Vitamin C is a gold-star ingredient for the skin. You’ll find it in all kinds of skin creams for its antioxidant properties and ability to support healthy collagen. A few months ago I started using it – diligently – every morning before sunscreen, and I can already see results with a more even skin tone and lightening dark spots. Want to make your own? Here are two recipes for making your own vitamin C serum.
Why Vitamin C?
We often turn to vitamin C or load up on citrus when we’re feeling yucky because it has internal benefits that boost immune health and help fight the common cold. But that’s not all it does!
When applied topically to the skin, vitamin C does three awesome things for your skin:
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which neutralizes free radicals and other nasties that come from daily environmental and sun exposure
- Vitamin C lightens the appearance of age spots.
- Vitamin C accelerates collagen production, which prevents the fine lines and wrinkles from forming.
How to make a vitamin C serum with camu camu powder
Instead of buying expensive creams with synthetic forms of vitamin C, you can make your own using camu camu, an antiviral, vitamin C-packed fruit found in the Amazon rainforest. Combined with aloe vera’s healing properties, this Vitamin C serum recipe with camu camu works to lighten and rejuvenate skin.
Why Camu Camu?
L-ascorbic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin C that’s often used in both expensive and homemade skin serums. While it provides potent skin benefits, it can also degrade quickly. Serums with ascorbic acid usually only last about a week before they start to oxidize and turn yellow, which means the vitamin C has become inactive.
The Amazonian Camu Camu plant contains the highest level of natural occurring vitamin C in the world. The small berries are at least 30 times more potent than oranges. So you get the vitamin C skin benefits – plus other antioxidants, vitamins and minerals – from a naturally derived ingredient (source).
Downside: it doesn’t fully dissolve in the liquid so the texture isn’t smooth, making it harder to apply.
DIY: Camu Camu Vitamin C Serum
- Combine camu camu and glycerin, mix well.
- Add aloe vera and stir to combine.
- Transfer to small container (one with a dropper is the easiest to use)
- To use, smooth 2-4 drops onto (clean) face, neck and chest twice a day. Let it absorb and follow with moisturizer.
Vitamin C Serum with Vitamin C Powder
You can also use actual vitamin C powder. The major benefit is that it dissolves completely in water so you don’t end up with gritty sediment in your serum. You can use either L-ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid, but both will degrade rapidly.
Start with a small amount of vitamin C powder for two reasons: it breaks down quickly, losing its effectiveness after 1-2 weeks. So don’t waste it by making a big batch. And it can cause skin irritation. More is definitely not better here.
Vitamin C Serum with Ascorbic Acid
- 3 1/2 teaspoons distilled water
- 1 teaspoon vitamin C powder
- 1/2 teaspoon glycerin
- 10 drops vitamin E oil
- 1 ounce dropper bottle
Combine the vitamin C powder and filtered water in a 1-ounce bottle. Swirl together until the powder is completely dissolved. Then add the glycerin and vitamin E oil. Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. If it starts to yellow, it’s time to toss it.
How to use a Vitamin C Serum
Ideally vitamin C serums or drops should be applied in the morning, beneath sunscreen. Vitamin C actively fights free radicals so apply to the skin before you step out into the world of pollutants.
You can also use the serum in the evening after washing your face and applying toner, but before applying moisturizer; gently pat onto the face and neck, avoiding the eye area.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Photos by Ana Stanciu197