Not all vitamin C serums are made equal. Here are 3 things to look for, according to a beauty expert.

Thanks to our brand partner, Skinceuticals

Good ol' vitamin C.        

It's known as L-ascorbic acid in its purest form, and has solidified its spot in the Highly Favourable category of skincare ingredients (in my humble opinion).

The antioxidant-rich ingredient helps in protecting our skin from environmental aggressors; think of it as that extra helping hand. 

Our skin has a natural supply of antioxidants, but these deplete over time, and topical protection has been proven to be exceptionally helpful. 

We all know the popular ingredient has reached fame status, and we get that it’s phenomenal for the skin, but how do we actually navigate our way through the world of vitamin C? 

What's there to know and decipher between them all?

Let me put this in Mean Girls terms; you have your different textures, then you have your vitamin C derivatives, then you have different percentages and then you have your other antioxidants paired with vitamin C. It can be a lot to unravel. But this is where SkinCeuticals and I come in. 

SkinCeuticals are advanced skincare backed by science.

To provide an authentic guide for the vitamin C obsessed out there, I trialled 3 of their vitamin C serums to understand their unique features and benefits. 

So attention glow-getters, here are exactly 3 things to look for when comparing and selecting the right vitamin C for your skincare regime.  

1. Understand the hero ingredient’s purpose.

Vitamin C serums have the potential to be formulated with other antioxidant friends for that extra boost. 

After trialling SkinCeutical’s CE Ferulic, Silymarin CF and Phloretin CF Serum, it’s clear that each are designed to cater for specific skincare needs based on the ingredients purpose.  

Think of SkinCeuticals as the antioxidant answer to your skin's burning questions. 

Let me explain. 

I am a woman of colour with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). It tends to be more visible on my skin tone, so this means leaning towards the Phloretin CF Serum would be optimal if this is a concern.

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According to SkinCeuticals' Antioxidant Authority studies, phloretin is derived from apples and the root bark of fruit trees. 

It has the mega ability to improve cell turnover, so healthier skin cells surface more frequently, which in turn fades discolouration and evens out skin tone.

CE Ferulic: If your skin concern revolves around firmness, fine lines, dullness and a need for advanced environmental protection, I would opt for CE Ferulic serum. 

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The iconic antioxidant trio of vitamin E paired with L-ascorbic acid and Ferulic acid gives powerful environmental protection, and will shield your skin from the biggest external aggressors (UV, pollution, infrared radiation) to aid in future skin health.

This popular formula is also designed to enhance skin radiance, while brighten your complexion and target loss of firmness for fresh, healthy skin. 

This is particularly useful for those who live an outdoors-y lifestyle, or are exposed to harsh pollution. I’m talking to you, city dwellers.


SkinCeuticals' also ran their own 52-week clinical study* with 50 women, and found CE Ferulic gave their skin eight times higher environmental protection against atmosphere-related ageing. From this, 37 per cent saw an increase in skin firmness, and 32 per cent of women experienced a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.

Silymarin CF: There’s nothing silly about Silymarin CF (excuse the pun). Especially if you have oily and/or blemish-prone skin. 

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Yes, adults still get breakouts. So if you are starting your skin health regime in your twenties and thought your weekly high school blemishes would halt, it’s completely fine and it’s more common than you think. 

Enter Silymarin CF; a vitamin C serum that manages excess oil, refines texture and uses 0.5 per cent salicylic acid to decongest pores. 

Some fun beauty facts too: Silymarin is an antioxidant derivative of milk thistle, it prevents oil oxidation (that can lead to breakouts, and visible signs of aging), and it's non-comedogenic, so it doesn't clog pores or cause blackheads. I know, brilliant. 

This oil-free formula has even clinically demonstrated to reduce oil oxidation by up to 76 per cent, from a 12-week SkinCeuticals study* on 50 women and men with oily, blemish-prone skin. 

This serum is perfect for anyone like myself who are convinced their pores clog just from breathing air it seems, but I still want to reap the brightening benefits of using a vitamin C. 

2. Ensure the formula is a match with your skin type.

Skin type knowledge is priority when selecting your entire regime.  


Whether you have balanced, oily, combination or sensitive skin there is a product that is formulated to pin point those concerns. 

Vitamin C products are not all made equal. There’s creamy, gel-based and even thin watery vitamin C formulas available. 

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So which one is best for you? If you experience excess oil here, there and everywhere I highly recommend diving into Silymarin CF for that lightweight consistency and ability to manage excess sebum (oil) production. 

Thank me later. 

If you notice that your skin is quite balanced; think minimal excess dew on the forehead, zero dry patches or that tight feeling, then you could incorporate the CE Ferulic serum. 

Dry and sensitive skin will thrive from this as well. The antioxidant combination of Vitamin E and C and Ferulic acid ensures phenomenal free radical damage protection. 

But more importantly the serum offers hydration whilst softening the outer layer of the skin. Interestingly, once absorbed this vitamin C serum will remain effective for 72 hours minimum. I still apply it daily though because I’m obsessed with it like that. 

Where does Phloretin CF Serum fit? It's designed for those with balanced, combination and sensitive skin, and helps to target discolouration; immediately feeling more smoothing when applied over the skin. Not to be mistaken for a rich feel, Phloretin CF Serum certainly remains true to its skin type pairing, thanks to the lightweight texture.  

3. Be aware of how vitamin C serums are formulated.  

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Did you know that topical vitamin C must tick 3 boxes for optimal skin penetration and effective protection? Sourced from the Duke Patent Parameters from SkinCeuticals' Antioxidant Authority, topical vitamin C products are most effective when they:

  • Use pure L-ascorbic acid
  • Are formulated at an acidic pH, and; 
  • Meet an optimal concentration

With that being said, there definitely are percentage recommendations.  

SkinCeuticals suggest that more is not always better, and 10 per cent to 20 per cent L-ascorbic acid meets beneficial concentration. Derivatives aren’t a match efficacy-wise, so purity wins when talking vitamin C. 

For ultimate absorption (more science-y bits), it’s suggested to ensure vitamin C products are dermatologically formulated with low pH levels, below 3.5 to be exact. 

L-ascorbic acid can become unstable and degrade within skincare products, which is not the glow goal we are going for. 

Thankfully, each product I trialled from SkinCeuticals meets the criteria, and my antioxidant routine is not cheating me from possessing the most radiant and protected complexion.

The luminous world of vitamin C may be saturated. But SkinCeuticals has simplified the journey by developing advanced skincare that is backed by science. 

Consider this your personal guide through the over-populated planet of my favourite skincare ingredient, vitamin C. 

SkinCeuticals vitamin C products are strictly formulated for enhanced efficacy, absorption, and stability. Shop the collection from and receive 3 free SkinCeuticals samples with every order.


  • CE Ferulic results: A 52-week SkinCeuticals clinical study conducted on 50 female subjects; ages 40-60 of all skin types. (USA, 2011). For controlled results, subjects used SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser and Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30 daily, and Hydrating B5 Gel as needed.
  • Silymarin CF results: A 12-week SkinCeuticals clinical study conducted in Brazil on 50 women and men aged 18-50 years with oily, blemish-prone skin. Silymarin CF was applied once daily in conjunction with a sunscreen.

Feature Image: Supplied.

SkinCeuticals is the antioxidant authority and leading medical aesthetic skincare brand. Backed by decades of scientific research, SkinCeuticals continues to push the limits of science to deliver the most precise, powerful and proven results in skincare treatments, delivering advanced environmental protection with targeted clinical correction. As leaders in antioxidants, SkinCeuticals has developed the antioxidant answer for what your skin needs - powerful vitmain C serums that deliver advanced environmental protection and targeted visible results.