5 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Vitamin C Serum

Posted by Ingrie Williams on

Vitamin C is one of the most recommended skin care ingredients by derms, and there’s plenty of reasons why that is. Considered essential for everyone, it’s a multipurpose active that can boost collagen production to plump and lift a complexion, encourage skin healing and is a proven way to fade dark spots. Adding a Vitamin C serum to your skin care routine is easy, but to make the most of this potent active ingredient there are a few tips worth knowing that can help to maximize results. To supercharge your way to rejuvenated skin, here are 5 mistakes to avoid when using Vitamin C serum.

Mistake #1: Pairing Vitamin C Serum with the Wrong Ingredients

While a Vitamin C serum is universally recommended as beneficial for all skin tones and types, it’s important to recognize that it is a strong active ingredient that some people may find to be irritating. To minimize aggravation if you have more sensitive skin, you can avoid applying it directly before or after other products that contain exfoliating ingredients including retinol, AHAs (such as glycolic acid and lactic acid), BHAs (i.e. salicylic acid) and benzoyl peroxide. That doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) include products in your skin care routine that feature ingredients from that list. If you know your skin is strong and can tolerate multiple active ingredients, you can benefit from using these ingredients together, but if you have concerns of irritation remember to space out the timing between each product so you don’t overwhelm the epidermis. For example, if you use a face serum with Vitamin C as part of your morning routine, wait until nighttime to apply an AHA exfoliator.

Mistake #2: Only Using Vitamin C Serum Once a Day

Your skin is constantly fending for itself, contending with exposure to the sun, pollution, smoke and more. Through exposure to these external stressors, the body naturally produces free radicals which are unstable molecules missing an electron. These free radicals are on the hunt to replace their missing electron and do so by stealing it from healthy molecules which causes what is known as ‘free radical damage’. This damage breaks down collagen and is known to contribute to skin aging. But antioxidants, which contain many electrons, can neutralize  free radicals by giving away electrons and reduce the damage caused by them  and protect the skin. L-ascorbic acid, the gold standard form of Vitamin C, is a powerhouse antioxidant, but you’ll get the best results if you know when to use Vitamin C. Using it twice a day can benefit skin in different ways. Using it in the AM provides protection, while an application in the evening can prevent future damage and support skin healing while the epidermis is in its regenerative state at night. 

Mistake #3: Not Using it with Sun Protection

There’s no denying that Vitamin C is an ingredient with versatile properties, but that doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from being paired with a sunscreen. Vitamin C offers multiple skin benefits, and can lead to a plumper, more even toned and radiant complexion, but all that work can be undone by unprotected sun exposure. Combining a Vitamin C and SPF will boost the level of photoprotection against UV rays. In the morning, after applying a Vitamin C face serum and moisturizer that suits your skin type, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 should always be the last step in your routine. All skin needs to be shielded daily from UVA and UVB rays. If you’re using Vitamin C as a treatment to reduce dark spots, you’ll make greater strides by being just as diligent with sunscreen. Hyperpigmentation is caused by excess melanin production that can be triggered by the sun. If you haven’t found a sunscreen you love yet, try a tinted mineral SPF. It delivers a subtle glowing finish that can’t be beat.

Mistake #4: Applying Too Much

When it comes to Vitamin C serum a little goes a long way, and using too much of the potent ingredient can be irritating. You only need two to three drops of serum for your face, neck, and chest. Place the drops into the palm of your hand, then use fingertips to press the product onto skin. Apply any excess to the backs of your hands, where signs of aging can appear too. It’s also important to use the best Vitamin C serum for your skin type. Whether your complexion is normal, dry, oily, mature or sensitive, there’s a formula that suits its needs. Not sure where to start? This simple Vitamin C serum quiz can lead you to your perfect match!

Mistake #5: Storing it in the Wrong Place

Your Vitamin C serum needs proper storage, otherwise it can oxidize faster than you want. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light, heat and air can degrade the ingredient, rendering it unstable and ultimately impacting its efficacy. After opening a new bottle, where you keep it can help or hinder your skin care investment. It’s best to store Vitamin C products in a cool spot and away from direct light and heat. If you have products on display on a windowsill or next to a steamy shower it’s time to relocate them. Packaging can also contribute to the life span of a Vitamin C product. Dark coloured bottles, rather than clear glass, do a better job at protecting the contents. If a product you’re using becomes discoloured (suddenly becoming much darker) it’s a telltale sign oxidation has occurred, and the formula’s efficacy is no longer at peak performance. This doesn’t mean the product is unsafe to use, it simply means the formula may no longer be as effective as the day you opened it.

Try these simple tips today! Now that you know the right way to use a Vitamin C serum, including 5 mistakes to avoid, you can upgrade your skin care results from good to great all on your own.

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