Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Sritama Dutta (Medical Science)  on 16th Jan 2021

Is Vitamin C serum suitable for oily skin? Here's what the experts say

Is Vitamin C serum suitable for oily skin?

Vitamins, in the right amount, always do good to your body. Vitamin supplements can also be of great benefit to the skin. And if you are concerned about your skin, you must have heard about the Vitamin C serum and its amazing benefits.

Famed for being a great anti-aging ingredient, Vitamin C has been under the spotlight for quite a long time.

Though Vitamin C is an integral part of our daily diet, our body sometimes fails to absorb the necessary amount of the vitamin needed. More commonly, we do not consume enough. That's when we need vitamin C supplements to help our body carry on with its functions in the best way possible.

Vitamin C is also supposedly good for oily and acne-prone skin. However, merely eating many citrus fruits or directly putting the fruit slices on your skin won't do enough to keep your oily skin healthy. Want to know more? Keep reading to unravel the incredible benefits that Vitamin C can bring to you. 

How does Vitamin C benefit skin?

Vitamin C is usually safe to be used on all skin types. Most people do not experience any adverse effect on topical application of Vitamin C serum.  

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Vitamin C 10% Face Serum
Vitamin C 10% Face Serum
Vitamin C 10% Face Serum

Vitamin C 10% Face Serum

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When to use: AM / PM

Frequency: Everyday

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Here are the benefits you can expect from a good quality Vitamin C serum:  

1. Erases Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Vitamin C has the property to enhance collagen synthesis in the skin. This, in turn, helps in making the skin firmer and more resilient. It aids in reversing aging signs by reducing fine lines and wrinkles and makes the skin look more youthful.

Vitamin C also promotes keratin build-up, which thickens the skin's layer. This also diminishes the superficial signs of aging by reducing fine lines and wrinkles. The board-certified dermatologist Patricia Wexler also explains that Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that help bust the free radicals in the skin, quickening the aging process.  

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Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream
Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream
Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream

Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream

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When to use: PM

Frequency: Twice a week

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2. Promotes Wound Healing 

Vitamin C promotes protein synthesis in the skin, which are the building blocks of our body's tissues. This, in turn, helps promote faster wound healing. The antioxidant properties of the vitamin also help in calming inflmmation aand heal wounds and other skin injuries. Vitamin C also boosts overall cell turnover, which helps in eliminating scar wounds.   

3. Protects the Skin Against Sun Damage

Exposure to UV rays can induce free radicals in the dermal layers, which cause the development of sunspots and quicken aging. Vitamin C has been known to protect the skin against harmful UV rays. Its antioxidant properties help neutralize free radicals and reduce the risk of skin damage and soothe sunburns. 

4. Reduces Hyperpigmentation 

The sunspots, melasma, or even the age spots result from the overproduction of melanin in the skin. The same antioxidant property of Vitamin C also helps in diminishing the melanin production in the dermal cells. It also promotes the cell turnover rate, which helps in fading the hyperpigmented spots on the skin.

5. Protects the Skin Against Pollution 

Vitamin C can also strengthen the skin's immune power and protect the skin against various microbes and other harmful elements. It helps build newer skin cells, ensuring that the skin's defense barrier is not compromised and protects it from dirt and pollutants.  

How is Vitamin C Good For Oily Skin? 

Oily, sticky skin can be a real nuisance if you ask me. It clogs the open pores in our skin, traps dead cells, dirt and debris, prevents drainage of excess sebum, and aggravates acne formation.

Though over the years, multiple ingredients have been introduced in the skincare market promised to be beneficial to oily skin, some of them have truly proven to be effective. One such active ingredient is Ascorbic acid, better known as Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is a naturally occurring ingredient often found in fruits and vegetables that we regularly consume. Though it is an essential element needed by our body for its daily functioning, it is not generated in our body. That's why a small amount of supplementary Vitamin C serum can benefit the dermis and epidermis.

Like every skin type has its merits and demerits, so does oily skin. Oily skin prevents the skin cells from drying out, keeps the skin firm and resilient for a longer time, and delays the appearance of aging. On the downside, individuals with oily skin often suffer from sebum overdrive, congestion of open pores on the skin, and acne.  

Vitamin C is one such ingredient that can help oily skin in the following ways:  

  • Lack of hydration of the skin cells can induce the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. That's when the dream of having a smooth, matte look withers off. When topically applied, Vitamin C can help draw moisture to the skin cells and effectively hydrate the skin. When adequately moisturized, the skin cells induce the sebaceous glands to reduce sebum production. Thus, with time, you will be able to get rid of your skin's oily glossiness and flaunt a matte, smooth skin texture.  
  • Oily skin is often prone to attract dirt and microbes accumulated in the enlarged pores of the skin. Clogging of the pores sensitizes the skin and aggravates the formation of inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. Topical Vitamin C has been proven to strengthen the lipid barrier of the skin. Apart from increased water retention, this property of Vitamin C also prevents the invasion of harmful microorganisms. This, in turn, reduces acne and breakouts on the skin. 
  • Oily skin often aggravates acne, which on healing develops acne scars or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. With its ability to promote the skin cell turnover rate and enhance collagen production, Vitamin C helps renew the dermal cells, gradually erases the scars and the PIH marks, and gives you flawless skin.  
  • The slightly acidic pH of Vitamin C helps to kill the microorganism that has somehow settled in the superficial skin cells or the pores. This, in turn, prevents microbe-induced breakouts on the skin.  

Something to keep in mind:  

While speaking about Vitamin C, it says "...rigorous blinded placebo-controlled clinical trials with topical vitamin C" are still unable to assess the real efficacy of Vitamin C. However, a few small-scale studies proved that Vitamin C could have the benefits mentioned before.  

How Should You Use Vitamin C Serum in your Skincare Regime? 

Vitamin C, in its pure form, is unstable and quickly degenerates when exposed to the environment. To make it less volatile, a derivative of Vitamin C is introduced by the skincare industry manufacturers.  


Ethyl Ascorbic acid (EAC) is one of the most stable forms of Vitamin C. It has 86% pure form of Vitamin C in it, which is considerably higher than the 40-50% concentration of Vitamin C available in other derivatives. It has a 4.0 pH that makes it slightly acidic, highly stable, and incredibly effective in its action. 

Vitamin C serums are also available with an added booster ingredient which enhances the properties of the vitamin. One such ingredient incorporated in Vitamin C serum is 1% AG or Acetyl Glucosamine.

Acetyl Glucosamine is an amino monosaccharide, which is a precursor of hyaluronic acid. This ingredient helps in hydrating the skin by boosting the synthesis of natural Hyaluronic acid. It also promotes the cell turnover rate that helps in improving the skin texture and complexion.  

Now that you know a bit about topical Vitamin C, here's how you can use Vitamin C serum in your daily skincare serum: 

  • Clean your face with a mild cleanser and apply a toner.
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Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) 3% Face Toner
Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) 3% Face Toner
Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) 3% Face Toner

Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) 3% Face Toner

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When to use: AM / PM

Frequency: Everyday

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  • Take a few drops of Vitamin C serum on your fingertips using a dropper and dab it on your skin.
  • Now, gently rub it over the face in a circular motion to evenly spread over the skin.
  • Wait for a few minutes so that the serum gets absorbed in the skin. You can apply the Vitamin C serum in both your morning and night-time skincare regime

If you wish to get an instant plump look, you can layer Vitamin C serum with Hyaluronic acid. Apply HA serum and wait for 1-2 minutes before applying Vitamin C serum. Then you can apply your preferred moisturizer.

Regular application of Vitamin C serum can help promote the renewal of skin cells. The newer skin layer that lies superficially becomes more susceptible to sun damage. Thus, you must wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF above 30 to protect the skin from impeding photodamage.  

Should you be concerned about any side effects of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C serum is usually well-tolerated by almost all skin types. You can use the serum in your AM and PM skincare without any fear of adverse reactions. It is not likely to cause any skin irritation normally. However, there have been some instances where people with sensitive skin have experienced skin irritation while using the L-ascorbic acid form of Vitamin C.

If you have extremely sensitive skin, you can opt for magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, which is a much milder form of Vitamin C and is less likely to cause any irritation. Ascorbyl Palmitate is another option.

However, it is recommended by skin experts to perform a patch test at least 24 hours before starting to use the serum. And if you experience any hypersensitive reaction, immediately consult your doctor. 

The Bottom Line: 

With numerous benefits, Vitamin C is a boon for individuals with oily skin. Incorporating Vit C in your daily skincare regime will show beneficial effects within a few weeks. It helps hydrate the skin, but Vitamin C can also help bust free radicals from the skin, which delays aging and reduces inflammation.

We hope this article has helped you understand a bit about Vitamin C's goodness and encouraged you to include this incredible serum in your routine.