Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Best Vitamin C Serum | What Is It, and Why Do You Need It?

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Serum

Vitamin C is frequently recommended by dermatologists because of its multiple benefits. Now that the weather is warming up and the sun is peeking out, there has never been a better time to start integrating this wonderful ingredient into your daily (ideally, morning) skincare routine.

Vitamin C Serum Review
Before and after using Ole Henriksen Vitamin C Banana Bright Serum

Use vitamin C if you are concerned about:

  • Reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles
  • Protecting your skin from UV damage
  • Stimulating collagen production
  • Fading dark or brown spots
  • Achieving a visibly more youthful and firm appearance
Who wouldn't want these benefits?! Plus, vitamin C is safe to use on all skin types. 

NOTEyou should see benefits immediately with a product like vitamin C. No purging, no wait time. Unfortunately, my skin actually reacted in a rash the first time I used the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright serum on my neck - but it was gone within 24hrs. Be careful and patch-test if you have sensitive skin as this ingredient can be irritating.

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Serum Reaction

Notice that acne, breakouts, pores, etc. are not mentioned for benefits of vitamin C.
Vitamin C shouldn't make these conditions any worse, but you should consider using another product like one mentioned here for combatting acne and texture. If you want an all-in-one for anti-aging and acne, opt for a Retinol. Active ingredients like retinol, are recommended to be used at night only due to their photosensitivity, but vitamin C products can be used both day and night. 

What does vitamin C do on the skin?

It’s a powerful antioxidant that battles free radicals - tiny, unstable and destructive oxygen molecules that are present in the air. An antioxidant neutralizes the free radicals present on the surface of the skin by giving one of their excess electrons to the free radicals, which are all lacking an electron. Bamneutralized! This allows the skin to defend itself better against the harmful external aggressors.

Consuming antioxidant-rich foods also helps the body shut down the highly reactive free radical molecules. When taken orally, vitamin C can boost your immune system. Keep eating ample amounts of citrus and leafy greens to stay healthy inside and out. 

What kind of vitamin C should you use?

It's important to note that not all vitamin C products are created equal, and there are many forms of vitamin C so I've highlighted these ingredients in orange below. I find that serum is the one and only step that you should spend more money on in your routine. You're almost guaranteed to get a better formulated product, with higher levels of active ingredients that last longer, and work better. Remember that the fresher the product, the more effective it will be. Use it regularly, and don't stockpile.

Vitamin C Serum comparison

Which formula is right for you?

Biossance Squalane +Vitamin C Rose Oil 30 mL $95

Shelf-stable, oil-soluable vitamin C brightens and boosts elasticity, chios crystal oil firms, and sustainable sugarcane-derived squalane hydrates. The soft, natural scent of Damascus rose petal extract calms and soothes the senses. Perfect for very dry skins or anyone who wants a glow-boosting oil for wearing alone or under makeup. This can be applied morning and night, but be wary of reaction at first.
Ingredients: Squalane, Pistacia Lentiscus (Mastic) Gum, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Geraniol.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum 30 mL $166

C E Ferulic features a synergistic antioxidant combination of ferulic acid and pure vitamin C and E to enhance your skin's protection against environmental damage. World-renown and adored by many, this treatment makes a serious difference for uneven tone on the skin. To be applied in the morning only. I find the scent to be quite off putting, so I won't repurchase.
Ingredients: Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Laureth-23, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate.

BeautyRx Triple Vitamin C Serum 30 mL $95

I love everything BeautyRx. Much like my Peel Pads and Serum reviewed here, the formula of this serum makes my skin SO happy. The ester-based delivery system ensures unparalleled absorption of three concentrated forms of vitamin C. It smells good, applies well, has a fantastic cocktail of ingredients for the price, and is backed by science. "In a consumer perception study, 100% of the users felt that their skin appeared brighter, softer, smoother, and overall more youthful." - yes!
Ingredients: Water, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Pentylene Glycol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Glycerin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Methylsilanol Ascorbate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sorbitan Stearate, PEG-40 Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Acrylates/ C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Cellulose Gum, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Tocotrienols, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol

Graydon Fullmoon Serum 30 mL $87 

Made in Toronto, this nourishing potion features vitamin C (from Moringa leaf), copper, moth bean extract, jasmine, bergamot, pineapple, and coffee to feed your skin the nutrients it needs to look youthful, supple, and radiant. To be frank, I don't like how sticky this leaves my skin feeling. The packaging and blue-hue are both nice, but the fact that it leaves my combo skin feeling like it needs a nourishing moisturizer over top leaves me wanting more. It’s a fab brand and they have tons of innovative products so check them out. 
Ingredients: Moringa Oleifera Leaf Extract, Malachite Extract, Glycerin, Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide, Vigna Aconitifolia Seed Extract, Maltodextrin, Khaya Senegalensis Bark Extract, Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract, Dextrin, Tanacetum Annuum Flower/Leaf/Stem Oil, Phenethyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Algin, Cellulose Gum, Triethyl Citrate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Extract, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Leaf/Seed Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/Leaf Extract, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Melo Cantalupensis Fruit Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Limonene, Linalool, Citral

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum 30 mL $64

I first tried this as a sample back in 2010 and loved the way it noticeably reduced my acne marks. Marketed to be a daily multivitamin for the skin, it was reformulated recently and I don't like this new recipe. The fragrance addition is reminiscent of a creamsicle and I find it gives that sticky, hard-to-rub-in feeling like the Fullmoon. I'm giving it a pass.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Oleth-20, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Parfum/Fragrance, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Benzophenone-4, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aroma/Flavor, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Disdodium Phosphate, Polysorbate 60, Yellow 6 (CI 15985), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Thioctic Acid, Calcium Ascorbate, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbitol, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Sodium Benzonate, Alcohol, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Threonate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Limonene, Linalool. 

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Serum 30 mL $86

What makes the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright serum different is that it's actually a blend of acids, including 15% Vitamin C and 5% PHAs - polyhydroxy acids, an alternative to glycolic or lactic acid (AHAs). The "banana" represents brightening "banana powder" pigments that are yellow-toned which help offset redness and dullness. The texture is thin and moisturizing, it absorbs quickly and does not leave a sticky texture. It smells of fresh orange peel, and the scent doesn't linger. After reacting to this once, I have built a tolerance and can now use it once daily. I find it compares to the BeautyRx in colour, texture and results.
Ingredients: Water, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Gluconolactone, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Triethyl Citrate, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Betaine, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyacetophenone, Aminomethyl Propanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Gluconic Acid, Tocopherol, Glycerin, Succinoglycan, Phytic Acid, Mica, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid, Caramel, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sodium Phytate, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Yellow 5 (Ci 19140), Red 4 (Ci 14700).

Final takeaways:

Vitamin c is going to help your skin shield itself from the damaging effects of sun exposure, as well as improving the health and appearance of our body's largest organ. It isn't a substitute for sunscreen though, so don't ever overlook your necessary layer of SPF 30 on your entire exposed skin surface to protect from developing potentially fatal skin cancer. Isn't it amazing that we have such an easy tool that can literally prevent us from developing such a disease?

I like to mention that 20-30 mins of unprotected sun exposure is fine, as it allows us to absorb our necessary daily dose of vitamin D. Always remember that too much UV exposure increases the formation of those pesky free radicals, which are a major source of premature aging. This damage can show up as wrinkles, loss of brightness, uneven tone and dehydration. The one most common thing ladies tell me in my workshops for LGFB is that they wish they stayed out of the sun more when they were younger, and discovered the importance of sunscreen earlier. Listen to that, and take it to heart!

xx
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