I've always been a huge fan of serums but, admittedly, I've been rather agnostic when it comes to what types I actually put on my face. I've used ones with green tea extracts, some that smell of CBD, some that are goopy, and others that are watery — but mostly I love serums of all stripes because they act as a very hydrating primer for whatever moisturizer I put on afterward. But recently, I was specifically turned onto vitamin C serums — which encourage brighter, smoother, and younger-looking skin with their antioxidant and collagen-boosting properties — care of Clinical Skin, a skincare line that uses clinical research to create "medical-grade formulas with spa-like luxury." I'll tell it to you straight: This stuff is very good — and it may be why it has a steep $120 price tag.
Because I only started using vitamin C serum recently, it's hard to say what the long-term effects are going to look like for me at this moment. Generally speaking, though, the benefits of vitamin C serum are vast and wide. It is known to brighten and minimize pores, firm the skin and promote elasticity, combat free radicals (like pollution that contribute to aging), and smooth out fine lines. My routine is fairly straightforward: In the morning I either wash my face with a gentle cleanser or swipe a pad of micellar water, depending on if I feel like turning on the faucet and getting wet. Then, I squirt a vial's worth of the serum onto my hands and pat that all over. Once that's set, I'll finish off with whatever moisturizer or sunscreen I have on hand. (Vitamin C serum can also be used in the evenings, but it's a way better ingredient for mornings when you're more likely to be exposed to the sun.) So far, what I can say is my favorite aspect of this Clinical Skin serum is that it's extremely gentle for how potent it is.
You see, this bottle boasts an L-ascorbic acid level of 20%, which is the maximum amount of the acid you can have in a vitamin C serum (to give you an idea of the range, there are others on the market that have less than 5%). Essentially, as the percentage increases, so does your chance of benefiting from this active ingredient. There are also various forms of vitamin C, but L-ascorbic acid is considered "the gold standard" for its efficacy.
So far, this product has a nearly perfect 5-star rating and 109 reviews. Those who have been using this product for some time now have some hyped things to say: "I started using it to fade my acne scars, and was completely naive about the effectiveness of vitamin C altogether. I’m seriously stunned as to how it improved my skin tone and texture along with the acne scars and pigmentation. Will buy this for my mum as well," wrote reviewer Kathleen. Even those who are older are finding that the benefits include a reverse-aging effect. "I'm a 50-year-old female and you won't believe but my skin feels baby soft and smooth despite being super sensitive and thick," wrote reviewer Brenda. "I can literally use this serum on my eyelids and under eyes without irritating them. Wonderful." As fall is beginning to ramp up and my summer tan is fading, I've also found this vitamin C serum came at a particularly good time — I can actually lessen some of the sun spots and damage that had been done to my face over the past few months.
But, a word to the wise. Much to my surprise, I had no idea that vitamin C serums aren't universally beloved by skincare enthusiasts. Because vitamin C is considered an "active" ingredient that can cause irritation for some skin types. For that reason, it's often recommended that people test-patch the serum on the arm before slathering it on their faces. However, if you already know your skin reacts well to vitamin C, this juiced-up, high-concentrate serum might be the supercharged treatment your routine needs.
I for one am excited to continue on my vitamin C serum journey — I'm sure it's going to be a long one considering that a $120 serum is not in my usual budget. But currently, using this 20% L-ascorbic acid serum has been a real treat while I prep my face for the colder months ahead. And besides, who could ever turn down a luxurious glow-up moment?
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