Let's talk Vitamin C

Let’s talk vitamin c for a minute! L-ascorbic acid is an incredible antioxidant and skincare ingredient. It fights UV damage, hyper pigmentation, acne, dullness, dark circles, and more! I have one of those faces where people frequently come up to me and say "oh honey, you need more sleep!" Vitamin C has been one of the most influential ingredients in my routine so far. Over time it's been helping my acne disappear and massively improving my under-eye circles. Ps - vitamin c is no replacement for sleep, but it DOES keep the unwanted comments on my face at bay. 😉

That said, l-ascorbic acid is a total pain to formulate with. When mixed with water, it oxidizes easily which renders it's benefits useless. And yet ascorbic acid is literally water soluble and water helps maximize dermal uptake into your skin! What a dilemma, huh? On top of that, vitamin c requires an extremely acidic PH(approximately 2.5-3.5) to work properly.

On the other side of the equation, we have vitamin c derivatives like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, or ascorbyl glucoside which are much more stable, and can work in higher ph ranges, but need to be converted to l-asorbic acid in order to be useful to the skin. You might try a cream or serum that boasts an astounding 15% vit c content, but only 1% of it is actually being absorbed!

I’m going to go over two different vitamin c products… one of them is a cosmetic nightmare, it feels awful on the skin, pills everywhere, but it’s one of the most effective products I own. The other one is a total dream, feels great, amazing texture, non irritating, but doesn’t do much.


One of the things I appreciate about Deciem’s TO vitamin c serums is that they never mix l-ascorbic acid with water. Many of their formulas are crude and cosmetically inelegant, yes, but they are also a great way to find out which vitamin c, or vitamin c derivative works best for your skin type. I've tried every derivative I can get my hands on, and none of them have been as useful as plain l-asorbic acid. That means I'm stuck either buying extremely overpriced, easily oxidized vitamin c serums OR I use this vitamin c 23% from the Ordinary.

As far as l-asorbic acid products go, this may very well be the least luxurious feeling serum on the market. The texture is gritty, even when mixed with a water based serum. No matter how little I use, it ALWAYS balls up/pills everywhere which means I can't put anything on my face for 5+ hours. However if you're looking for an immediate result, you won't find a faster acting vitamin c product. I notice instant glow whenever I apply this product... followed by instant pilling. The effects speak for themselves as far as I'm concerned. I owe so much of my current skin health to this suspension, even if it is a pain to apply.



I just received this measurable difference vitamin c serum about a month ago and it’s easily my favorite out of all 3 that I bought. It contains fragrance, unfortunately, but it’s extremely light and pleasant to apply. Unlike deciem’s product, this actually feels very luxurious on the skin and absorbs within a few seconds. It even layers well!

This vitamin ac serum contains ethyl ascorbic acid, an extremely shelf stable derivative of vitamin c that is time released and non-irritating. Unlike deciem’s product, it doesn’t list what percentage of vitamin c it uses so I’m left with only guesswork. If I had to estimate, I would say it contains between 2-5%. The serum feels extremely light compared to my other vitamin c products, and it isn’t very fast acting. If you’re looking for an immediate glow, this is not going to cut it.

I love that ethyl ascorbic acid is so gentle on my skin, but it doesn’t seem to give the same results as an ascorbic acid product. I was hoping that with consistent use, I’d see more of a brightening effect, but so far I’ve had no results whatsoever.



Sometimes the more effective product is not the most appealing to use. :) I’m still in the market for a good vitamin c serum, and will update the blog if I’m able to find my holy grail! What are your favorite vitamin c products?

Follow @frankies.skin on instagram