The Shocking Truth About Vitamin C Serum (and the DIY You Should Use Instead)

Closeup of orange slices

Here’s what beauty companies aren’t telling you about vitamin C serum – and what to do about it.

Vitamin C is a big deal in skin care products: Among its many benefits, it enhances collagen production below the skin’s surface, helping to prevent and soften wrinkles and fine lines. It also brightens skin, prevents sun spots and fights free radicals. For these reasons and more, vitamin C serum has become an uber-important staple in our daily beauty routine – it’s practically a Jill of all trades… right?

Wrong. While it’s true vitamin C does all of these wonderful things for your skin, your vitamin C serum isn’t doing you any justice – either it contains too little of the active ingredient to be effective, or the vitamin C oxidizes and loses its potency. In other words, don’t waste your money.

Vitamin C comes in many forms, the most popular for skin care being L-Ascorbic Acid because of its potent anti-aging effects on the skin. The problem is, LAA is highly unstable: Once it comes in contact with water, it oxidizes in the presence of air and light (you know, like Superman to Kryptonite). This is why beauty companies charge so much for vitamin C serum, as if they’ve created some magical unicorn formula to prevent LAA from being rendered useless the second you open the bottle.

Yeah. Right.

“I don’t believe in vitamin C serums,” says Jean Seo of Evolue Beverly Hills. “Even if the serum itself is airtight, after you do the first pump and air gets into the bottle, the serum’s pretty much ruined.”

So what’s a girl to do? Seo recommends making your own vitamin C serum. Not only will it be a big reward for your skin, you’ll save oodles of money. Simply purchase a container of Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid in powder/crystal form from your local grocery store and mix it with oil. Seo suggests fish oil, and I’ve also read that coconut oil is quite popular. Use it as an exfoliant or a mask.

The final step: Preparing yourself for all the complements you’re going to receive about your skin. You know, no pressure.

For more information on the beauty benefits of vitamin C, check out the video below by Seo and Tony Vargas of Tilth Beauty:

How do you feel about Vitamin C serum?

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Image: Rego Korosi

Krissy Brady

Krissy Brady is a women’s health + lifestyle writer who’s so out of shape, it’s like she has the innards of an 80-year-old. Instead of learning how to crochet, she decided to turn her emotional baggage into a writing career (genius, no?). You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (you know, if you want).