A Skin Expert’s Guide to Using Vitamin C Serum for Best Results

A Skin Expert’s Guide to Using Vitamin C Serum for Best Results

Vitamin C is one of the gold standards in skin care.

While many skin care ingredients are targeted to one specific concern, vitamin C is part of an elite group that offers effective results for a wide variety of concerns. 

We present you with this expert’s guide to help you better understand the many potential benefits of vitamin C and when to use vitamin C serum. We’ll also discuss our favorite Skin Pharm skin care products that contain vitamin C to help you utilize this impressive ingredient and reveal your best skin yet. 

What is vitamin C serum anyway?

To really understand vitamin C serum, you need to have a basic understanding of vitamin C.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is referred to as an “essential” vitamin, meaning that it is required by the body to perform vital functions but is not naturally manufactured by it. 

That means, to get your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, you’ll need to consume it through foods and supplementation. 

While it is necessary to have vitamin C to form cartilage, blood vessels and muscle, the vast majority of its effectiveness in skin care comes down to its role in collagen production and its status as an antioxidant. 

Although you likely consume enough vitamin C through your diet to help keep your body functioning at an optimal level, it’s impossible to guarantee that any of it is directly benefiting your skin. That’s why vitamin C serum is such a useful form of vitamin C and can be such a great addition to nearly every skin care routine.


As we said, vitamin C is required for a process known as the “biosynthesis” of collagen. If you’re familiar with skin care products, you’re probably also aware of the importance of collagen. In case you’re not, here’s a quick refresher. 

Collagen and elastin are the main structural proteins found in the skin and an essential component of the connective tissue in the body. Collagen is also the most abundant protein in the body, making up about one-third.

The theory is that, with more vitamin C in your system, the body can synthesize more collagen. The more collagen you have (and that remains) in your skin, the more firm it will be. 

Firmer skin also shows fewer fine lines and wrinkles and fewer visible signs of the aging process. Unfortunately, as we age, we naturally lose collagen. 

Collagen production also naturally slows down. It’s a real double whammy that we have to work to counteract within our skin care regimen. 


Vitamin C’s role as a powerful antioxidant is the other part of what makes it so important. 

Antioxidants are the natural antidote to a dangerous molecule known as a free radical. They can appear in your body naturally, or they can be introduced due to external stressors, like sun exposure and UV rays or smoking. 

Free radicals are highly unstable and reactive because they contain an unpaired electron. 

Molecules feel balanced when they have eight paired electrons in their outer shell. When they’re missing an electron, they go on a constant search to find it. Unfortunately, that search can do damage to DNA and other parts of the cell. 

The most common type of free radical that occurs in the human body is known as oxygen-free radicals. This is where the term for the damage that they can do comes from – oxidative stress. Essentially, in the presence of oxygen, free radicals run all around the body, looking for their missing electron. 

To balance themselves, they steal them from other molecules. This not only damages those molecules but also turns them into free radicals themselves. 

Antioxidants are unique because they can offer themselves up in the place of those cells and remain stable. They either neutralize them or donate one of their own electrons to help balance the free radicals.

What are the benefits of using a vitamin C serum?

Vitamin C is regularly touted as being one of the best anti-aging products out there alongside SPF, retinol derivatives, ferulic acid and vitamin E. Vitamin C formulas are the key to helping bring that youthful, dewy glow back to your skin, among other benefits. 

Luckily, vitamin C serum is something that nearly everyone can use. It has a very high safety profile, and the incidence of toxicity is incredibly rare. Adverse reactions (even after extended periods of use) are unlikely, too – and mainly just include things like minor irritation in people who have naturally sensitive skin.

Overall, the benefits of using a vitamin C serum may include:

  • Boosts the hydration level of the skin
  • Reducing dullness
  • Helping to even out the skin tone and reduce redness
  • Fading skin pigmentation disorders such as hyperpigmentation and melasma 
  • Brightening dark spots
  • Decreasing the appearance of acne scars
  • Decreasing the appearance of fine lines and under-eye circles
  • Preventing skin sagging
  • Increasing the production of collagen
  • Improving skin texture and complexion
  • Protecting against sun damage
  • Soothing sunburnt skin
  • Boosts wound healing

To reap the most benefits from vitamin C skin care products, it’s essential that you use them consistently. That means at least once a day, for at least a few months before you’ll start to get those visible results you’re looking for.

When to use vitamin C serum

Are you convinced and wondering when to use vitamin C serum in your skin care routine?

As far as age goes, the decision on when to use vitamin C serum is easy – any time you want! There really is no age that is too “early” or too “late” to start, as everyone can benefit from its use.

In terms of when to use vitamin C serum in your skin care routine, it’s best to pat the serum onto your skin using your fingertips after cleansing and drying your skin. This allows your pores to be as open and obstructed as they can be so that they can accept as much vitamin C serum as possible. 

Glow Factor is our holy grail vitamin C product. It can help even your skin tone, protect your skin against the damage that can be done by free radicals and promote collagen production. All of these factors combined lead to glowy, radiant skin. 

Before using it on your skin for the first time, you’ll mix the powder with the serum and shake it vigorously. After letting it sit to settle, shake it once more before applying. 

You’ll also want to do this prior to every application to ensure you’re getting an even distribution of all of the good stuff included in the serum across your skin. 

Just a half dropper is all you need to experience the benefits! It is best used with your morning routine. That way, you can also take advantage of its sun-protectant properties.

Generally speaking, you should layer your serums in order from the thinnest consistency to the thickest.

What you can and can’t partner with vitamin C

As impressive as vitamin C is, it can’t work in complete isolation. Knowing what ingredients partner best with it and which to avoid can work wonders in reaching your skin care goals. 

For instance, while vitamin C has some hydrating properties, adding other serums can further hydrate the skin. Keeping the skin full of the moisture it needs to stay resilient is one of the most important things that you can do for your skin. 

To help, we created our Youth Serum. This serum is a true multitasker, as it was designed to tackle common issues, such as:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles 
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Texture issues
  • Redness
  • Firmness

It can help soothe dull, dry skin, using multi-molecular weight hyaluronic acid to plump and firm – and those are just a few of our favorite things about this serum.

And remember, no skin care routine would be complete without a supportive, fragrance-free moisturizer. No matter your skin type, from dry to combination and even oily, keeping it properly hydrated is essential. 

Hydrated skin is resilient skin, and is also less likely to show visible signs of aging. It is also skin that maintains that youthful, radiant glow.

As far as which active ingredients to avoid while using vitamin C serum, there aren’t many. The biggest one is benzoyl peroxide, which can lead to oxidation of the serum, which makes it less effective. 

To help, you can use one ingredient with your morning routine and one in the evening. The same goes with other exfoliants to help reduce the risk of irritation. If you notice any redness, tightness, itching or irritation, discontinue use and check with your provider.

You may need to use a different product or use your products in a different order.

To sum things up...

Knowing when to use vitamin C serum and how to apply it for the best, most consistent results can really change your skin for the better. 

Here at Skin Pharm, we focus on keeping your entire body healthy and well cared for. You’ll notice results in no time. This whole-body approach is the most effective so that you feel as good as you can, both inside and out.

Peer review

This article was medically reviewed by Chelsie Rogers, PA-C, a board-certified physician assistant with 6 years of experience in cosmetic dermatology.


Vitamin C - Health Professional Fact Sheet | NIH 

Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications | PubMed 

Vitamin C in dermatology | PubMed 

Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging | PubMed

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