This article looks at the benefits of a vitamin C serum for acne scars and also my recommendations for the best topical vitamin C serums for acne prone skin.
If you want to catch up on all my other posts on topical antioxidants you can read the following articles:
- Why using topical antioxidants for acne, scarring and pigmentation is A MUST!
- Skin benefits of topical vitamin B3 for acne prone skin
- Vitamin A & retinoids for acne: Retin A the natural way
- The best natural retinoid serums for acne prone skin
Topical vitamin C can reduce inflammation to help clear acne, promote collagen formation to plump out scars and fade post acne marks and hyper pigmentation for smoother, clearer skin.
benefits of a vitamin c serum for acne scars and hyperpigmentation
There are tonnes of acne fighting, age defying vitamin C creams, serums and treatments available out there but it’s important not to be blinded by the ’miracle’ marketing strategies of some of these brands. Yes, some of them may contain a good dose of topical vitamin C but they could also contain silicones, alcohols and preservatives which can all contribute to acne and damaged skin by causing clogged pores, dryness and irritation while some preservatives have even been linked to hormone disruption! This is why this blog post will cover everything you need to know about using topical vitamin C safely and effectively as part of a natural acne treatment plan! Plus, I’ll be sharing my favourite topical vitamin C serums for acne and scars.
a vitamin c serum protects the skin against free radicals
Potent antioxidants such as Vitamin C help to protect our skin from damaging free radicals. Many of these skin damaging free radicals are impossible to avoid completely – think sun exposure, pollution and environmental toxins. With all these pollutants compromising the health of our skin on a daily basis, any additional protective help from topical vitamin C will benefits everyones skin, not just those with acne.
If you suffer from acne, protecting your skin from free radical damage might be more important in helping your skin heal and repair than you first thought. Topical antioxidants neutralise free radicals on the skin and prevent oxidative damage to sebum. No oxidised sebum means NO hyperkeratinisation, NO clogged pores, NO bacteria build up and NO pimples!
Read more on why topical antioxidants are a key part of acne healing here
a vitamin c serum reduces inflammation
There are a few studies that have shown that topical vitamin C, specifically a stable vitamin C derivative called sodium ascorbic phosphate (SAP), gives excellent results as an acne treatment. One study showed 5% SAP improved inflammatory acne lesions by 48.82% in 8 weeks and a mix of 5% SAP and 0.2% retinol improved inflammatory acne lesions by 63.10% after 8 weeks of application. This study shows that although SAP is great on its own, it’s made REALLY great with the help of additional antioxidants such as retinol.
My skin is absolutely loving the @madhippieskinproducts! The vitamin C and vitamin A serums are doing such a great job on my pigmentation and scarring which is leaving me so intrigued to try more of the range. Do any of you MH fans have any recommendations? [UK gals can pick up MH from @botanica_health]
a vitamin c serum boosts collagen
Collagen is the key skin protein that is responsible for the plumpness of our skin, so it makes sense that we want to do all we can to boost it when it comes to filling out those acne scars. Topical vitamin C not only stimulates collagen production, but it can also increase the quality of the collagen our bodies produce.
a vitamin c serum fades acne scars and hyperpigmentation
Vitamin C helps to lighten pigmentation and even out your skin tone. It also helps to improve red marks and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation as it boosts you skin’s natural healing response.
what’s the best vitamin c serum for acne scars and hyperpigmentation?
Even if you find a great clean brand that do a natural vitamin C serum, they’re often marketed as an anti-ageing product so may contain oils such as wheatgerm, soybean, avocado and coconut that can have a pore-clogging effect on those with acne prone skin.
My favourite way to enjoy the benefits of topical vitamin C for acne scarring is to use it in combination with all the other key skin healing antioxidants vitamin B3/niacinimide, retinol/retindehyde and green tea – just like Marie Veronique do in their Retinol Treatment Serum. It may seem pricey, but it’s packed full of all the essential acne healing ingredients so there’s no need to purchase lots of different products. However, if you’re not quite sold on using retinoids on your skin yet, then the following gentle vitamin C serums are a great alternative!
A few of the recommendations below use some of the most beneficial and effective forms of vitamin C for the skin: magnesuim ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) and sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) and ALL are free from rich, heavy base oils that could cause problems for acne skin types and only contain acne friendly base oils such as hemp, jojoba, grapeseed, sea buckthorn, shea butter and rosehip along with tonnes of other key actives that can help calm and heal the skin.
Type of vitamin C used: Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Other acne healing benefits: Hyaluronic acid and peptides to boost the effectiveness of vitamin C and further promote collagen production. Plus, Green Tea Extract to reduce acne – see this post about why you should always look for Green Tea in your skin care here!
Type of vitamin C used: Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Other acne healing benefits: This serum contains Willow Bark, a rich source of naturally occurring salicylic acid which speeds up skin cell turnover to promote healthy skin and has shown promising antibacterial action against acne bacteria. I’m addicted to 100% Pure products and even though I haven’t tried this product, I’m yet to find a 100% Pure product I don’t like!
Type of vitamin C used: Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Other acne healing benefits: Green Tea, Resveratol and Ceramides to boost the efficiency of vitamin C and promote clearer skin.
Type of vitamin C used: Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
This is my go-to vitamin C serum, it’s great value, great acne-friendly ingredients and it’s pretty much available worldwide, whether its from Amazon, iHerb or independant distributors!
Other acne healing benefits: Ferulic Acid and vitamin E to boost the effectiveness of vitamin C and Clary Sage balances oily skin.
Type of vitamin C used: Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate
Other acne healing benefits: A blend of fatty acids and a stable form of vitamin C called Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate mean that this product offers skin brightening results at an unbeatable price.
Depending on where about in the world you are, pretty much all of these products are available to everyone direct from the brand website or on iHerb, Naturisimo or A Beautiful World!
what else can I do to reduce acne scars and hyperpigmentation?
There are other ways you can reduce the appearance of scars but just remember that scar healing is never going to happen overnight. You need lots of patience, but with a gentle skin care routine containing all the right ingredients, your scars will quickly fade and fill out as your skin renews itself.
exfoliate regularly to reduce acne scars
Gentle exfoliation gets rid of dead cells that can leave the skin looking dull. It’s really important to never over-exfoliate skin with harsh exfoliants or chemical peels as this can thin your skin and make it look older over time – this is why I often prefer applying a fruit enzyme mask a few times a week instead of physical exfoliation. Gentle exfoliation stimulates circulation, promotes cell renewal, and refines the skin revealing softer, more radiant skin. As well as helping remove dead skin cells, exfoliation also helps oils, moisturisers, and serums penetrate the skin better – meaning the deeper layers of skin will also get to enjoy all those wonderful skin loving ingredients you apply to your skin.
fruit enzyme exfoliation mask
Applying a face mask containing fruit enzymes Bromelain and Papain (found in Pineapple and Papaya) is a great way to smooth out uneven and congested skin without scrubbing as the fruit enzymes possess anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties and help to break down damaged protein and fade acne marks while stimulating collagen production to help make acne scars appear less noticeable.
Read how I make my own DIY Papaya enzyme mask here
reduce acne scars with daily spf
Any amount of sun exposure can make red marks and acne scarring worse. The red marks that you get after a breakout are the result of abnormally high levels or over stimulated melanocytes which produce melanin – the substance that gives skin its colour. Sun exposure further stimulates the production of melanin so these factors combined can result in darker acne scars and prolonged healing time. To avoid your Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation from getting darker and lasting for longer, I recommend using a daily SPF which provides broad spectrum protection. Luckily, many mineral make-up brands contain the same earth minerals found in sun lotions such as Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide so can provide extra UV protection without the need to overload your skin with products.
Read more on natural sunscreens for acne-prone skin here
take vitamin c on the inside too
Getting plenty of vitamin C in your diet can speed up the healing of scars caused by acne as vitamin C is essential to the formation of new connective tissue in a healing wound. Studies have shown that daily doses of 500-3,000mg of vitamin C can significantly accelerate wound healing even if you’re not deficient in vitamin C!
Read more about internal vitamin C for skin health here.
Have you tried a vitamin C serum for acne scars and acne healing? Is there a natural vitamin C serum that you love and doesn’t feature in this post? Let me know and I’ll look into adding it!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin,
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