamin C’s incredible effectiveness, for some people, 20% just isn’t enough. If you’re one of them, take it up a notch with this 25% vitamin C serum. In addition to vitamin C, it contains hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also features vitamin E to help moisturize and soften the skin. As if that weren’t enough, like vitamin C, vitamin E is also a fabulous antioxidant that will help protect skin from environmental stressors.
Best Vitamin C Serum 35 Percent
Allies of Skin: 35% Vitamin C+ Perfecting Serum
OK, if you really want to go whole hog and try a vitamin C serum with 35% vitamin C, this one is a great choice! This waterless, oil-free formula blends 2 forms of vitamin C: 25% Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid and 10% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate. While meant to work for most skin types, we always recommend spot testing whenever you are trying something new, especially a product that is highly concentrated with active ingredients.
We hope this helps sort out which type and percentage of vitamin C might be right for you. Choosing just the right serum with vitamin C is a great way to make this incredibly effective ingredient even better!
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