Vitamin C has been hailed as the solution for skin problems of all skin types. From those with dry, mature skin to oily and normal skin, it’s for all. But what’s the case for those of us with sensitive skin types? Vitamin C can, unfortunately, be acidic on the skin and lead to the very things—inflammation and redness. So should we sensitive-skinned people be doomed to having less radiant and vibrant skin? And, is there any vitamin c for sensitive skin?
Since vitamin C is abundant in the skin but declines as we age, this antioxidant can be an essential part of your daily skincare routine. And just because you have sensitive skin doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the benefits of this succulent antioxidant.
Here, we’ve compiled a few of the most beneficial types of vitamin C for sensitive skin. Also, you’ll find some of the best products to try!
Benefits of Vitamin C for Mature Skin
First, let’s review why vitamin C is so powerful for skin, especially mature skin. Vitamin C can:
- Repair sun damage to the skin, particularly by boosting collagen to fight wrinkles, reducing inflammation, and fighting the free radicals associated with oxidative damage.
- Improve skin firmness, reduce irritation and even help skin retain moisture for those with dry, sagging skin and uneven skin tone or hyperpigmentation (dark spots on the skin).
- Stimulate collagen production in the skin to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
- Accelerate wound healing, helping your skin get back to normal faster following a procedure such as a laser resurfacing.
Why Are Some People Sensitive to Vitamin C?
So we know that vitamin C is generally good for the skin. Still, unfortunately, the most hyped form of vitamin C in skincare—ascorbic acid—is very acidic. And thus it’s the most irritating form of vitamin C in skincare. The pH of ascorbic acid is between 2.4 and 2.8, which is pretty low on the pH scale (with 7 being neutral).
This acidity can cause skin stinging and dryness in people with sensitive skin. This is definitely not what you want when using a skincare product that should improve your complexion!
Vitamin C For Sensitive Skin
Fortunately, ascorbic acid is far from being the only form of vitamin C used in skincare. In fact, if you’re looking for vitamin C for sensitive skin, you have options that are much higher on the pH scale to deliver all the benefits without irritation.
These other forms of vitamin C include:
- Ascorbyl palmitate. It hits at about 5 on the pH scale and is an oil-soluble form of vitamin C. Although it tends to be much less irritating than ascorbic acid, it’s also considered the least potent form of vitamin C in skincare.
- Calcium ascorbate, with a pH of 7.4, can have a hydrating effect on skin and is generally non-irritating.
- Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate can also be hydrating and has a pH of between 6 and 7. This form of vitamin C is noted to have particular benefits for those with acne.
- Sodium ascorbate. It has a pH of over 7 (between 7.3 and 7.6). Even it is less irritating to the skin and is pure ascorbic acid.
- Sodium ascorbate phosphate. It has a pH of between 5 and 7 and is one of the most stable forms of vitamin C. Like the others on the list; it tends not to irritate sensitive skin.
All of these have the benefit of being less irritating than ascorbic acid. And therefore, these forms of vitamin c can be better for sensitive skin. But keep in mind that your body will convert all of these to ascorbic acid before your skin can use them.
However, it’s still essential to check the label on your skincare products. It helps you ensure that the form of vitamin C in your product isn’t combined with other ingredients you may react to. It’s also a good idea to test out a small area of your skin with a vitamin C product before applying it to your whole face to see if you react!
Best Vitamin C Serums To Try
All of these products have one or more of the above forms of vitamin C in them. And most contain additional nourishing ingredients besides vitamin C for sensitive skin, including aloe vera, chamomile, and vitamin E.
This vitamin C serum uses sodium ascorbyl phosphate along with intensely hydrating hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, jojoba oil, vitamin E, and chamomile. All of which can be excellent ingredients for sensitive skin. Simply apply after cleansing and allow to dry before using your moisturizer.
This serum is rich in antioxidants and contains ascorbyl palmitate, jojoba oil, shea butter, green tea, meadowfoam seed oil, rosehip oil, and sea buckthorn extract. It can specifically help sensitive skin types who have dry and dull skin. Apply after cleansing.
This serum uses magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and witch hazel extract combined with aloe, vitamin E, green apple and grape extract, flaxseed oil, and evening primrose oil. Use after cleansing, preferably in the evening, but you can use it in the morning too.
Mad Hippie’s Vitamin C Serum uses sodium ascorbyl phosphate along with hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, vitamin E, chamomile, clary sage, and grapefruit to nourish the skin. This serum is comparable to a 15-20% ascorbic acid serum, making it a great ascorbic acid alternative for sensitive skin types. You can use it twice a day but it is most effective when used in the morning.
This serum uses both sodium ascorbyl phosphate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate for vitamin C. Also, it uses green tea, jojoba oil, coconut fruit extract, vitamin C, grapefruit oil, milk thistle, and turmeric extract to nourish sensitive skin. Use morning and night for best results.
How Do You Layer Your Skincare Products?
In which order do you apply your skincare products? Learn how to layer your skincare products like a pro with our guide to layering! Do you have a vitamin C product that you use and love for your sensitive skin? Let us know in the comments below!