Vitamin C Serum: for Day or Night?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Get the lowdown on the age-old beauty conundrum of vitamin C serums: whether to use them in the AM or PM!

There's a reason why vitamin C serums have become so popular: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant with incredible benefits for skin health. It can boost your circulation, brighten your skin, help to heal surface damage, stimulate collagen production, and even scavenge free radicals to prevent the onset of fine lines and wrinkles. The best news is that many dermatologists recommend vitamin C serum for all skin types.

Though a natural vitamin C serum could undoubtedly take your skin care routine to the next level, there's some confusion surrounding the correct use of these serums. Specifically, there's a bit of controversy in the skincare world over whether vitamin C serum should be used in the morning, in the evening, or both. Let's discuss!

AM: The light texture and fast-absorbing properties of serums make them ideal for layering underneath moisturizer, makeup, and other products. This, along with the benefits of vitamin C for skin, is probably why many of us are tempted to use our vitamin C serums during the day. Generally speaking, these kinds of serums should be safe and suitable for daytime use. Some dermatologists recommend applying a vitamin C serum in the morning in order to prevent damage from free radicals that can occur throughout the day. If you do choose to use your serum in the morning, you'll need to follow up with a layer of broad spectrum sunscreen, with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Now hang on a minute - if you have sensitive skin, you might want to steer clear of vitamin C serum during daytime hours. In some cases, higher concentrations of vitamin C could make sensitive skin more prone to irritation and sunburn. If your skin tends to be reactive to products that contain retinol and similar ingredients, we recommend using your vitamin C serum as a PM-only product.

PM: Even if you don't have sensitive skin, we recommend that all skin types use their vitamin C serum before bed. Your body undergoes its natural repair process while you're asleep, and the vitamin C will make its strongest impact on your skin during this time. It'll also absorb into your skin most effectively after you've cleansed and exfoliated, so it makes sense to apply it during your nighttime routine. When you use your vitamin C serum during the night, you'll also avoid the risk of photosensitivity, which can occur in some cases with daytime use. As with any potent vitamin concentration used at night, it's wise to follow with a facial SPF before you step outside the following morning.

AM and PM: The directions for most vitamin C serums will tell you to use only a drop or two of the product. This is because a little bit of vitamin C serum goes a long way: There's a limit to how much vitamin C your skin can absorb in a day, so any extra product that you use will go to waste. In summary: if you know you're using a product with a higher concentration of vitamin C, once-per- day application is all you need. On the other hand, if you're using a gentler product with a lower concentration of vitamin C, you might see extra benefits from applying it twice per day, both AM and PM

We recommend our Vitamin C Serum for nighttime use, in order to see the best possible results. Our formula includes both vitamin C and antioxidant vitamin E to help heal and rejuvenate skin. It also features alpha lipoic acid to promote cellular regeneration and gently resurface skin, and green apple to boost your complexion. While all of these ingredients can make a huge difference for overall skin health, their potency makes them better suited to PM than AM use.

Our Vitamin C Serum is formulated to heal, restore, and renew your skin while you sleep but other vitamin C products may be suitable for daytime use. When you're purchasing a vitamin C serum, make sure to check the list of ingredients on the packaging in order to understand what impact the product will have on your skin. If the serum contains alpha hydroxy acids or other gentle exfoliants, we recommend relegating it to nighttime use.

If you're looking for an all-day serum to wear under sunscreen or makeup, start with a hydrating, mineral-rich serum that's gentle on sensitive skin. Another daytime option is to opt for a green tea concentrated serum, which will provide free radical-neutralising benefits to protect and fortify skin from environmental damage.

We recommend that beauty lovers use our Vitamin C Serum after cleansing, exfoliating, masking, and/or toning but always before moisturizing. All you have to do is apply a couple pumps of serum to clean fingers, and gently press the product evenly over damp skin. Allow to absorb for 90 seconds, before following up with a moisturizer to lock in the goodness of your serum, and bolster your skin's protective lipid barrier.

In order to ensure that you're using your products as safely as possible, we recommend keeping an eye on their ingredients lists and percentages (if you're not sure how potent the percentage of a vitamin is in your serum, call the company - they'll tell you), to understand what effect they might have on your skin, especially when they're exposed to sunlight. If in doubt about the impact that a product may have, we recommend sticking to PM use only! Vitamin C serum can brighten, condition, and restore your skin whether it's used during the daytime or at night.

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