Skincare Skills

by Lydia

Skincare blogger

February 10, 2022

Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant for the development, repair, and growth of the skin, blood vessels, and bones. Considering the human body cannot produce Vitamin C, you need to provide it with Vit C-rich foods. As such, we recommend investing in the best drugstore Vitamin C serum for optimal benefits to the skin.

We have, therefore, put together a detailed buying guide to help you get the best products in the market for Vit C. You will also find benefits, application tips, and potential risks of Vit C in this article. Nonetheless, let's first understand the concept of a Vitamin C serum.

What is a Vitamin C Serum?

To begin with, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid or l-Ascorbic Acid) is a water-soluble compound that has the functions of antioxidation, stimulating skin repairs, skin brightening, and anti-aging effects. Subsequently, a Vitamin C serum is liquid or gel product made with Ascorbic Acid in the pure form or a derivative of Ascorbic Acid.

So, these skincare products can conveniently be bought in drugstores for personal use without a prescription from a doctor. Therefore, read on for our top five recommendations in this category.

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 Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum

Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum- Reviews

Our top pick for the best drugstore Vitamin C serum is the TruSkin Naturals serum for the face. This skincare product is plant-based, and besides its Vit C derivative-sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP), it also contains Vitamin E as a powerful antioxidant, Hyaluronic Acid, and witch hazel. In addition, this anti-aging serum is free of artificial stabilizers, color, or fillers, making it a favorite for vegans.

Specifically, the stable SAP is responsible for reducing fine lines, making it the active ingredient in causing anti-aging. Moreover, the Vit C component helps fade hyperpigmentation, which works to remove dark spots and brighten skin. SAP also helps boost collagen production for improved skin self-repair against free radicals damage and improves skin immunity for protecting acne-prone skin with zero risks. On the other hand, hyaluronic Acid acts as a humectant that helps the skin stay hydrated.

Furthermore, this product is appropriate for oily skin since it contains the stable oil, Jojoba Oil, that works similarly to human sebum in balancing the skin's oil production. Lastly, Vitamin E serves as an antioxidant that helps protect your skin from external stressors such as the sun and free radicals. 

Pros

  • Natural and unadulterated for maximum skin benefits
  • Ideal to diverse skin types
  • Effective anti-aging serum
  • Enables skin repairs
  • Ideal for acne-prone skin
  • Appropriate for day and night applications
  • Comes with protective packaging

Cons

  • It might cause drying out of some skin types

Secondly, we also recommend the CerVe Vitamin C formula, which has the benefits of brightening, hydrating, and soothing the skin. Precisely, this skincare formulation has 10% pure Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, three ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. The pure Vit C provides the benefits of an antioxidant for protecting your skin from environmental stressors and sun exposure. Also, this antioxidant serum brightens the skin by removing dark spots and removes uneven skin tone.

In addition, the Ceramides in this serum help restore the natural skin's protective barrier for retaining moisture. As the skin repairs, the fine lines are softened, while the hyaluronic acid derivative (sodium hyaluronate) helps maintain the natural skin moisture. This lightweight serum also soothes the skin through its Vitamin b5 and absorbs quickly into the skin. Eventually, owning this serum has the unique benefit of applying the proprietary MVE technology for all-day skin nourishment and hydration.

Pros

  • Lightweight formula
  • Offers skin protection
  • Adequately hydrates the skin
  • Has a gentle and soothing feel
  • All-day skin radiance and hydration
  • Doesn't clog skin pores
  • Comes in protective packaging

Cons

  • Not ideal for sensitive skin

Another great Vit C serum is the Vichy LiftActiv, which doubles as a brightening skin corrector. This dermatologist-grade serum comes with 15% pure Vitamin C (l Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E, natural origin hyaluronic acid, mineral-rich water, and antioxidant protection components. In particular, Vit C in this serum removes dark spots leaving the skin brighter with an even skin tone within ten days. In addition, this formulation contains Vit E that boosts anti-oxidant effects on the skin.

Furthermore, this oil-free serum plumps and hydrates the skin for a better look at elasticity and wrinkles. Eventually, this pure Vitamin C leaves firmer skin with reduced fine lines without causing any allergies. Even so, you are required only to use four drops of this serum in the morning and combine this Vit C product with its corresponding retinol serum at night to obtain the best outcomes. 

Pros

  • Prevents dry skin
  • Evens skin tone
  • Repairs free radical damage for smooth skin
  • Effective antioxidant
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Non-allergic
  • Leaves the skin brightened and hydrated.

Cons

  • Requires the extra spending on a corresponding retinol serum
  • Pure Vitamin C might irritate and oxidize easily

You can also invest in the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum, an award-winning skincare serum that is all-natural. Besides the Vitamin C derivative-sodium ascorbyl phosphate, this serum also contains ferulic Acid, konjac root, Hyaluronic Acid, and Vitamin E. Even so; this product is not made with pure Vitamin C to avoid irritation and oxidation.

Suppose you are looking to reduce fine lines, discoloration, and wrinkles. In that case, this is an incredible skincare companion filled with antioxidants such as ferulic Acid and Vitamin E. Vit E and ferulic Acid protect the skin from sun exposure and external stressors. Despite not having pure Vitamin C, the stable SAP form helps repair the skin through collagen production and reduces acne scars.

Additionally, this topical vitamin c serum leaves your skin hydrated and plump through its hyaluronic acid ingredient. Other botanical-supported characteristics include skin calming, soothing, and softening by Konjac root and chamomile extract. Please note that this serum comes in a yellow tint, and therefore don't think it is spoilt. 

Pros

  • Vegan-friendly
  • Contains a stable form of Vit C for adequate UV protection
  • Is less irritable
  • Ideal for acne-prone skin
  • Protects skin from external stressors and harmful UV rays

Cons

  • Slow brightening results 

Lastly, we also recommend L'Oreal Paris, Revitalift Vit C serum which is great for an even skin tone, reducing wrinkles and brighter skin. This serum is precisely tested by a panel of dermatologists who ascertain this product reduces wrinkles and improves skin's radiance within two weeks. It is also applicable on sensitive skin and contains 10% of pure Vitamin C (l-Ascorbic Acid), which has good antioxidant characteristics.

Moreover, this budget-friendly serum is free of parabens, synthetic dyes, harmful preservatives, fragrance, and mineral oils. Subsequently, it is a non-irritable skincare choice that doesn't cause breakouts and repairs free radical damage. Finally, you can use this effective Vitamin C serum for daily use in improving the skin barrier for optimal natural skin functionality.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Clinically tested
  • Antioxidant and non-irritable Vit C concentration
  • Ideal for daily use

Cons

  • Can irritate the eyes

The Benefits of Vitamin C in Skincare

Vit C is a powerful antioxidant that protects and repairs the skin from harmful UV exposure and free radicals. In addition, Vit C improves collagen synthesis that enables the skin to repair itself more effectively. Alongside skin repairs, Vit C also has anti-inflammatory properties as part of boosting the immune system around your skin. So, due to the skin repair and protection functions, Vit C formulations improve skin moisturization and skin texture.

It is also the work of Vit C to inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for melanin production. Subsequently, Vit C reduces hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and dark spots. Subsequently, Vit C is responsible for a brighter complexion and glowing skin.


Potential Side Effects and Risks of Vitamin C Serums

Generally, pure Vit C is a safe ingredient in a skincare serum well-tolerated across all skin types. Nevertheless, serums come as a combination of Vit C (l-Ascorbic Acid) and other ingredients, some of which might cause allergic reactions. Also, it is possible to experience itchiness, especially among people with sensitive skin, which researchers tied to the acidity of potent Vitamin C forms. Consequently, if you have sensitive skin, it would help to consult a dermatologist before using serums with potent forms of Vit C.

Other potential but rare risks of Vit C serums include the yellowing of skin or clothes, dryness, and stinging, as highlighted by the Indian Dermatology Online Journal Study. Researchers also recommend that you take caution when applying Vit C serums around your eyes.


How to Use a Vitamin C Serum

Specifically, if you are seeking a slow-aging regimen, Vitamin C can go hand-in-hand with retinol. As such, you should apply the Vit C serum in the morning or at daytime and your retinol cream or serum at night. Alternatively, you can still apply Vit C serum day and night, without using retinol, provided you don't use different serums at night for other skin purposes.

Considering that the best skincare brands offer concentrated serum, you only apply a few drops, unlike the amounts you would require for a moisturizer. After that, gently pat the serum onto your skin and don't rub.

Regarding when you should start using a Vit C serum, it is never too late to introduce a Vitamin C serum into your skincare routine. However, the earlier, the better, if you have already started noticing aging signs, mainly because of damage by the sun and free radicals. By and by, Vitamin C serum is the best anti-aging solution, with no limits of skin types or individuals who can use this product.


Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum

1. Ingredients

Primarily, you should consider the ingredients of drugstore Vitamin C serums before choosing the best. Indeed, the active ingredient of Vitamin C comes in different forms across different skincare products, the most popular being Ascorbic Acid. Considerably, most drugstore Vitamin C serums have an Ascorbic acid that is mild with a pH of 3.5.

Nonetheless, if you have sensitive skin, you can opt for vitamin c products that are gentler on your skin. However, serums with alternative vitamin c formulas might take longer to produce the desired results. As such, you can also find concentrated Vitamin C gels with ingredients to improve skin hydration.

Also, alongside the main active ingredient of vitamin c, you should check for other ingredients that may complement your skin outcomes, such as Vitamin C derivatives. For example, your Vit C serum might contain oils such as Jojoba Oil which help in regulating skin oil production. Subsequently, the best drugstore Vitamin C serum should have ingredients to help you obtain firmer, well-nourished, and radiant skin at no risk.

2. Potency

It is also recommended to check the potency of the different drugstore vitamin c serums you choose from. Luckily, the best Vitamin C serum brands ensure they list Vitamin C potency percentages in their serums.

Drugstore vitamin c serums might also have a potency combination with Glycolic Acid for removing dull skin cells to boost radiance. But, most importantly, you should be wary of expensive drugstore vitamin c serums that don't indicate their potency percentages.

3. Oxidization and Expiry Date

Another critical aspect to know about Vit C serum is that it is more delicate than other drugstore serums. Mainly, Vitamin C formulations are sensitive to light and air. Therefore, any prolonged subjection to air and light will cause even the best Vitamin C serum to oxidize into a sticky brown liquid that renders all the active ingredients redundant.

Fundamentally, the best Vitamin C serums should come in air-tight containers, either a glass dropper or a pump dispenser. If you fancy a serum in a glass bottle, you should be sure to get one that is colored.

Lastly, it is vital to take note of the expiry date on your select Vitamin C product. The reason for expiry dates on Vitamin C products is that these serums are balanced and stabilized at the ideal pH levels for maximum absorption into your skin. Therefore, we recommend replacing your serum every 3-months as part of maintaining a healthy skincare routine.

4. Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

You should also consider buying a drugstore serum with a broad-spectrum Sun Protection Factor (SPF)for year-round protection against harsh UVB/UVA light. SPF is a measurement of how much UV radiation is required to cause sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin, relative to the UV threshold of causing burns on unprotected skin. Accordingly, the higher the SPF value on a skincare product, the more it can protect you from sunburns. Even with the best drugstore Vitamin C serum, it is vital to have a higher and broad-spectrum SPF product.


Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum

1. What percent vitamin C serum is the most effective?

Effective Vit C formulations should have a concentration between 8% and 20%. Ideally, the higher the Vit C percentage, the more potent a serum is.

Image source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

About the author 

Lydia

My name is Lydia Adams and I have been a skincare blogger in one way or another for many, many years.

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