Active Ingredients: Vitamin C

Tiffany Ong Beauty Expert
Active Ingredients: Vitamin C

In continuation of the ABCs of skincare, this time let’s talk about Vitamin C and why it’s loved by many.

When it comes to skincare ingredients, especially vitamins, it’s highly likely that Vitamin C is one that many know off and have probably tried. Common in countless skin brightening products and a constant appearance in “Top skin brightening ingredients” lists out there. Sometimes, when an ingredient is so prominent and ubiquitous in skincare products, there are 2 standpoints, either it’s not worth the hype or there’s a reason why it’s beloved by brands and consumers worldwide. With Vitamin C, it’s the latter and here’s why.

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and essential in our body as it plays a role in the tissue growth and aids the healing process but unfortunately, Vitamin C can’t be naturally produced by our body. Hence, why we need to find other ways to supplement that need, such as our diet, dietary supplements and topical applications for cosmetic purposes.

Vitamin C can be found in different forms with different names, the purest form is called L-Ascorbic Acid. Other derivatives also include Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ethyl Ascorbic Acid and Retinyl Ascorbyl. The reason why there are other derivatives and why brands may choose to not use pure Vitamin C is because L-Ascorbic Acid is known to be quite unstable, being highly sensitive to water, air, heat and other chemicals. Hence, these derivatives contain a combination of other ingredients that help stabilize Vitamin C and they work by releasing pure Vitamin C when in contact with our skin. Which is why you often see Vitamin C skincare products, especially serums, to come in dark bottles. This is because exposure to light and air can compromise the efficacy and component structure. If your Vitamin C serums starts to brown, it’s recommended to cease use.



Protects the skin from oxidative stress

  • Vitamin C is strong antioxidant that works to protect the skin by neutralizing the effects of free radicals and environmental threats like pollution and UV rays, that damage the skin’s barrier, affects the skin cells and often results in oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is known to be a cause premature aging, dehydration and dullness. In protecting the skin against free radicals, it helps to keep the skin healthy and slows down aging skin.

Reduces pigmentation

  • One of the reasons why Vitamin C is so popular as a skin-brightening agent is because it has the ability to inhibit melanin synthesis (tyrosinase) which is what causes certain parts of the skin to appear darker than the rest.

Boost collagen production

  • As Vitamin C is necessary in our tissue growth and repairing, Vitamin C is crucial to our skin’s collagen production that helps with cell regeneration. Collagen breakdown happens naturally over the years but plays an important role in our skin’s appearance and support, common affects are sagging skin and wrinkles.

Reinforces the repairing process

  • Vitamin C stimulates cell regeneration that can improve the skin’s health, contributing to better skin barrier, improved moisture retention and helps fight off pro-irritants that cause redness or inflammation.


What to note?

  • Something to note about Vitamin C topical applications is that Vitamin C products with high concentrations can cause irritation due to its potency. People with highly sensitive and compromised skin should avoid using high concentrations unless instructed by a doctor.
  • Application of Vitamin C should start small and slow to allow your skin to build a tolerance and getting used to it. Always start with lower percentages and start out by applying 2-3 times/week.
  • Although Vitamin C can protect the skin against UV rays, they DO NOT substitute sunscreen and can actually cause the skin to be more sensitive to sun damage. So, be sure to wear sunscreen if using Vitamin C in the day.
  • As with all ingredients and products, we advise people to conduct a patch test 24-48 hours prior to full face application.


Products we recommend and where to find them


COSRX AHA BHA Vitamin C Daily Toner

cosrx AHA BHA Vitamin C Daily Toner

Packed with the ABC’s that help with healthier, brighter skin. Although rich with exfoliants and active ingredients, this toner is gentle enough to be used daily and even by those with sensitive skin. It also contains a Golden-RX complex that is extracted from Kiwi and Dragonfruit extract.

Some By Mi Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Toner

some by mi Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Toner

This toner is perfect for those looking to target pigmentation, oiliness and acne as it contains 88% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate that helps soothe irritation and minimize pores, Niacinamide that works to reduce oil production and Vitamin C that protects the skin from environmental stressors and brighten the skin.



The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

the ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

Combining 2 powerful skin brightening agents – Vitamin C and Alpha Arbutin. Vitamin C is known to brighten the overall skin tone and target signs of aging, while Alpha Arbutin helps reduce hyperpigmentation. Something to note about this product, is that it can feel abit oily after application but rest assured that it is a zero-oil formulation.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone

the ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicon

This cream-like serum contains 30% pure L-Ascorbic Acid that brightens the skin and treats premature aging. This serum also contains light silicones that gives it its velvety-smooth texture when applied on the skin.

The INKEY List Vitamin C Serum

the inkey list vitamin c serum

Formulated with a staggering 30% pure L-Ascorbic Acid, this serum helps the skin appear brighter, reduce hyperpigmentation and targets signs of aging skin like fine lines and dehydration. This serum has a thicker consistency that normal serums that may not be suited for everyone, to achieve a lighter consistency, you can mix a hydrating liquid serum together for a thinner consistency.

The INKEY List 15% Vitamin C and EGF Serum

the inkey list 15% Vitamin C and EGF Serum

Unlike the 30% Vitamin C serum, this serum utilizes 15% Ascorbyl Glucoside (a Vitamin C derivative) and contains an additional EGF, a peptide that stimulates the skin cells to regenerate and support the skin’s natural elasticity to reveal a more rejuvenated look.

Some By Mi Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Serum

some by mi Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Serum

A multi-functional serum certainly. This serum not only promises the brighten the skin with 3% Vitamin C, it also contains 75% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate that helps to minimize pores, soothe irritated skin and improve the skin’s elasticity for an overall more radiant, suppler appearance.

Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster

paula's choice C15 Super Booster

Highly concentrated as it contains 15% pure L-Ascorbic Acid and other potent antioxidants like Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid and other skin-smoothing peptides for a more even skin complexion and texture.



The INKEY List Vitamin B, C and E Moisturizer

the inkey list Vitamin B, C and E Moisturizer

The perfect daily moisturizer for all skin types. It contains a blend of 3 skin-loving vitamins – B3 (niacinamide) that helps to regulate oil production, E that soothes any inflammation and C that works to brighten and protect the skin.

Commonlabs Vitamin C Brightening Gel Cream

commonlabs Vitamin C Brightening Gel Cream

A gel consistency moisturizer that delivers intensive hydration just like a cream. This moisturizer works to revitalize dull-looking skin and reduce pigmentation with Vitamin C, Sea Buckthorn Water, Mandarin and PHA for mild exfoliation.


Vitamin C has been loved by many and there's a good reason why and enough scientific research to backup its benefits, particularly with helping to reduce hyperpigmentation and relieving uneven skin tone. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment down below. 

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