Best Vitamin C Serum: Dermatologist-Recommended Brightening Skincare Set

Brightening Skincare Set

The best vitamin C serum recommended by dermatologists is one that is formulated based on certain criteria. At our pharmacy, we have put together a brightening skincare set that includes our bestseller Vita C GOLD serum plus our new product the nanopeel enzyme kit based on papain. This article goes in depth into the dermatological science behind what is perhaps the best known antioxidant serum, benefits to skin and how it actually works. 

@drteowanlin Vitamin C Serum Benefits What does Vitamin C serum do for your face? Topically applied Vitamin C is usually in the form of L-ascorbic acid which exerts the following effects on skin : 1. Anti-wrinkle Vitamin C is required in the production of collagen, which is depleted in aging skin. It also acts as an anti-oxidant shield, which means it protects skin from environmental damage caused by UV rays, airborne pollutants and harmful chemicals. As an antioxidant it engulfs free radicals that are generated by oxidative stress. Overall, it exerts an anti-wrinkle effect by stimulating collagen production and blocking breakdown of collagen. Anti Wrinkle Effect required to produce collagen anti-ageing shield prevents future damage cofactors of enzymes that augment the stability of collagen fibers increases expression of collagen block collagen breakdown 2. Skin-lightening Vitamin C is what we know as a tyrosinase inhibitor which means it blocks the enzyme tyrosinase which in turn prevents conversion to melanin. When there is less melanin produced, a skin lightening effect is achieved. This is how vitamin C can address hyperpigmentation. Skin-Lightening Effect inhibits tyrosinase blocks tyrosine to melanin conversion produce less melanin 3. Anti-Inflammatory Effect combats oxidation (sebum) reduces comedogenesis 🏷Vitamin C serum Face Vitamin C serum Recommendations Vitamin C serum Routine Vitamin C serum Singapore Vitamin C serum #kbeauty #beautytips #sgbeauty #tiktokshopsingapore #selfcare #tiktokshopsg #vitamincserum #brighteningserum #brighteningseries #brighteningskin #diyskincare #diyskincarerecipes #diyskinbrightening #diyskinlightening #sgtoktok #sgdoctor #dermatologist #tiktoksg🇸🇬 #skincareroutine #skincaretips #skincare101 #skincareproduct #brighteningserum #skinbrighteningproducts #skinbrighting ♬ original sound - Dr.TWL Dermatologist

Brightening Skincare Set By Dr.TWL

  • VITA C GOLD SERUM
    Antioxidant. Nano-formulated. Stabilized Vitamin C
    Optimal 4.5% Concentrations for Acne Treatment
    No Stinging or Sensitivity* Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
    Formulated for Sensitive & Acne-Prone Skin
  • Dr.TWL™ MOISTURISING NANOPEEL
    Upgrade your home chemical peel regimen. A new way to moisturise and exfoliate your skin with zero irritation. A blend of papain enzyme concentrate with minimum 18 botanical antioxidants for a nourishing brightening home chemical peel.

BONUS FREE ROSE QUARTZ JADE ROLLER VALUED AT $60

[Increased cosmeceutical absorption] Using the massage roller before application of cosmeceuticals would increase the skincare absorption, leading to better effects on aging.

$195.00 SGD

How to Use Vitamin C Serum

DIRECTIONS FOR USE:

DAILY VITA C GOLD SERUM

  • Massage your skin with the jade roller included for 1-2 minutes.
  • Apply 3 drops after cleansing to damp  skin
  • Use fingertips to pat in excess

UP TO FIVE TIMES A WEEK NANOPEEL 

Brightening Skincare Tutorial 101 with Dr.TWL 

Best Vitamin C Serum Formulation Secrets

Formulation Secrets Revealed

Let’s lay the foundation first by defining what Vitamin C really is

L-Ascorbic Acid 

  • chemically active form of Vitamin C 
  • essential nutrient 
  • antioxidant fights free radical cell damage 
  • facilitate cellular repair 
  • topical L-ascorbic acid for targeted skin efficacy 

Essentially, it is the chemically active form of Vitamin C that is used by the body as an essential nutrient. As an antioxidant, it also fights free radical cell damage and promotes cell repair. When one ages, cell repair slows down and that’s when damaged cells persist, leading to textural skin irregularities like spots. Skin dullness is usually because of reduced skin cell turnover in aging skin, due to a lengthened skin cycle. Dead skin cells then accumulate on the skin surface, resulting in perceived dullness of skin tone. 

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How the Vita C Gold Serum by Dr.TWL Pharmacy is formulated as the gold standard in the anti-ageing antioxidant family

In this section, I’ll explain why topical vitamin C is considered a key antioxidant in skincare formulations as well as benefits on skin physiology. You will learn how to choose the best vitamin C serum for your skin type and also how to incorporate it into your day and night skincare routine.  

@drteowanlin How the Vita C Gold Serum by Dr.TWL Pharmacy is formulated as the gold standard in the anti-ageing antioxidant family In this section, I’ll explain why topical vitamin C is considered a key antioxidant in skincare formulations as well as benefits on skin physiology. You will learn how to choose the best vitamin C serum for your skin type and also how to incorporate it into your day and night skincare routine. Get the full tutorial👆🏻 #vitamincserum #sgtoktok #sgdoctor #dermatologist #tiktoksg🇸🇬 #skincareroutine #skincaretips #skincare101 #skincareproduct #brighteningserum #skinbrighteningproducts #skinbrighting ♬ original sound - Dr.TWL Dermatologist

Vitamin C Serum Benefits

What does Vitamin C serum do for your face?

Topically applied Vitamin C is usually in the form of L-ascorbic acid which exerts the following effects on skin :

1. Anti-wrinkle

Vitamin C is required in the production of collagen, which is depleted in aging skin. It also acts as an anti-oxidant shield, which means it protects skin from environmental damage caused by UV rays, airborne pollutants and harmful chemicals. As an antioxidant it engulfs free radicals that are generated by oxidative stress. Overall, it exerts an anti-wrinkle effect by stimulating collagen production and blocking breakdown of collagen. 

Anti Wrinkle Effect

  • required to produce collagen
  • anti-ageing shield prevents future damage
  • cofactors of enzymes that augment the stability of collagen fibers
  • increases expression of collagen
  • block collagen breakdown

2. Skin-lightening

Vitamin C is what we know as a tyrosinase inhibitor which means it blocks the enzyme tyrosinase which in turn prevents conversion to melanin. When there is less melanin produced, a skin lightening effect is achieved. This is how vitamin C can address hyperpigmentation. 

Skin-Lightening Effect

  • inhibits tyrosinase 
  • blocks tyrosine to melanin conversion
  • produce less melanin

3. Anti-Inflammatory Effect      

  • combats oxidation (sebum)
  • reduces comedogenesis

Vitamin C Serum Benefits Skin Lightening, Anti-Wrinkle

The best vitamin C serum formulations target various skin concerns by acting on specific cell targets in the dermis. In the case of oily, acne prone skin, it also works as an anti-oxidant. This also helps reduce inflammation that leads to comedone formation. Excess sebum on acne skin types leads to inflammation when the sebum itself undergoes oxidation, leading to stress that triggers off comedone formation. As a result, using a vitamin C serum can reduce formation of comedones or what we know as blackheads and whiteheads. 

4. UV protective

As the best known antioxidant, vitamin C essentially boosts the skin’s natural reserve of cells that fight damaging free radicals. Essentially, antioxidants “eat up” or engulf the damaging free radicals generated at the surface of skin as a result of environmental damage.

Dr.TWL’s Tips

What are the pros and cons of L-Ascorbic Acid?

L-Ascorbic Acid based Vitamin C serums 

  • highly unstable under atmospheric conditions
  • react almost instantly with oxygen in the air and degraded 
  • formulated with higher concentrations 20% L-Ascorbic Acid  in order to survive the degradation & reasonable efficacy 
  • increases acidity
  • sensitive or eczema-prone skin (irritation and flare ups)

L-Ascorbic Acid or raw Vitamin C, whilst fundamentally important as an antioxidant and driver of cellular repair in the human body, may not confer the most benefit when applied topically as it is, in its raw form, to the skin. 

Chemically, L-Ascorbic acid is highly unstable in solution under atmospheric conditions, being the potent antioxidant that it is which inadvertently causes the molecule to react almost instantly with oxygen in the air and be degraded of its functional form. 

Vitamin C Serum Benefits UV Protection, Anti-Inflammatory, Sebum Control

The best vitamin C serum is formulated according to the following key principles:  

  • Readily absorbed
  • Does not degrade rapidly when exposed to the environment 
  • Effective and gentle on all skin types 

This often results in L-Ascorbic Acid based Vitamin C serums having to be formulated with higher concentrations – for instance 20% L-Ascorbic Acid formulations may quite frequently be marketed, in order to survive the degradation in some manner and have any reasonable efficacy by the time the molecule is absorbed by the epidermis and dermis. 

A consequence of high concentrations of L-Ascorbic Acid however is that, as may be suggested by its chemical nomenclature, it increases acidity on the skin. 

For individuals with sensitive or eczema-prone skin, it is not uncommon to experience irritation and flare ups following the use of such highly concentrated L-Ascorbic Acid formulations.

Which vitamin C derivatives would you recommend, and why? Are there any derivatives that you particularly like? 

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP) 

  • stable precursor of L-Ascorbic Acid
  • adjunctive treatment to  and pigmentation conditions
  • salt of ascorbic acid 
  • stable in solution under atmospheric conditions
  • intact on exposure to environmental oxygen up till absorption 
  • in dermis, the enzyme phosphatase cleaves off the phosphate group attached
  • converted back to functionally active L-Ascorbic form
  • deliver the efficacy of the vitamin without the same losses 
  • lower 5 percent concentration of SAP, avoiding potential irritation from high concentrations
  • 1 percent concentration of SAP shows strong antimicrobial efficacy against Cutibacterium acnes

In my practice, I use Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP), a stable precursor of L-Ascorbic Acid, in the formulation of a stabilized Vitamin C serum – the Vita C GOLD Serum, which is a cosmeceutical often opted for by patients as adjunctive treatment for hyperpigmentation. The SAP is a salt of ascorbic acid and is stable in solution under atmospheric conditions. This allows the molecule to be kept intact mostly on exposure to environmental oxygen up till absorption through the epidermis and dermis, where the enzyme phosphatase is abundant to cleave off the phosphate group attached to the Ascorbic Acid molecule.

Benefits of Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate

From here, the SAP is converted back to its functionally active L-Ascorbic form, to deliver the efficacy of the vitamin optimally right into the skin without the same losses that may be experienced by conventional Vitamin C serums, due to intermediary exposure to environmental oxygen. What this means is that a much lower 5 percent concentration of SAP (which is the amount present in the Vita C GOLD) for example, could have sufficient potency for similar if not stronger efficacy than more concentrated raw L-Ascorbic formulations, whilst avoiding the pitfalls of potential irritation from high concentrations.

In fact, studies have shown that a mere 1 percent concentration of SAP has strong antimicrobial efficacy against Cutibacterium acnes. Also, one added benefit of the SAP is that skin cells are understood to continuously take up the SAP and convert it into ascorbic acid by the process of dephosphorylation. This continuous process allows elevated levels of ascorbic acid to be maintained in the skin for considerable lengths of time after the initial introduction of SAP, to deliver more sustained benefits to the skin.

Vitamin C Serums Comparison - L-Ascorbic Acid vs SAP

Frequently Asked Questions

How to use vitamin C serum?

Serums are regarded as leave-on skincare products (as opposed to wash-off i.e. facial cleansers or gel masks), so they can be applied directly and left on skin. For optimal absorption, applying on clean skin is recommended. 

Here is Dr.TWL’s recommended method to optimise absorption:

  1. Massage your skin with a Jade roller for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Apply 3 drops after cleansing to damp  skin 
  3. Use fingertips to pat in excess

When to use vitamin C serum?

Incorporate serums as the step right after cleansing. Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid are the two essential serums recommended by dermatologists in your skincare routine. It is important to apply it on clean, slightly damp skin. Right after cleansing as damp skin increases absorption of skincare actives. Unlike actives like retinol, you can use vitamin C both in your day and night skincare routine as it generally does not increase sun sensitivity. Follow with your facial essence and moisturiser right after application of serums and finish with sunscreen for your day skincare routine. 

Is it okay to use vitamin C serum everyday?

Yes. In fact it is recommended as an essential step both in the day and night skincare routine to improve the antioxidant reserve of skin. This directly enhances skin resilience, which means skin is better able to handle stressors and repair damaged skin cells. 

Which is the best vitamin C serum?

The ideal vitamin C serum should fulfil the following criteria

  • Non-sensitising (reduced acidity)
  • Balanced with barrier repair actives like glycerin and other humectants
  • Highly stable and resistant to environmental oxidation 
  • Readily penetrates the epidermis and dermis where it converts to active form L-ascorbic acid for antioxidant effects
  • Non-sticky residue
  • Ideally paired with camellia sinesis (green tea) which is synergistic and increases antioxidant capacity 

Who should not use vitamin C serum?

Everyone can benefit from a well-formulated vitamin C serum. The point really should be that no one should use a poorly formulated vitamin C serum—one that is unstable, too acidic or one that frankly has already oxidised and will not work at all. However, if you are having an active flare-up of eczema/any sensitive skin condition, it is advisable to hold off vitamin C until your condition has stabilised and to use a dermatologist-recommended formulation suitable for your skin type. Vitamin C serums should also not be applied directly on areas of raw, broken skin. It however, can be applied to inflamed acne bumps and cysts as it has an anti-inflammatory effect. 

How to choose the best vitamin C serum for oily skin?

Oily skin generally tolerates all types of vitamin C well. Use of a vitamin C active calms oxidative stress caused by excess sebum production. The ideal vitamin C formulation should also include companion ingredients that synergise with the active.

The Vita C Gold Serum contains Camellia Sinesis (green tea extract) which specifically boosts the antioxidant properties and improves stability of the vitamin C active delivered to the skin. 

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How to choose the best vitamin C serum for hyperpigmentation? 

The Vita C Gold serum contains a combination of botanicals that synergise to inhibit melanin production. The active form of vitamin C in our formulation is sodium ascorbyl phosphate, the environmentally most stable form of vitamin C. It is absorbed via the epidermis and via the enzyme phosphatase, it is converted into L-ascorbic acid which then exerts its effects in the deeper layers of skin.

How to choose the best vitamin C serum for over 50?

The over 50s must focus on correction and reversal of photoageing. If skin aging has already progressed and sun spots, textural irregularities have already appeared, the key may be to use prescription or laser therapy to achieve reversal in conjunction with a topical regimen. Home options for laser therapy-like results may include microcurrent, microdermabrasion, hydrodermabrasion and LED light therapy.  The Vita C Gold serum contains a botox-alternative which we know as oligopeptides that directly act on muscle junctions to relax fine lines and wrinkles. 

@drteowanlin When will my skin stop purging? I answer your acne purging questions in this video tutorial. For more get my skincare blueprint 👆🏻 How to treat purging skin Skin purging process How to stop skin purging Skin purging vs breaking out Dealing with purging Acne purging phase acne purging cause acne purging experience acne purging should heal acne after purging tretinoin results What does purging look like #acnepurging #acnetreatment #acneskin #tiktoksg🇸🇬 #sgtiktok #sgdoctor #learningisfun #learnontiktok #dermatologist ♬ original sound - Dermatologist Dr.TWL

How to choose the best vitamin C serum for dry skin? 

Dry skin is characterised by impaired skin barrier function. This means that L-ascorbic acid based vitamin C serums can irritate skin, due to its acidity. The Vita C Gold serum is based on a neutral salt compound of vitamin C or what we know as sodium ascorbyl phosphate, which firstly is highly stable in the atmosphere. When L-ascorbic acid is exposed to environmental oxygen, it degrades rapidly. Not so with SAP, which is the key benefit of Dr.TWL’s pharmacy formula.

SAP is also gentle on sensitive, dry skin, as it does not have the acidity associated with L-ascorbic acid. Furthermore, it requires a much lower concentration as there is no wastage via environmental oxidation. Higher concentrations are used in L-ascorbic acid formulations due to expectations of compound instability when exposed to oxygen in the air. Since SAP penetrates the epidermis first before it is converted to L-ascorbic acid which is the active form, there is minimal to no risk of loss of concentration or efficacy unlike pure L-ascorbic acid formulations. 

How to choose the best vitamin C serum for sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin may be different from dry skin—not all sensitive skin types are dry. For instance, those with reactive skin i.e. rosacea or even severe cystic acne may react to environmental changes. However, the skin barrier may not actually be impaired in these conditions. Sensitive skin may experience stinging and pain when L-ascorbic acid is applied on skin, due to its acidic nature. It is best to opt for SAP or MAP formula (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate). 

Ideal Vitamin C serum for sensitive skin

  • stabilized
  • dermatologist-tested 
  • formulated at concentrations no more than 5% 

Safety considerations

  • type and concentration of Vitamin C in topical formulations
  • do not concoct your own Vitamin C ie citrus juice causes phytophotodermatitis

Best Vitamin C Serum Dermatologist Recommended

Which derivative is best suited for sensitive and sensitised skin, as well as those who are new to using actives?

I would recommend the use of stabilized Vitamin C, dermatologist-tested and formulated at concentrations no more than 5% to avoid potential irritation to sensitive skin individuals.

In your opinion, who should use vitamin C in their skincare routine, and who should avoid it? How should we incorporate vitamin C into our routines, for maximum efficacy and safety?

In general, Vitamin C, being a powerful antioxidant and essential nutrient that helps drive cellular repair and wound healing in the human body, is suitable in any skincare routine, much like a healthy diet being suitable for anyone. However, for sensitive skin individuals especially, it is important to discern the type and concentration of Vitamin C used in topical formulations, and do also look out for dermatologist-tested and formulated labels for added assurance. Avoid concocting your own Vitamin C, as it may lead to phytophotodermatitis – inflammation of the skin from contact with light sensitizing botanicals followed by sunlight exposure, which is somewhat common with patients who DIY using lemon, lime or oranges etc.

On top of the use of stabilized Vitamin C, my patients also often opt for a lightweight moisturising emulsion (oil-in-water for a comfortable texture in humid climates) – the Radiance Fluide Hydrating Emulation, which is imbued with an added mix of antioxidants and plant extracts that help to augment the anti-aging effects of Vitamin C, via hydration to the skin and a boost to collagen production. Above all, however, I can’t stress enough the importance of a healthy balanced diet (which includes consumption of dietary Vitamin C) and regular exercise to maintain healthy youthful skin.

Skincare Bible

In the Skincare Bible, Dr.TWL takes you through a complete study of cosmeceutical actives like vitamin c, hyaluronic acid in an easy-to-read FAQ style.

Summary

In this tutorial, we’ve covered the following: 

  • How to choose the best vitamin C serum for different skin types 
  • How vitamin C can suppress inflammation, improve acne and oily skin
  • The advantages of sodium ascorbyl phosphate over L-ascorbic acid formulations

Ingredient Spotlight 

L-Ascorbic Acid or Vitamin C is required by our bodies to produce collagen, making this vitamin crucial for anti-ageing. Think of it as an anti-ageing shield your skin needs to reduce the damage your skin suffered, and also to prevent future damage. The vitamin forms cofactors of enzymes that augment the stability of collagen fibers. It also increases expression of collagen and synthesizes inhibitors to block enzymes from degrading collagen, thereby contributing to the treatment of wrinkles – which are frequently caused by the loss of collagen and skin elasticity with age.

In addition, Vitamin C plays an important role in skin-lightening as it inhibits an enzyme called tyrosinase which participates in the metabolism of melanin that causes pigmentation on skin. This enzyme works by converting tyrosine into melanin, so by reducing the activity of tyrosinase, our skin cells inadvertently produce less melanin. Furthermore, topical Vitamin C can help improve  conditions by combating oxidation of sebum and comedogenesis (also commonly referred to as the clogging of pores), by its sheer potent antioxidative strength to neutralise free radicals  and reduce oxidative stress. This neutralisation of free radicals also protects the individual from UV light exposure, which may lead to photodamage such as via sunburn cell formation and DNA fragmentation.

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