Vitamin C Totally Lives Up to the Hype (and Here’s Why)

Word on the street (OK, in the aisles at Sephora) is that vitamin C is the most popular skin care ingredient you should be using. If you’re wondering what all the hype is about, we’re making it easy for you by breaking down everything you need to know about vitamin C serums in a handy little guide, below.

Vitamin C. Got it. But what is it?
It’s a vitamin! Just kidding, you knew that. It’s really a powerful antioxidant that’s great for your skin, immune system and muscle repair. (That’s why you’re always encouraged to drink it if you feel a cold coming on.) But in this case, we’re talking about it as a topical serum for your face.

Makes sense. So how does it help your skin?
The main reason people love vitamin C is because it has brightening properties that improve skin’s overall quality, making you glow from the inside out. But the reason it’s known for being such a powerful ingredient is that it also tackles multiple other concerns, so pretty much everyone can benefit from using it. Here are some more specifics about how it can help your personal pain points:

For fine lines and wrinkles: Because it’s an antioxidant, it protects against free radicals and UV exposure, both of which contribute to those annoying creases in your forehead that just won’t seem to go away. Kiehl’s Since 1851 Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate 12.5% Vitamin C combines those antioxidant benefits with an exfoliant, leaving your skin looking extra fresh and healthy. Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Serum is also great for fighting fine lines because it’s made with a really potent form of vitamin C and two additional powerful antioxidants, the combo of which puts the signs of aging right to bed.

For skin that needs firming: Your body produces collagen to keep skin firm and supple, but as collagen production slows down with age, the skin starts to lose its elasticity. Using Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Serum can help rejuvenate your face and make it appear brighter and firmer again, thanks to its power-duo ingredients: collagen and vitamin C.

For oily skin: A vitamin C product like OLEHENRIKSEN Truth Serum is actually great for those with oily skin. It provides oil-free brightening and hydration (yes, oily skin needs hydration, too) without making your T-zone look slick. It'll give you a natural glow and a radiant complexion—no shine included.

For dark spots and uneven skin tone: Vitamin C also inhibits pigment production, meaning those dark spots won’t be able to develop as intensely. And for the dark spots you already have, it’ll help lighten the discoloration. Use Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum in the morning to fade the appearance of discoloration and brighten for a more even-toned complexion (then at night, too, if you need a little extra oomph).

And how should I use it?
Vitamin C is best used on your face in the form of a serum or moisturizer. Massage a couple drops (or pumps) into your skin once or twice a day after cleansing. If your face is still slightly damp when you put on the product, it’ll absorb even better. Just make sure you apply it before makeup and other moisturizers, but after toning. It’s also important to remember that while you may not see results the first time you layer it on, just stick to it. The long-term benefits will eventually show up in a big way.