Widely known for its immune-boosting and antioxidant properties, vitamin C isn't just a nutrient you find in orange juice and multivitamins. It's also a common ingredient in many skin care products like serums and moisturizers. The benefits of vitamin C in skin care include brightening and anti-aging effects, the ability to fade acne scars, and more. Vitamin C can work wonders for your skin health, which is why it's become a tried-and-true staple in many health and beauty routines.

The Benefits of Vitamin C in Skin Care

Vitamin C has been studied for its many health benefits, including for the skin. Although this nutrient is the most common antioxidant in the human skin, our bodies can't create it, meaning that it must be obtained through topical application and oral ingestion.

If you want to try this powerful substance on your skin, opt for a vitamin C serum or moisturizer. For other benefits related to general health, you can try a vitamin C supplement or foods rich in this antioxidant.

Brighten Dark Spots and Help Hyperpigmentation

One of the most well-known benefits of vitamin C is its ability to visibly brighten dull skin. If you experience dark spots, hyperpigmentation, or other forms of darkness due to sun damage, you may have wondered how you can brighten your complexion. Topical vitamin C may help.

Since vitamin C is an antioxidant, it has been shown to prevent signs of photoaging. Some researchers even refer to vitamin C as an "anti-darkening or anti-pigmenting agent." When paired with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, vitamin C can both prevent and reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Increased Collagen Synthesis

Collagen is a protein found in the skin, as well as many other parts of the body. It's what gives our skin its plump, firm appearance. Over time, the body produces less collagen, causing the skin to appear thinner and form wrinkles.

While this is a natural part of aging, vitamin C is believed to increase collagen synthesis, a key anti-aging property. The benefits of collagen aren't just related to preventing the signs of aging, though. Collagen is also beneficial for reducing the appearance of acne scars and discoloration from sun damage.

Vitamin C for Acne Scars

Scientific studies have confirmed a link between topical vitamin C and wound healing. The natural antibacterial properties of vitamin C make it suitable for treating acne and acne scars. For maximum acne scar reduction, some studies suggest combining topical vitamin C with micro-needling treatments.

Anti-Aging Properties

Many of the anti-aging benefits of vitamin C can be attributed to its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants like vitamin C can neutralize free radicals, which are known to cause damage through oxidative stress.

Increased collagen synthesis, reduced hyperpigmentation, and improved scar healing all contribute to vitamin C's anti-aging benefits.

Using Vitamin C Skin Care Products

If you're incorporating vitamin C into your skin care routine for the first time, there are a couple of things you should know.

  • Vitamin C has been shown to be safe and effective in skin care products. However, people with very sensitive skin may experience irritation after applying it. Always perform a patch test on a small area of skin to rule out any reactions.
  • Vitamin C is an unstable molecule, so it degrades when exposed to light. Check to see if your skin care products with vitamin C have changed color over time. If they have, the vitamin C may have oxidized and become less effective. To prevent this, store these products in a cool, dark place.

To get started exploring this active ingredient, try EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer, which is made with ascorbyl palmitate, a vitamin C ester. Pair the vitamin C product of your choice with a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen, and watch your skin come to life. Vitamin C and sunscreen are a dream team when it comes to healthy-looking skin. That's why many EltaMD facial sunscreens contain Vitamin C already: UV Sheer, UV Restore, UV Elements, and UV Replenish all offer the brightening and anti-aging benefits of this powerful antioxidant.

Vitamin C could be just the skin care secret you've been looking for, so pick out a few products with this key ingredient and make a move towards your best skin ever.


  • Lacey Muinos

    Lacey is a Southern California-based freelance writer who combines her passions—fitness, health, and a vegan lifestyle—with her work to help readers feel and be their best. Her work has been featured in Healthline, Livestrong, Verywell Fit, Eat This Not That, KinderBeauty, and more.

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