In my last two blog posts, I wrote about the Carotenoids and Vitamin C. Two very important kinds of nutrients that will increase the youthfulness of your skin if you eat enough of them. If you haven’t read these articles already I highly recommend you to do so. Since the advice (if followed) will change your skin from the inside and out.
Now if you want to go one step further and add these superior nutrients topically on your skin, then this is the blog post for you. I’ll explain what you need to know in order to find a product that actually works. And also clarify what you need to know in order to avoid products that can do more harm than good to your skin. I’m also gonna reveal my own favorite vitamin C- and astaxanthin serum (OZ Naturals vitamin C serum with Astaxanthin) and explain why I use it every single day.
Before I continue, I just want to stress the fact that serums or creams will not alone do so much to your skin. They are indeed important. But still, only a piece of a puzzle. If you are starting your anti-aging journey on this blog, then begin with reading these 3 most fundamental rules to prevent wrinkles and get better skin. That will help you to start at the right end and get the most out of any product you use.
Having said that, let’s move on to what this post is all about 🙂
I have gathered and answered the most important questions I get asked about this topic. If you want to jump quickly to any part of the post, just click on the links below. And if you have any additional question, feel free to let me know in the comments 🙂
- Why use an antioxidant serum (and why Vitamin C and Carotenoids)?
- Which form of Vitamin C serum is best for the skin?
- Can you use Vitamin C serum on sensitive skin?
- Can Vitamin C serum help with acne?
- Why use an Astaxanthin serum?
- Is Vitamin C serum effective for hyperpigmentation?
- Should Vitamin C serum be used daytime or at night?
- My favorite serum: a review of OZ Naturals Vitamin C serum with Astaxanthin
As you’ll notice I’m not going to go into too many details about why these specific nutrients are great for your skin. Instead, I will refer to my post about Vitamin C for more in-depth information about what this vitamin does in terms of anti-aging. And to my article about the skin tightening carotenoids to learn why this group of antioxidants are super important for younger-looking skin.
In this post, I will just focus on how to find the best topical products with these antioxidants.
Why use an antioxidant serum (and why Vitamin C and Carotenoids)?
Since you are bombarded with free radicals every day (from example sun-rays, pollution, and stress), plenty of antioxidants are needed in order to neutralize the damage those radicals cause your skin. Vitamin C and carotenoids are two well-proven kinds of antioxidants that aid your skin’s defense system. And they are highly effective in their protection against these free radicals. They also provide many bonus benefits if used the right way and in the right form (see coming sections to learn more).
Now the best protection is always to get the antioxidants from a diet full of fruit and vegetables. Despite how boring it may sound, that should always be our first-hand choice when it comes to filling up our skin levels with antioxidants. But, our skin is constantly consuming these antioxidants as we are exposed to sun, pollution, smoke, stress, and even when we get a cold. So it certainly doesn’t hurt to add on some extra from the top. I see it as an extra caution and a complement to a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and veggies.
Which form of vitamin C serum is best for the skin?
This question is highly controversial and if you google around you will notice there are many opinions and claims. Which can be really frustrating. After reading tons of research, and also trying several variations of vitamin C myself, my personal answer will be Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP). And I will explain why.
The problem with ascorbic acid
In serums, you will either find vitamin C in it’s pure and bio-active form ascorbic acid. Or you will find it in a derivative that converts to ascorbic acid once it penetrates the skin. It may sound logical and best to just choose pure ascorbic acid. But really it’s not that simple.
The active ascorbic acid will only work at a very low PH of 3,5. This can be extremely irritating for many skin types, mine included. If you have a tendency of being a bit sensitive you should be very careful with this form of vitamin C.
Besides the low PH, vitamin C is also a very unstable antioxidant in its pure form. It will oxidize very quickly which means it will not be effective for long once the bottle is opened. And it can also become a pro-oxidant that can cause even more irritation as well as inflammations and acne if you are prone to that. And that will, instead of protecting your skin from aging, rather increase the aging process.
To avoid these circumstances the ascorbic acid has to be in serum with other antioxidants in order to prevent the pro-oxidant effect. And it has to be stored in a dark bottle at a cool and dark place. And not for too long. Once its color has turned brownish, you should do your skin a favor and toss it away. Also, stop immedietely if you experience any bad reactions since that is a sign that the serum is too harsh for your skin.
Derivatives of Vitamin C
Since serum with pure ascorbic acid has caused a lot of problems for many individuals, the beauty industry has developed various derivatives that are much more stable and less irritating for the skin. I will mention the two I have found to be the most effective and beneficial for the skin. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP) and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP).
Both SAP and MAP are a lot more stable than pure ascorbic acid and they will not be oxidized easy. And of these two, SAP has been shown to be even more superior both in studies and from my own personal experience.
In addition to being a gentle and stable alternative to pure ascorbic acid, these two also have some other unique benefits. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is good for enhancing the moisture in the skin. And Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is especially great for sensitive skin and for treating acne.
Can you use vitamin C serum on sensitive skin?
Yes, you can. But if you have sensitive skin you should definitely not use the pure ascorbic acid since the low ph can cause even more irritation. And that will actually do more harm than good. Irritation and inflammation in the skin will not be good for your collagen and will instead damage it.
Your choice would be sodium ascorbyl phosphate since that derivative will be the most gentle to your skin, and provide anti-inflammatory properties. At the same time, it is the most effective derivative and a great choice if you have other concerns you want to treat. Such as pigmentation, acne, or overall antioxidant protection.
If you are sensitive due to dryness, then magnesium ascorbyl phosphate can be an option to consider since this derivative has been shown to have a hydrating effect on the skin and decrease water loss.
Can vitamin C serum help with acne?
If you have acne-prone skin, then definitely choose sodium ascorbyl phosphate. Because this derivative of vitamin C has been proven in several studies to be beneficial for acne. It has such a strong antimicrobial effect that it in one study was shown to be even better than a commonly prescribed acne treatment. Definitely worth a try either alone or in conjunction with other acne treatments. Discuss this with your dermatologist.
The Vitamin C derivative Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate has been proven in several studies to be beneficial for acne. It has such a strong antimicrobial effect that it in one study was shown to be even better than a commonly prescribed acne treatment.
Why use an Astaxanthin serum?
There are several different carotenoids that are excellent for your skin. Astaxanthin is one of them and has been proven in many studies to be a superior antioxidant. For example, it is 6000 times stronger than vitamin C. And 800 times stronger than Q10.
Another great thing about Astaxanthin is that it’s very stable and therefor a great ingredient in skincare products. Unlike some other antioxidants such as pure ascorbic acid and beta-carotene, this one will not be a risk of becoming pro-oxidant.
If you haven’t heard that word before, it means that some antioxidants, under certain conditions, can start to cause more free radicals instead of neutralizing them. When it comes to skincare products I only recommend antioxidants that are proven to not become pro-oxidants, and Astaxanthin is a safe bet.
Always let diet be your foundation of providing your skin with carotenoids (and other antioxidants). But also know that topical carotenoids can help with filling up your skin levels. And see that as a great way to complement with, since the skin is constantly being exposed to stress-factors that deplete us of these antioxidants. As long as the antioxidants are proven to be safe and not a risk of becoming pro-oxidants.
I would personally avoid serums containing, for example, beta carotene and pure ascorbic acid. Not saying they are all bad. Because if they are mixed with other antioxidants they will be much safer. But still, I find it better to just choose the ones that are truly stable and safe.
Also, since Astaxanthin is not as easy to find in our daily food (unless you eat certain algae and seafood) as the other carotenoids are, I find it to be of extra value to add it to your skin topically. If you want to read about the other important carotenoids, and how to get them into your skin by diet. Then make sure you read my blog about the skin tightening foods you need to eat every day. That is actually worth a lot more than any serum.
Astaxanthin is a superior carotenoid and antioxidant. For example, it has 6000 times stronger antioxidant capacity than vitamin C. And 800 times stronger than Q10.
Now with that said, you might wonder why even bother with Vitamin C when astaxanthin is this powerful alone? Well, again, antioxidants work best in a team. And these two will enhance each other’s work. Plus Vitamin C has other properties too, such as suppressing hyperpigmentation (read more below). And in the right derivative form (sodium ascorbyl phosphate) it also treats inflammations and acne.
Is vitamin C serum effective for hyperpigmentation?
Yes, it is. A brighter and more even skin tone is one of the benefits of using a topical vitamin C serum. Just remember that all topical treatments for hyperpigmentation are short term. So once you stop treating the area the pigmentation will most likely come back.
Also, remember that a sunscreen protecting you from UVA and blue light is crucial in order to keep the pigmentation at bay (make sure you read my article about effective anti-aging sunscreens). Serums with antioxidants, such as discussed in this blog post, will also help.
I have stubborn melasma myself. Two banana-shaped spots, one above each cheek area. Nothing has really helped and most serums I have tried have ended up in the trash since they have been too irritating for my skin. The first serum I have found to really make a difference is a serum with the mild vitamin C derivative; sodium ascorbyl phosphate. It has not removed the spots but they have become a lot less visible. OZ naturals vitamin C serum with astaxanthin is my favorite for so many reasons. And I will tell you more about this particular one further down.
Should Vitamin C serum be used daytime or at night?
You can use it both daytime and nighttime. But if you experience irritation in your skin from the serum you should definitely not use it while you are out in the sun. Since it will make your skin even more sun-sensitive. And, for that matter, you should not use the serum at all if it is not tolerated by your skin. See above.
For the protection against sun-damage, there has been a discussion about whether vitamin C serum is most effective when used before or after sun exposure. Using it before will help you ensure you have your skin levels on top with this antioxidant. And by using it after you will facilitate in replenishing the antioxidant since your skin will be depleted of it quickly during sun-exposure. The best way to go is probably to use it both before and after. And of course, fill up with vitamin C rich foods from the inside during the day.
- Always let diet be your first-hand choice of antioxidants. A serum is just an added bonus.
- Antioxidant serum with vitamin C and Astaxanthin can help to boost your skin with extra antioxidant defense, decrease hyperpigmentation, and give you a better overall complexion.
- Astaxanthin is a very powerful antioxidant, 6000 times stronger than vitamin C.
- The vitamin C derivative I’ve found to be the most stable, effective, and safe is Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate.
- Never wear a vitamin C serum that irritates your skin or give you breakouts.
- If you have sensitive skin, always choose a Vitamin-C serum with the derivative Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP).
- If you have acne, some vitamin C serums can make your condition worse. Choose the form of SAP that instead will help treat the inflammations.
In the next section, I will tell you more about the antioxidant serum that I’ve found with both astaxanthin and SAP (the most stable and safe form of vitamin C). It works like magic to soothe and glowify my skin, so I really want to share this with you all!
My favorite serum: a review of OZ Naturals Vitamin C serum with Astaxanthin
*Please note, this post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase through any of those links. It doesn’t cost you any extra and I only recommend products I truly love and use myself. You can read my full disclosure here.
This is not a sponsored post. Only my honest review about the best daytime serum I have found.
I’ve tried many different vitamin C serums over the years. And most of them have irritated my skin. It wasn’t until I made the throughout research about this vitamin that I found the reasons why. And I found out that I shouldn’t really focus that much on vitamin C, but rather a mix of different antioxidants. A mix that must be both stable and well-tolerated on sensitive skin.
At the same time, I was sold on carotenoids and had made some major research about their amazing effect on skin health (you find the post here, and you do not want to miss out on that one). So when I found that OZ Naturals had a combination serum with both sodium ascorbyl phosphate AND the powerful astaxanthin, I was thrilled!
Since I am very sensitive to a lot of ingredients such as for example too much oil and silicones (I have learned that the hard way). I was even more excited over the fact that this serum had none of these ingredients. I ordered it and have been using it every day since that.
An antioxidant serum that calms, gives lots of glow AND works Anti-Aging
Let me list the reasons why I love this antioxidant serum from OZ Naturals.
- It has reduced my melasma, and it makes my skin super-soft and glowy.
- It has the most stable form of vitamin C (sodium ascorbyl phosphate).
- It has the extremely powerful algae-carotenoid astaxanthin.
- It has no silicones! For me, that is great since I break out from many silicones in skincare.
- It has vitamin E, which is another antioxidant that team-plays especially well with vitamin C.
- It has hyaluronic acid that can help hydrate and soothe your skin.
- It has green tea which provides extra antioxidant properties.
- It contains no fragrance (great for sensitive skin).
And finally, it’s not even expensive. You can check the current price on amazon here. Or if you live outside of US you can also find it on Yesstyle which offer free worldwide shipping. If you live in Sweden, like I do, the fastest way to get the product is by ordering from Pure Habbit.
Worth knowing is that you also get a money-back guarantee in case you wouldn’t be satisfied. Simply no reason to not try it out :-).
On amazon you can also find tons of reviews and see the whole ingredient list.
So are there any downsides? Well, I did have a bad experience with my first bottle because it had a defect in the cap. I got a new bottle sent to me, but the whole situation made me very skeptical about the product. I thought that if the quality of the bottle was bad, then the serum itself would probably be just as bad.
Still, I gave it a try, and I am so glad I did! I will continue to use it every day since my skin simply loves it! It calms any redness. It reduces my melasma. It gives me a fantastic glow. And I love how it makes my skin feel soothed and healthy.
I hope you found this information helpful. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. Or if you have any other good antioxidant serum you found amazing for your skin. Also, even though this post is about serums. I cannot stress enough the power of eating plenty of the foods that contain these antioxidants. If you haven’t read my articles about the skin-tightening carotenoids and the more in-depth article about vitamin-C, then do your skin a favor and read them. Also, do not miss the fundamental article on how to prevent wrinkles.
I will keep filling this blog with information that helps your skin to be smoother, firmer and more younger-looking. Hope you follow along 🙂 The future of your skin is in your hands <3
Until next time!