Posted on

10 Benefits of Vitamin C Serum

If you want to look like a 20-something well into your 40’s, do something more than pray that your youthful good genes kick in. Follow the road many a celebrity like Victoria Secret models Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio have taken, and commit to using anti-aging vitamin C serum to help maintain a healthy, youthful complexion long into the future.

Ideal for women of all ages and skin types, the skin care benefits of vitamin C serum are numerous, beginning with the most popular – it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles.

Promotes Collagen Production

The bane of any woman’s existence are fine lines and wrinkles. But rather than give into the abyss of aging, the regular use of vitamin C products can combat their very appearance because of their concentrated levels of antioxidant-rich vitamin C, which helps boost collagen production, filling in fine lines and wrinkles. As a result, you may find that you have more youthful looking skin without the need for any expensive and potentially risky cosmetic work!

Protects Skin From Sun Damage

In addition to its anti-aging benefits, topical vitamin C is also great for protecting your skin from damage—especially from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. That’s because vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it naturally helps to strengthen your skin and repel things that could damage it. Of course, topical vitamin C should not be considered an alternative to wearing sunscreen, but when combined with regular sunscreen application, it can really work wonders for your skin.

Reduces Under-Eye Circles

Vitamin C has also been found to help even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of under-eye circles. This is great for those who are tired of trying to conceal the dark circles under their eyes and want to enjoy a more youthful, bright, and vibrant appearance.

Speeds Up Healing

Studies have also found that high levels of Vitamin C can help to speed up the body’s natural healing processes. This makes it ideal for use on the face and other areas of skin, as it can help to heal small cuts, acne scars, and other blemishes more quickly and effectively.

Reduces Skin Discoloration

If you suffer from skin redness or other discoloration of the skin, then a quality vitamin C serum may also be able to help you achieve a more uniform skin tone and better complexion. Specifically, vitamin C is great for reducing embarrassing redness. With just a few uses, you may find that you have a more even skin tone.

Keeps Skin Looking Younger

No matter what your age, it’s always a good idea to be preemptive about avoiding wrinkles, sagging skin, fine lines, and other signs of aging. Vitamin C can help your skin look younger for longer, not only by stimulating collagen production, but by evening out your skin tone and brightening your complexion as well.

Improves Hydration and Moisture

If you suffer from dry skin, vitamin C is a must. This is especially true if you have tried using moisturizers and cremes in the past, only to find that your skin is still dry and flaky. With topical vitamin C products, you can enjoy the high concentration of vitamins that your body truly needs to improve moisture content and overall hydration.

Creates Brighter, Healthier Skin

In addition to improving your skin’s overall complexion, vitamin C can brighten otherwise dull skin, allowing it to look healthier and more vibrant. Strong concentrations of this vitamin leave the skin looking and feeling replenished and revitalized.

Reduces Inflammation

It has also been found that vitamin C, in high enough concentrations, has inflammation-reducing qualities. This is ideal for people who tend to wake up in the morning with unsightly puffiness around the eyes or other areas of the skin/face. A little bit of vitamin C serum can go a long way here.

Speeds Up Healing of Sunburns

Finally, in addition to protecting your skin from sun damage, vitamin C can also be effective in helping to speed up healing of sunburns. Apply some after you have been sun burned, and the vitamins will help to promote faster healing so you can get rid of redness and find relief from itching, burning, and other symptoms associated with sunburn.

These are just some of the many benefits of vitamin C as it pertains to your skin and face. And while it’s easy to go out and find lotions, cremes, and other moisturizers at your local drug store that claim to contain vitamin C, it’s important to realize that your skin needs a very high concentration of this vitamin in order to see results. This is why you’re encouraged to use concentrated serums rather than a basic creme or lotion.

About Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that the body needs for a number of reasons. However, it proves most beneficial to the skin—particularly around the face. For this reason, many people these days use skin-care products that contain vitamin C, such as concentrated vitamin C serums that are designed for use on sensitive facial skin.

Essentially, vitamin C serum is a oil- and water-based liquid that contained highly concentrated amounts of vitamin C. Serums are different from cremes and other products with vitamin C because of the significantly higher concentrations, which allow people to get the most out of the product and see more noticeable results.

Why Use It?

Many people opt for topical vitamin C as opposed to other chemical serums and skin care products because vitamin C serum is completely natural. There is no concern about how your skin is going to react because there are no harsh chemicals or other questionable ingredients. As a result, vitamin C serums are formulated and infused to be gentle enough for everyday use. The same simply cannot be said of many other skin care products on the market.

How to Use It

The best way to use a topical vitamin C is to simply apply a small amount of it once or twice a day (depending on your skin type) to clean, dry skin. It should be applied before you begin applying your makeup (give it time to dry), but after you use your daily facial toner (should you choose to use one). From there, simply continue with your regular makeup and skin care routine.

Posted on


As if finding a daily skin care routine isn’t difficult enough, adding face masks to your routine can be a real challenge. With DIYs and hundreds of products that all have great marketing around what you think you might need, how do you know what to choose?

When we help people make their mask decision, we always go back to the basics. We start with questions like, “what is your skin type?” and “what are your skin care goals?” That lets us get moving in the right direction.

It might be really obvious to you what your skin type is, but it might not (especially if you’re experiencing several issues.) What we would suggest is to test your skin type! Wash your face and don’t put any products on for a few hours or overnight. After a little while, touch your face. You can also press a tissue over your face and visually see where you’re oily and where you’re not.

A facial mask for oily skin and clogged pores

The goal for oily skin is to remove the excess and balance the oils on the skin. A lot of time (but not always) oily skin comes with clogged pores so we look for ingredients that help to pull out impurities along with drying up that excess oil.

A clay mask is awesome for this! There are a lot of different clays you can choose from when you’re looking into choosing the right mask for you and it’s all about doing the research to find what’s right for you. Some of our favorites are rhassoul clay, rose clay, and green (bentonite) clay.

We love them because they’re accessible, effective for pulling out toxic agents from the skin that can cause clogged pores and they’re absorbent of that extra oil while being mineral rich (you know, because they’re straight from the Earth.)

We use both rose and rhassoul clay in our Purifying Mud Mask to give it extra potency. It’s a powder so you get to create your own consistency for your mask. Play around with the consistency you like, but in general you want it thin enough to mix and spread comfortably, but not so thin that it’s watery. Make it extra thick for an awesome spot treatment.

A facial mask for normal and combination skin

If you have combination skin, you already know that it can be difficult to find the perfect products. The clay masks dry out the dryer places but the moisturizing masks can cause impurities on the oily parts. The key here is hydration and balance.

While combination skin is the most complicated, it’s easy to make an effective face mask! For this skin type, we suggest working with a mixture of things that are natural humectants and nourish your skin but that don’t have too much of an effect on the oils in your skin.

A raw, local honey mask for normal, combination, or sensitive skin is absolutely top notch. Honey is jam-packed with minerals, provides a calming sensation, and helps increase hydration in the skin. A little bit of turmeric powder or matcha green teawith it is next level nourishment.

We like adding the Ayurvedic Facial Scrub to it because it’s a gentle exfoliant, great for bringing the skin into balance, and the horsetail and fenugreek are high in silica and other important minerals that infuse your skin with protective botanicals.

The best part is that this face mask recipe is so easy to make. It’s just one part raw, local honey to one part Ayurvedic Facial Scrub mixed together. Layer it nice and thickly onto the skin and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. As you rinse it away, rub in gentle circles for the exfoliating effect. Finish up with your favorite serum and moisturizer!

A facial mask for dry skin

Oh, the dry skin sufferers. Masks are especially helpful for you! If you feel like you’re using the most moisturizing products you can get your hands on but you’re still feeling dry by the end of your day, supplementing with a nice, nourishing mask could be the ticket to smooth skin.

In the masks above, we suggest adding in powdered herbs but for dry skin, we want to steer clear of adding anything that could be too pulling or drying for the skin because the key to great skin is a mixture of moisture and hydration. That means using a mask that has both rich moisturizers and natural humectants. Our favorite (and the yummiest) humectant is raw honey and you want to mix that with a moisturizing oil like jojoba or extra virgin coconut oil.

Our Coconut Honey Mask is formulated specifically for dry skin, it has a little bit of beeswax in it, just to add to the hydrating factor and leave the skin feeling super smooth! Our favorite way to use this is to work with a nice exfoliant first to get rid of any buildup and then spread your mask on nice and thick. Leave it for 15-45 minutes and then rinse with warm water (you can also use a warm, wet towel, whatever feels good.) Pat your skin dry and follow up with your hydrating serum and rich moisturizer.

General mask guidelines to follow in your beauty routine

Regardless of your skin type, there is a list of general guidelines to follow when you use a facial mask:

  1. Make sure to always wash your face before you use a mask, putting a mask on a dirty face can trap impurities in the skin.
  2. Pat your skin dry, don’t rub. The skin will naturally be a bit more sensitive after all that absorbing and/or pulling so you want to make sure to treat it with some extra TLC.
  3. Pay attention to how long you leave it on. With clay masks, if they get too dry they can dehydrate your skin leaving it too dry and with moisturizing masks leaving it on for too long can clog pores. We usually suggest at least 15 minutes but never longer than an hour.
  4. Follow up with products that work for your skin type. After a mask, the skin tends toward being more absorbent so following up with products that nourish your beautiful skin in the way it deserves.
Posted on

How to Choose (and Use!) the Best Facial Serum for You

If you are the proud owner of a medicine cabinet stocked with serums but have no idea on what the skincare product actually does or how you’re supposed to use it, you’re not alone. Like a non-absorbent makeup sponge, serums are full of contradictions: they’re moisturizing, but shouldn’t replace your moisturizer, and some formulas are oily, but they’re not classified as face oils.

Confused? Us too. We turned to dermatologist Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, CEO to break down what serums are, how the product should be used, and what formulas are best for your skin type.

So, What Is a Serum?

Serums are like a shot for the skin. They’re packed with potent anti-aging ingredients like retinol and vitamin C, and blended with non-oil based agents, which is what makes formulas moisturizing. “Facial serums employ synthetic substances such as silicone and glycerin to produce the thin texture and slippery feel of a serum without utilizing pore-clogging, heavy, ingredients such as shea butter or jojoba oil,” says Dr. Jegasothy.

How Do You Use Serums In Your Skincare Routine?

Treat serums as the grand finale in your skincare routine. Dr. Jegasothy says to apply them after the rest of your products, right before you start on your makeup. “If you are applying other skincare products over serums, your face may start to appear too shiny, particularly as the day goes on,” she says.

To apply serums, Dr. Jegasothy recommends using clean finger tips as you would with other products, and adopting light upward strokes. As with eye creams, she says to pay careful attention when using serums around the eye area. “Applying anything to the eye area should be done very gently, in a patting method,” explains Dr. Jegasothy. “Do not ever rub creams or serums into the eye area as it can break delicate capillaries situated under the thin eyelid skin, which can then cause under eye circles later.”

How Do I Pick the Right Serum?

When serum shopping Dr. Jegasothy recommends considering brands that have good reputations, clinically test their products, and divulge their ingredient list. If they have high ingredient concentrations, the better.

In terms of actual ingredients, if you have oily skin she suggests choosing a serum with salicylic acid and/or glycolic acid. For dry complexions, look for formulas that incorporate hydrating proteins such as hyaluronic acid that attract water to the skin. While aging, dull, or combination skin will benefit from serums with both vitamin C and retinoids.

Posted on

These Common Skin Care Ingredients Should Never Be Used At The Same Time

These days, it seems there’s a skin care product out there for everything. Want to reduce the look of fine lines? Reach for the retinol. Looking for a moisturizer that will keep your skin looking supple and glowy? Try something with hyaluronic acid. Looking to fade dark spots and brighten the skin? You need a vitamin C serum.

With so many active ingredients, figuring out how and when to use these products can get a little confusing, especially when you’re trying to pin down a skin care routine for yourself.

We’re here to help. We spoke to three dermatologists about mixing active ingredients like vitamin C, acids and retinol, and asked them to share their expert advice.

“Alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic acid), beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid), retinols, and vitamin C are some of the most common active ingredients recommended by dermatologists,” Dr. Y. Claire Chang of Union Square Laser Dermatology.

Of the three doctors we spoke to, all of them recommended the use of sunscreen, vitamin C and retinol for a basic skin care routine. (Remember: Before using new products, you can and should consult a dermatologist to see what is best for your skin type.)

Here are the do’s and don’ts of how to incorporate them into your daily regimen:

DON’T COMBINE: Vitamin C + Retinol
Vitamin C products work as antioxidants that can help fight skin damage caused by the sun and other environmental pollutants, Chang said. Vitamin C can also help lighten dark spots and build collagen to reduce the look of fine lines.

“Retinol and retinoids are vitamin A analogues that can lighten brown spots and improve fine lines over time,” Chang said, noting that they can make skin more photosensitive.

“Vitamin C and retinol work optimally in different pH environments, and thus, should typically not be combined,” Chang said, nothing that “vitamin C products are formulated to be at a low pH of less than 3.5, while retinol works best at a pH of 5.5-6.”

In general, she said to avoid combining the two ingredients. She recommends using a vitamin C serum in the morning and retinol cream at night “to ensure full efficacy of both ingredients.”

DO COMBINE: Vitamin C + Sunscreen
“Vitamin C and sunscreens work well together.” Dr. Melda Isaac at MI Skin Dermatology Center in Washington, D.C., adding, “I recommend applying vitamin C in the morning prior to sunscreens.”

“What I tell everyone is the most important thing you should do is a vitamin C serum in the morning, then sunscreen, and then a retinol cream at night,” said Dr. Samer Jaber at Washington Square Dermatology. (Our editor Kristen Aiken swears by the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic vitamin C serum.)

DON’T COMBINE: Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids + Retinol
When it comes to skin care products, alpha hydroxy acids include glycolic, lactic and citric acid, while beta hydroxy acid generally refers to salicylic acid.

“Alpha and beta hydroxy acids are typically used to exfoliate the top layer of the skin and help improve color irregularities over time. Retinols are used to treat acne and to help improve brown spots, fine lines, and wrinkles,” Chang.

When the two active ingredients are used together, they can cause excessive dryness, redness and irritation. Because of that, Chang recommended using them at different times of the day or different days of the week.

Similarly, Jaber said, “If you’re going to use an acid ― lactic or glycolic or any type of exfoliating acid ― I would typically recommend you do that in the morning and retinol cream at night.”

DON’T COMBINE: Benzoyl Peroxide + Retinol
When retinol products are combined with benzoyl peroxide products, their effects can cancel each other out. As Isaac, these two ingredients are not compatible.

“I advise patients to apply retinol in the evening and beta or alpha hydroxy acids in the morning,” Isaac said.

Retinols should also not be used with other potentially irritating products, such as anything containing acid, and should be avoided if you’ve recently had a chemical peel or resurfacing laser procedure, Chang said.

DON’T COMBINE: Benzoyl Peroxide + Vitamin C
Chang advised against using a combination of vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide products, as they can counteract each other’s effects: The benzoyl peroxide can oxidize the vitamin C.

However, Isaac explained that if you have oilier skin, combining a benzoyl peroxide product, like a toner, and a vitamin C product could work for you, though she advised waiting a few minutes between using the two.

COMBINE WITH CAUTION: Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids + Vitamin C
“Vitamin C and hydroxy acid products could potentially be used together, as they both work in acidic environments,” Chang said, adding that “because both are made in acidic formulations, the combination can be more irritating for the skin.”

Isaac noted that in the case of vitamin C and salicylic acid specifically, the combination could work for those with oilier skin. Just as she advises for vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide, she recommends waiting a few minutes between the application of each product.

Chang, however, suggested using them separately. If you’re unsure if this combo will work for you, speak to a dermatologist.

JUST REMEMBER: Always Wear Sunscreen.
All three dermatologists agreed that sunscreen is the one product we should be using every single day.

“The single most important skin care product for all skin types is sunscreen,” Chang. “I recommend a physical sunscreen, containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, with SPF of 30 or greater for optimal protection.”

One thing to note is that “diluting your sunscreen with a moisturizer will likely reduce your application of SPF,” Isaac said. “Apply a separate moisturizer first then sunscreen on top.” (Moisturizer with hyaluronic acid was among Isaac’s staple recommendations.)

Finally, as Jaber told, “It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on oils or retinol and vitamin C. If you’re not getting good sun protection, you’re wasting your money.”