It’s not just your imagination — there are a lot of made-up holidays popping up as of late. For instance, January 24 is National Peanut Butter Day. And then there’s National Napping Day on March 15 (not a bad idea, honestly). But for a beauty lover, a day centered around their favorite product calls for an excuse to celebrate, and for the skin care fanatics out there, you won’t want to miss National Vitamin C Day, which kicks off today. To help you commemorate the holiday, TZR tapped a few leading dermatologists to learn about their picks for the top vitamin C products on the market.
You likely already know the myriad of benefits that come from vitamin C, but, a quick refresher doesn’t hurt. “Vitamin C is a great skin care ingredient because it's safe to use on any skin type and has a ton of incredible anti-aging, hydrating, and brightening benefits,” Dr. Shuting Hu, a cosmetic scientist, formulator, and founder of skin care brand Acaderma, tells TZR. “Vitamin C contains magnesium ascorbyl phosphate which helps your skin retain moisture and stay hydrated.” And in order to help reduce signs of premature aging, Dr. Hu says it’s vital to keep your skin plump and hydrated.
But wait, there’s more! “Because vitamin C decreases transepidermal water loss while also promoting the production of collagen, the vitamin can help smooth fine lines and wrinkles,” she adds.
Dr. Hu says the ingredient is safe to use both morning and night, however, she recommends applying it in the morning as it offers UV-protection. “Since vitamin C becomes less effective when exposed to light, you should wait until the product has had time to fully absorb into the skin before heading out the door,” the dermatologist notes. And according to Dr. Tiffany Clay, MD, FAAD, a board certified dermatologist in Atlanta, vitamin C should be applied daily to the skin for best results. Remember — consistency is everything when it comes to skin care.
Now that you’re up-to-date on all the wonders of vitamin C, below, shop the 10 best products infused with the ingredient, according to dermatologists. Happy vitamin C day to you all!
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Shop The 10 Top Dermatologist-Approved Vitamin C Products
“Revision C+ Correcting Complex 30% has vitamin C in the form of THD ascorbate which is absorbed well,” Dr. Clay explains. “I like that it’s in a lotion formula so if you’re not very dry you don’t need an additional moisturizer. It also contains vitamin E and as a bonus, it not only defends against UV exposure but also HEV (blue light).”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that SkinCeuticals’ cult-favorite C+E Ferulic Serum made the list (it’s a favorite among beauty editors and dermatologists). Dr. Clay explains, “it contains L-ascorbic acid, which is the active form of vitamin C. It [also] contains a high bio-available amount, a more active vitamin C [applied] directly onto the skin, and is in a serum that’s not too greasy and blends well into a morning routine.”
TruSkin’s Vitamin C Serum is a favorite for Dr. Yoram Harth, a board-certified dermatologist and medical director of MDacne. In addition to vitamin C, the dermatologist says this formula includes hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and witch hazel. “The vitamin C in this product fights free radicals and enhances collagen and elastin fibers' production in the dermis,” he tells TZR. Plus, he says vitamin C also helps fade out darks sports, enhancing skin radiance. “Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that works synergistically with vitamin C to neutralize free radical damage, helping prevent premature aging,” he explains. “Hyaluronic [acid] is a powerful humectant that helps keep water in the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.”
Dr. Elyse Love, a board-certified dermatologist at Spring Street Dermatology in New York, says CeraVe is a long-trusted brand by derms. “They now make an easily accessible vitamin C that is oil-free and designed to be tolerated by sensitive skin,” she says about the brand’s Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum.
Dr. Christina Weng, a Harvard-trained board-certified dermatologist and founder of Mymiel Skincare, says Neogen’s Real Vita C Powder Lemon is a solid waterless formulation that reduces the risk of oxidation. “You can mix this travel-friendly K-beauty favorite into a gentle essence to dissolve right before applying to skin,” she explains. “For those who might be sensitive to vitamin C, this may be a great place to start, as you can control how much of the powder to mix into your other products.”
Dr. Harth recommends the C15 Super Booster from Paula’s Choice. “This product contains the optimal amount of L-ascorbic acid, 15% stabilized vitamin C at a pH of 3.0,” the dermatologist explains. “Vitamin E and ferulic acid are potent antioxidants that help with the stability and efficacy of vitamin C.”
Dr. Hu recommends applying Acaderma’s Invisible Shield Defense Serum in the morning to protect your skin from damaging infrared and blue light, free radicals, and pollution. “It contains a powerful antioxidant derived from sesame seeds and is combined with 11 other clinically proven actives, including peony, summer snowflake, gold seaweed, ribose, and resveratrol,” she explains. “With daily use, this serum will help reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well.”
“The formulation of vitamin C in facial oil is really unique, and the addition of tumeric adds an anti-inflammatory boost to help calm redness and irritation,” Dr. Weng says about Sunday Rileys C.E.O. Glow. “Many vitamin C products tend to be in serum or gel form which is more lightweight, and this offers a more moisturizing option, especially for skin on the drier side, without feeling too heavy.”
Dr. Harth is a huge fan of Lancôme’s Visionnaire Skin Solutions 15% Vitamin C Correcting Concentrate, which he says is formulated with 15% pure vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and jasmonate. “According to the company, this vitamin C serum demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in radiance/healthy glow and fine lines visibility after 10 and 28 days,” he explains. “After ten days of use, people perceive that the skin seems hydrated, more elastic, revitalized, regenerated, and more beautiful. The skin texture appears refined, and the complexion more brilliant and more homogeneous.”