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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

These Vitamin C Serums Work Better Because Of An Important Reason

How Packaging Enhances Vitamin C Serum Potency for Visible Results



With beauty aisles overcrowded with serums to treat specific skin issues, if you’re looking to invest in an all-rounder ingredient that can brighten your skin by fading dark spots, increase collagen production by diminishing fine lines, and protect against environmental damage caused by UV light and pollution- all you need is a Vitamin C Serum. With regular use, Vitamin C Serum can give you a glowy, smooth, and more youthful-looking complexion.


However, not all Vitamin C Serums are the same, as how they work and how well they work on your skin depends on the ingredient’s potency. “You want to see serums with a concentration between 8–20%. The higher the concentration, the more potent it is,” says Dr. Stefani Kappel, MD, Founder of MDAiRE. She added that L-ascorbic acid is the most biologically active form of Vitamin C, which is harder to formulate and keep stable but has the most data supporting it as the most effective for topical applications. “Vitamin C is a strong active and could become irritating at higher concentrations,” adds Kappel. Therefore, those with sensitive skin should pick Vitamin C with a lower concentration.


Dr. Jeannette Graf, Board-Certified Dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mt Sinai School of Medicine, agrees. Graf says, “Vitamin C in its aqueous L-ascorbic acid form is highly unstable and difficult to use in skincare formulations. It has to be in a very low pH environment, which can also irritate skin.” She adds that other water-soluble Vitamin C forms have had better stability, and natural fruit extracts containing Vitamin C (AMLA) are also used. A fat-soluble form called tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate has shown effective delivery, stability, and effectiveness without irritation.


It’s All in The Packaging



Have you used Vitamin C Serums with great reviews that didn’t give you the best results and wondered what went wrong? Well, the answer is in the packaging.


Kappel says, “Packaging is important when looking at a Vitamin C because Vitamin C will oxidize over time, so looking for an opaque airless pump bottle is important to help the ingredients remain as stable and effective as they can be.” Think of the amount of time your Vitamin C Serum in a glass bottle with a dropper is exposed to light and air. “Being a powerful antioxidant, it oxidizes rapidly as soon as it is exposed to light and air, and it breaks down before it can penetrate the skin,” adds Kappel.


Graf says, “The packaging that vitamin C Serums come in can be important. Vitamin C Serums should come in an opaque container or a dark amber glass bottle to protect them from sun exposure, so they don’t oxidize.” So, the number of uses of your serum could slowly reduce the product’s potency as it oxidizes more every time you expose it to the environment.

So, how do we maintain the integrity of the product? Graf recommends, “How you store Vitamin C can be important to how long it will last. To maintain its effectiveness and prevent oxidation, it should be kept out of sunlight and heat, and ensure you always seal your cap or lid after use because exposure to air can also lead to quicker oxidation.” She adds that Vitamin C Serums are safe to keep in a refrigerator and may make your product last longer.


The Top Vitamin C Serums with Superior Packaging




Dr. Stefani Kappel recommends MDAiRE Vitamin C-FK Brightening Complex, which protects against free radical damage and reduces the appearance of fine lines and dullness while promoting skin firmness and brightness. It’s a 15% Vitamin C Blend ( L-ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, 3-glyceryl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate). The Ferulic Acid helps improve the stability and absorption of Vitamin C, and it comes in an opaque bottle with a pump.




This Image Skincare Vitamin C serum has a blend of Vitamin C forms tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl palmitate that work to keep skin bright and smooth and is one of the favorites of Dr. Jeannette Graf. It also includes skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid to help lock in hydration into the skin and an antioxidant blend to help protect against environmental aggressors.




Sunday is known for Good Genes Lactic Acid Serum, but if you’re missing out if you haven’t used their C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum because it also has Phytosterols Complex that can help minimize redness that Vitamin C serums can cause on sensitive skin. The packaging is perfect, and I also use it under my eyes to minimize dark circles.




Kinship Brightwave Serum comes in a bright yellow opaque bottle and a pump, and this highly potent and stable 10% Vitamin C (tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate) can improve your skin texture in 14 days. This cruelty-free serum-cream is an excellent pick for those with sensitive and blemish-prone skin as it’s infused with plant-based pre-probiotic technology (Kinbiome) for a strong skin barrier. My friend with super-sensitive skin loves it.




I took this Timeless Vitamin C Serum with me when I went hiking up the mountains in Nepal for extra UV protection (plus, I could only carry so many products with me, and yes, I reapplied sunscreen). It’s combined with Ferulic Acid for stability and potency, making my skin glow after one use. I noticed my skin got brighter and firmer with use within weeks, and it didn’t irritate my dry skin up in the mountains at all.




This is my go-to in the Midwest during the winter as it has three stabilized forms of Vitamin C and Niacinamide. Squalane and Hyaluronic Acid kept my skin moisturized in the dry indoor heat, and it felt rejuvenated after every use. In one month, my skin looked more luminous than before.

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