Vitamin C is a powerful nutrient that can often be found in face serums to hydrate and brighten skin. Dermatologists, beauty companies, and skin care aficionados swear by vitamin C for its ability to promote collagen production and reduce skin sagging, among other benefits.
While vitamin C is a popular ingredient found in many face serums produced by reputable brands, it is worth noting that this is a very strong additive—people with sensitive skin should be careful when shopping for serums featuring vitamin C.
Read on to check out our top picks for the best vitamin C serum for sensitive skin, plus learn more about the almighty powers of this humble antioxidant.
Sensitive Skin? Here Are Our Top Four Vitamin C Serums
The reason sensitive skin sufferers need to be careful with vitamin C is because it is, by nature, “the most potent topical antioxidant,” according to dermatologist Joshua Zeichner.
So, before racing out to purchase a serum made with vitamin C, be sure to check the concentration levels on the bottle. Those with sensitive skin will want to look for lower concentrations, around 5%—more than this could cause skin irritation.
And, while those with normal skin will want to look for serums with a vitamin C pH of around 3.5, those with sensitive skin will want to look for a higher pH, more in the 5-6 range.
Now that you know what to look for, here are our contenders for best vitamin C serum for sensitive skin.
1. Dermadoctor Kakadu 20% Vitamin C Serum
This hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, dye- and fragrance-free vitamin C serum has been proven effective by dermatologists and is safe for sensitive skin. In addition to vitamin C, the key ingredients in Dermadoctor’s serum include kakadu plums and ferulic acid.
In traditional medicine, Kakadu plums—found in the woodlands of northern Australia—were used to treat common illnesses like the cold and flu.
In this serum, the Kakadu extract works to brighten and smooth the skin with its concentrated natural source of vitamin C—55 times more concentrated than the vitamin C found in Florida oranges, in fact.
Ferulic acid is often used in skin-brightening serums because of its anti-aging properties.
2. Art Naturals Vitamin C Serum
This super affordable serum gets rave reviews from more than 4,500 users, who give it 4.2 out of 5 stars for sensitive skin. In addition to vitamin C, the Art Naturals serum features key ingredients as varied as witch hazel, gotu kola, and jojoba oil.
The witch hazel has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial benefits, the gotu kola speeds up the skin’s healing process, and the jojoba oil is another antioxidant that promotes collagen production.
This serum also boasts hyaluronic acid as one of the top ingredients. This popular skin care ingredient attracts and retains moisture, leaving your skin glowing while also repairing any sun damage. Win-win.
3. PCA Skin C&E Advanced Serum
This lightweight, unscented serum doesn’t cause irritation according to dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi.
In addition to vitamin C, this serum features key ingredients like tocopherol, hexylresorcinol, and silymarin. Tocopherol is a fancy way to say pure vitamin E, an ingredient which protects against future damage and current issues of hyperpigmentation and acne scarring.
Hexylresorcinol has anti-aging properties and brightens skin, while silymarin features anti-inflammatory benefits.
4. Derma-E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum
This concentrated serum is a powerhouse when it comes to hydration, made with aloe, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid. With no phthalates, fragrances, sulfates, or parabens, it’s also safe for sensitive skin.
While hyaluronic acid acts as a “moisture magnet,” vitamin E works to protect the skin and smooth out its texture. Aloe soothes, softens, and moisturizes like a calm, cool breeze on the surface of your skin.
This serum has more than 2,200 positive reviews on Amazon with users lauding the product’s sheerness and moisturizing properties. At under $25, it’s also affordable, which means you can maintain your skin care routine without breaking the bank.
Vitamin C Benefits for Your Skin
Our bodies don’t naturally produce vitamin C, which means we rely on our diet to get enough of this essential nutrient. When applied topically, vitamin C helps skin maintain brightness and smoothness. According to dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler, applying vitamin C to your skin is “20 times more potent than the oral intake.”
Some benefits of consistent, topical vitamin C usage include:
- Promotes collagen production
- Diminishes fine lines
- Hydrates skin
- Reduces redness
- Helps fade hyperpigmentation
- Helps repair damage from sun exposure and collagen loss
- Reduces appearance of under eye circles
- Boosts wound and sunburn healing as it accelerates cell turnover
When using serums or other skin care products featuring vitamin C as a key ingredient, it’s important to store the product carefully and keep an eye out for any change in color.
Because vitamin C is sensitive to light and air, if not stored in a cool dark place it can become oxidized, making it less effective. Many products with vitamin C will have a very light yellow hue to them, but if that hue becomes dark gold or brown, it’s time to toss your oxidized product.
RebateKey: Your Source for Affordable Vitamin C Serums for Sensitive Skin
Just because you have sensitive skin doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the many benefits that vitamin C-enhanced face serums have to offer.
Vitamin C serums are excellent for brightening, smoothing, and hydrating dull or lackluster skin. Once you’ve determined which serums are both rich in this natural antioxidant and are safe for sensitive skin, you’ll be one step closer to facing the world with a glowy complexion.
With RebateKey, you can find all the best vitamin C serums for sensitive skin at the best prices. No need to mail in pesky receipts—RebateKey’s virtual transactions make getting your money back easier and faster than ever.
Check out RebateKey’s beauty product rebates today.
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CNN. These Vitamin C Serums can Brighten Skin, Reduce Wrinkles and More.
Healthine. What Are the Benefits of Using a Face Serum? https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-face-serum#types-of-serums
Healthline. 11 Reasons to Add Vitamin C Serum to Your Skin Care Routine.
Healthline. 7 Health Benefits of Kakadu Plum. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/kakadu-plum-benefits
Mayo Clinic. Vitamin C. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932
New York Magazine. The Best Vitamin C Serums, According to Dermatologists.
Oprah Magazine. 24 Best Vitamin C Serums That’ll Brighten All Skin Types.
Self. 9 Things You Need to Know Before Using Vitamin C for Your Skin.
Vogue. How to Build Vitamin C Into Your Skin-Care Regimen.
Women’s Health Magazine. You Can’t Pronounce It, but This Trendy Skin-Care Ingredient Will Make You Glow.