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vitamin c serum

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Mythbusters: The Truth About Vitamin C Skin Care

From boosting collagen production to diminishing the signs of aging to correcting dark spots, Vitamin C is a highly efficacious skincare ingredient with a wide range of benefits. With all of the myths and misinformation circulating about Vitamin C, it’s important to learn the truth about the benefits of a Vitamin C serum.¹

As pioneers in Vitamin C skin care for more than 13 years, Kiehl’s has extensive expertise in incorporating this potent ingredient at its most beneficial concentrations. Learn more about Vitamin C and how to choose the best Vitamin C products to integrate into your daily routine.

Fact: Not All Vitamin C’s are Created Equal

While different forms of Vitamin C have overlapping benefits, Kiehl’s often uses Pure Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid) to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, Vitamin Cg to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles over time and Activated C for lightening and skin discolorations. Each Kiehl’s Vitamin C serum effectively incorporates a form of topical Vitamin C that is carefully selected to maximize its targeted efficacy.

Fiction: The More Vitamin C, the Better

When products have concentrations of L-Ascorbic Acid that are too high, skin can experience irritation. Kiehl’s selects the best forms of Vitamin C at concentrations that are both efficacious and gentle. Our products are then dermatologist-tested for safety, demonstrating the appropriateness of our formulas for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Fact: Your Skin Needs Topical Vitamin C

Just as Vitamin C is an essential part of your diet, it is also an important step in your skincare routine. The human body does not produce its own Vitamin C but relies on obtaining it through nutritional and topical applications. Vitamin C benefits for skin include stimulating collagen production and neutralizing free radicals. Daily use of a balanced and stabilized Vitamin C facial serum will ensure that your skin soaks up all of the perks of this powerful ingredient.²

Fiction: Vitamin C Causes Skin Sensitivity to the Sun

In actuality, topical Vitamin C has been demonstrated to be a second line of defense against harmful UVA rays while also helping to bolster skin’s antioxidant defenses. We recommend applying a Vitamin C serum in the morning before adding SPF.³

“Before my patients leave their door, I tell them to apply an anti-oxidant rich product and an SPF 50 or higher. Vitamin C is a great anti-oxidant that provides a second layer of defense after sunscreen by neutralizing free radicals that can damage skin, accelerating signs of aging.” -Dr. Adam Geyer, Kiehls Consulting Dermatologist

Fact: Vitamin C Products Benefit All Types of Skin

The Vitamin C facial benefits extend to all skin types, including sensitive and dry skin. There are also effective formulations of Vitamin C serums that can help to correct dark spots and post-acne marks like the Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution.

Kiehl's Singapore - Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solutions

Fiction: Vitamin C Serums are Not Suitable for Sensitive Skin

At Kiehl’s, our Vitamin C serums are designed to be gentle enough for sensitive skin. When first beginning to use facial Vitamin C skincare products, start with a once daily application and gradually build to twice a day. Always consult with your dermatologist when incorporating new skincare products into your routine.

Fact: Store Your Vitamin C Serum in a Cool, Dry Place

Store L-Ascorbic Acid serums like Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate in a place other than your bathroom cabinet as they are best kept in an area without humidity. Additionally, the best Vitamin C serums are kept in dark-colored or amber bottles that effectively protect the formula from light.

Kiehl's Singapore - Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate

Fact: Apply Vitamin C Serums Before Your Moisturizer

After you cleanse and tone your skin, apply a thin layer of Vitamin C serum. Smooth it on morning and night before your moisturizer to lock in Vitamin C benefits for skin.

Vitamin C Serum Benefits

  • Diminishes Visible Signs of Aging Including Fine Lines and Wrinkles
  • Minimizes the Appearance of Dark Spots
  • Hydrates and Firms for Improved Radiance and Texture

Forms of Vitamin C

Pure Vitamin C
L-Ascorbic Acid or Pure Vitamin C is a powerful skincare ingredient. This potent form of Vitamin C easily absorbs into skin and begins working immediately. A dermatologist-recommended ingredient, L-Ascorbic Acid is frequently used in anti-aging products to improve radiance and skin texture while diminishing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet. Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate uses 10.5% of Pure Vitamin C. L-Ascorbic Acid is also found in Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate

Vitamin Cg
Ascorbyl Glucoside is a potent derivative of Vitamin C that boosts collagen production, provides antioxidant protection and helps to minimize the visible signs of aging. Vitamin Cg activates once absorbed into skin to boost Vitamin C activity overtime. In Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, 2% of Vitamin Cg is included to enhance the efficacy of Vitamin C benefits over time. It is also found in the Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men.4

Activated C
Activated C is a next-generation Vitamin C derivative that is highly efficacious. This powerful form of Vitamin C penetrates skin and is proven to effectively fade acne marks and age marks and reduce skin discolorations. Activated C is a key ingredient in the Clearly Corrective Collection from Kiehl’s including Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, Clearly Corrective Brightening & Soothing Treatment Water and Clearly Corrective Brightening and Smoothing Moisture Treatment.

Kiehl's Singapore - Clearly Corrective Collection


  1. Collagen Metabolism. Diegelmann, RF. 5, 2001, Wounds, Vol. 13.
  2. Topical Vitamin C in aging. Colvin, RM and Pinnell, SR. 1996, Clin Dermatol, Vol. 14, pp. 227-234
  3. Enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants in epidermis and dermis of human skin. Shindo, Y, et al. 1994, J Invest Dermatol, Vol. 102, pp. 122-124.
  4. Double-Blind, Half-Face Study Comparing Topical Vitamin C and Vehicle for Rejuvination of Photodamage. Fitzpatrick, R and Rostan, E. 3, 2002, Dermatol Surg, Vol. 28, pp. 231-236.
    Topically Applied Vitamin C Enhances the mRNA Level of Collagens I and III, Their Processing Enzymes and Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 in the Human Dermis. Nusgens, BV, et al. 16, 2001, J Invest Dermatol, Vol. 116, pp. 853-859