Although sunspots and post acne marks are formed two entirely different ways, both types of hyperpigmentation are treated the same way. Gentle exfoliation and a generous dose of sunscreen are huge parts of the equation, but no brightening routine would be complete without one of the best Vitamin C serums for fading dark spots.
It's probably a bit obvious what causes sunspots — they're your body's attempt at protecting itself when you've spent too much time in the sun — but many people don't realize that the sun contributes to the formation of post-acne marks as well. These pesky red or brownish blotches pop up after a pimple heals, usually a big one, but exposing them to the sun darkens these marks and makes them stick around longer. Actually, minimizing further sun damage is one of the ways that Vitamin C helps to lighten both types of blemishes. Because Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it's able to neutralize some of the damaging free radicals that the sun unleashes on your skin. Which is why, while you definitely shouldn't be skipping your SPF, it's a great idea to apply your Vitamin C serum in the daytime.
And, that's not the only way Vitamin C fades dark spots on the skin! It's also a chemical exfoliant, which — over time — sloughs off discolored skin. Because of its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C aids your skin's natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells and produce new ones. And, amazingly, Vitamin C actually contains a property that inhibits your skin's melanin production, meaning less dark spots will be created in the first place. So, again, make sure you're wearing sunscreen everyday — because less melanin also means less natural protection from the sun!
If you're looking for a way to fade dark spots on your face, these seven amazing Vitamin C serums will quickly become the superstar products of your brightening routine.
1This Gentle Serum Is Perfect For Sensitive Skin
Although applying a higher percentage of Vitamin C can fade dark spots faster, it also makes you more likely to experience irritation. Sensitive skin types generally can't tolerate the many 15 or 20 percent Vitamin C serums out there without turning red and blotchy — which is not healthy for your skin in the long run.
This serum from Youth To The People contains a gentle 6 percent Vitamin C, blended with Tripetide 37, which is thought to stimulate collagen production, and Hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin. Mild acids in this serum also help to exfoliate the skin, allowing the other ingredients to be better absorbed, while green tea and aloe extracts soothe. And, this serum is free of alcohol, parabens, and fragrance.
2This 15 Percent Vitamin C Serum Contains A Powerful Punch Of Antioxidants & Enzymes
Drunk Elephant's C-Firma Day Serum is one of the most popular brightening products out there right now, and with good reason! This serum contains 15 percent Vitamin C, which is on the higher end of the spectrum, but it's also packed with other antioxidants, brightening ingredients, and fermented ingredients that contain enzymes to naturally exfoliate the skin. These enzymes can help fade discoloration faster without having to apply a higher concentration of Vitamin C, since exfoliating sloughs off darkened skin cells.
3This Light Serum Soothes & Brightens With Cucumber & Ginseng Extracts
The Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum is formulated with 7.5 percent Vitamin C and a pleasantly short list of other ingredients, which it a safe bet for most skin types — except the super sensitive. Standout ingredients in this serum's lineup include cucumber extract, which is soothing and cooling to the touch, and ginseng extract — the brightening properties of ginseng give this serum an extra boost when it comes to evening out the skin!
4This Mild Hydrating Serum Is Ideal For Acne Prone Skin
Skin that's prone to breakouts usually can't handle serums with a high concentration of Vitamin C without getting red and flaky, but the Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop Serum from Klairs contains a gentle 5 percent of Vitamin C and Centella Asiatica extract — to calm redness and inflammation.
Keep in mind, if you have acne, applying Vitamin C to active breakouts can cause irritation. Try this serum as a spot treatment by applying it directly to post acne marks, allow the serum to soak in, and then apply your moisturizer.
5This Innovative Vitamin C Powder Turns Any Toner, Essence, Or Serum Into A Brightening Product
So, this product isn't exactly a serum, but it could be — it all depends on how you use it. Instead of a liquid, it comes in the form of a powder that, when mixed with a liquid, continuously releases Vitamin C for the next 12 hours. Aside from Vitamin C, the formula also contains niacinamide, a B Vitamin that helps brighten skin and improves barrier function, allantoin, which soothes the skin, and hydrolyzed collagen.
The Vitabrid C12 Vitamin C Face Brightening Powder can be mixed with water, toner, essence, or your moisturizer — pretty much any liquid that you're already applying to your skin. And, you can customize just how much Vitamin C you'd like to apply by adjusting the amount of powder you blend in.
6This Potent Serum Contains 15 Percent Vitamin C, Vitamin E, & Ferulic Acid
This serum is pricey, no doubt, but it truly is a quality formula. The SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum contains 15 percent Vitamin C, 1 percent Vitamin E, and 0.5 percent of the powerful antioxidant, Feurlic Acid — a formula that the brand is extremely transparent about. SkinCeuticals notes that their research shows that "specific combinations of antioxidants," like the ones present in this serum, provide superior results when blended together than when used alone. So, this minimal formula isn't about packing in every antioxidant under the sun, the choice of ingredients in this serum are all extremely intentional.
7This Concentrated, No-Frills Serum Is Formulated With 20 Percent Vitamin C
The Amara Organics Vitamin C Serum might not look like much at first glance, but this no-frills serum boasts over 2,700 glowing reviews on Amazon from people who have tried it and loved it enough to let the internet know. This serum is a whopping 20 percent Vitamin C, so it is not for sensitive skin types or those looking for just a little brightening. But if your skin can tolerate a high concentration of Vitamin C, this serum includes other beneficial ingredients as well. The most notable of which are aloe and Centella Asiatica extracts, to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation, and Hyaluronic Acid, which plumps and hydrates.
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