Vitamin C for Face Serum: Benefits, How to Use, Which is Best

by Linda Robison

Vitamin C for face serum is a powerful way to reduce the look of aging skin. 

When used correctly, this simple serum tackles a range of skin concerns, from reducing hyperpigmentation and improving sagging skin to protecting against sun damage.

It's one of the most important anti-aging product you can incorporate into your skincare routine.

Learn how to use vitamin C for your face and (and don't forget your neck) to prevent and reverse the signs of skin aging.

PLUS: Check out my before & after pictures below!

How to apply vitamin C serum or creams

After washing and drying your face, don't just slap the serum on your face.

Instead, massage it in a circular motion all over the face and neck. This not only helps improve absorption and circulation, but will firm the skin and underlying facial muscles.

Note: Studies show massaging the skin helps improve facial wrinkles and may help skincare products work better. 

The massage explained below is called the Circle Up Rub: Courtesy of Carolyn Facial Fitness.

How to use vitamin C for face exercises.Circle Up Face Massage.

This massage is designed to smooth the skin and firm the muscles of the face. It also helps eliminate fine lines on the jowls, cheeks.

This facial movement (used in most of CFF Exercises) also helped firm up my cheekbones and nasolabial folds.

Trust me, it works! And it feels wonderful. I do this massage twice a day morning and night about 5 times a week.

After you apply the serum to your face, try this:

  • Make a wide "O" shape with your mouth. 
  • Then place your fingertips on either side of the chin - just under the mouth. 
  • Then make small circles counter-clockwise and slowly move up your face, over your cheeks and end at the temple. Make 5 passes.

Do the same for the neck too.

  • Point your chin up at towards the ceiling, so the skin on your neck is taut.
  • Place some vitamin C on your right hand and massage the left side of your neck, making small circles.
  • Massage up and down your neck 5 times.
  • Repeat this same process on the other side using your left hand.

Tips for best results: Exfoliate before applying vitamin C 

Other tips to apply vitamin C to the face and neck.

Try to exfoliate about 2-3 times a month. This allows the vitamin C to penetrate better and can help lighten age spots faster.

If you dermaplane to exfoliate more intensely, this is a great time to apply vitamin C help lighten dark spots and discoloration and boost absorption of the serum

Don't have a favorite exfoliating product? You can make a quick one using simple table sugar and a few drops of water. Mix the two until you have a paste like consistency and lightly massage all over your face and neck.

How long does it take for vitamin C cream to work?

How long until I see results when using vitamin C face creams?

This time frame will vary from person to person and will also depend on how much skin damage you currently have and the potency and freshness of your vitamin C cream or serum.

In my case, I started to see results in after a few applications. My skin felt smoother and more hydrated.

I use a 10% L-ascorbic acid that is mixed up fresh before each use, so it's pretty potent.

One of the nicest benefits to using this type of topical vitamin C is that it evens out the skin tone and improves texture.

What I really noticed the most is that my whole face took on an even color and I need less makeup.

UPDATE: I apply pure vitamin C serum to my neck every day. I didn't realize how well it worked to reduce brown spots (and firm the skin) until I found this old picture of my neck taken when I was about 53 yrs old.

Notice those two brown spots are gone! Not to mention that deep line in the middle of my neck, which I attribute to weekly facial exercises.

My neck looks younger now than it did when I was in my early 50s!

Is vitamin C face serum good for neck wrinkles too?BEFORE PICTURE: Age 53 - AFTER PICTURE: Age 59

Which form of vitamin C is best for anti-aging?

A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology titled Topical Vitamin C and the Skin, suggest that L-ascorbic acid is the best form of vitamin C for skin aging.  

And, it's important to use the right strength for effectiveness and to avoid irritation. They recommend using serums containing 10 to 20 percent.

Increased hydration and anti-aging

Studies suggest that of all the different types of vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid offers the most bang for your buck.

Not only does it brighten and protect and reverse signs of skin aging, it's also the most hydrating.

And, research published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology indicates that it also promotes natural hyaluronic acid production!

Other options for more gentle serums

Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD) is a form of vitamin C that is oil-soluble and more gentle on the skin.

It offers all the benefits of l-ascorbic acid, like:

  • antioxidant protection
  • sun damage protection
  • skin brightening
  • improves tone and texture
  • collagen boosting

It's also more stable than l-ascobic acid and works well in oil-based products. It can penetrate the outer layers of skin better than water-soluble ascorbic acid. And, it is less likely to cause irritation or stinging, even at higher concentrations.

The Down Side?

Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD) isn't as good at hydrating as ascorbic acid, or reducing brown spots.

L-ascorbic acid is considered the gold standard for reducing brown spots because it's been studied more.

However, both vitamin C serums can make skin look more even. So, while l-ascorbic acid might be the top choice, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is still helpful for healthy, glowing skin.

I tried this brand from Amazon, and while it was nice, I didn't feel it worked as well for reducing brown spots (which is my biggest concern). After giving it a three-month trial, I noticed that some of my small spots started to come back. 

So, it really depends on what you're looking for from your vitamin C serum.

What I do now is mix the THD vitamin C serum with my powdered l-ascorbic acid. So the purchase is not a total loss. 😊

Side effects

L-ascorbic acid, a potent form of vitamin C, is renowned for its effectiveness it may trigger irritation in some sensitive skin types due to its acidic nature.

To lessen irritation, try the following:

  • start with a lower concentration (5%-10%) and gradually increase as you build tolerance.
  • buffer the acid by mixing the serum with moisturizer, hyaluronic acid, or aloe vera.
  • Try magnesium  ascorbyl phosphate form of vitamin C. It has anti-aging properties and slight hydrating effects too.

Note: Always do a patch test on a small area first. 

My vitamin C serum of choice: I use a pure powerful 16% l-ascorbic acid powder that gets mix into cocktail serum of organic oils like rose hip and aloe. It gets mixed up fresh each time I use it so it stays potent.

Plus, the organic cocktail base prevents any irritation from the powerful 16% ascobic acid powder.

Vitamin C for face serum: Final tips

So to get the best results when using vitamin C for face and neck rejuvenation do the following:

These tips can make a huge difference in the youthfulness of your skin's appearance.