Of the thousands and thousands of Vitamin C Serum bottles our company has sold, we have been contacted by a handful of customers that experienced breakouts when using the serum. The rapid multiplication of the p-acnes bacteria causes an inflammatory response. The skin becomes stripped and imbalanced. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, "many people over age 50 lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from foods," and weight-loss surgery can cause the same problem. As vitamin C is one of the most potent antioxidants and is essential for skin health, it is particularly highlighted as a potential anti-acne treatment. If this were true, then a potent antioxidant serum, such as a vitamin C serum, may actually make acne worse by neutralizing the ROS that are keeping the p-acnes bacteria under control. Use left/right arrows to navigate the slideshow or swipe left/right if using a mobile device. The ability of topical vitamin C to reduce inflammation and erythema suggests that it would help improve the appearance of acne. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 104, 144-164. Kameyama, K., Sakai, C., Kondoh, S. et al. Since antioxidants, such as vitamin C, neutralize ROS, they may inhibit these protective effects and could cause an increase in the p-acnes bacteria. ROS is needed for normal, healthy function, from cell proliferation to keeping bacterial pathogen away. Vitamin C can be found in a number of foods you consume on a daily basis. Too much ROS can lead to cell death and tumor formation. ... the higher likelihood it may cause a problem for those with extremely problematic skin like myself. The negative of ROS wasn’t interesting, what was interesting was a side buried in the introduction: The positive of ROS. The Journal of pathology, 229(2), 323-331. Fang, F. C. (2011). The microbiome can get disrupted by raising skin’s pH (through use of foaming and/or alkaline cleansers), by introducing an inflammatory agent to the skin (essential oils or fragrance), by mechanically damaging the skin (such as with a scrub, microdermabrasion, dermarolling, etc), all of which is well known. The authors of the aforementioned study identify two different mechanisms by which vitamin C may exert its effects on acne. Maybe not now, but certainly over time. Probably the most dramatic effect of taking a vitamin C supplement if you have acne is clearing up the redness in your skin. The microbiome in wound repair and tissue fibrosis. This can happen: Your vitamin C serum irritating skin and causing inflammation. However, lower concentrations may be effective for inflammatory skin conditions such as acne. Vitamin C serums are acidic, which means they slough away dead cells from the skins surface leaving it brighter and smoother. For those of you looking to actively treat acne, look for vitamin C serums with sodium ascorbyl phosphate, as this was the form of vitamin C used in the research study mentioned earlier. The killing of healthy ROS and creating unhealthy ROS reminds me of when people use scrubs, face brushes and/or harsh cleansers on their skin and get acne as a result: You scrub off the healthy, balanced oil that your skin produced. No, vitamin C serums cannot cause acne. What is important to note is the term excess, and how this relates to vitamin C serums. Woolery-Lloyd, H., Baumann, L. & Ikeno, H. (2010). Fang, F. (2011). Once I stopped listening to the fads and started taking a pragmatic and empirical approach to skin care, my acne disappeared and clear skin took its place. Last week I had the honor of sitting on a scholarship panel for the University of California, Irvine medical school. Can You Use Vitamin C and Retinol Together? Try this serum as a spot treatment by applying it directly to post acne marks, allow the serum … Darr, D., Combs, S., Dunston, S., Manning, T. & Pinnell, S. (1992). And this is important in the context of skin care. Collagen production decreases as we naturally age and the rate at which it decreases is drastically enhanced when the skin experiences large and cumulative amounts of UV exposure. Do you have oily acne-prone skin that can break out if you so much as sniff a new skincare product? Most people … Farris, P. (2006). This was the first Vitamin C serum that I’ve tried and it seems to be breaking me out. However, other antioxidant serums have more evidence to back up their anti-acne effects and may be a better investment. Furthermore, if ROS were found to have antimicrobial effects on the p-acnes bacteria, it is not known what amount of antioxidant would unbalance the ROS-Antioxidant equilibrium in order to affect this. ‘Topical vitamin C and the skin: mechanisms of action and clinical applications’. This ROS-Antioxidant balance also has implications for acne-prone skin. The breakouts can happen due to the base of the Vitamin C serum. Cells in the body seem to require a specific balance of both antioxidants and ROS in order to function optimally. This means that instead of neutralizing free radicals, it will act as a free radical itself and begin to damage skin cells. So if you used a vitamin C serum and it gave you acne, redness or any other skin issue, it is because the serum took away your body’s ability to fight off bacteria, and weakened it, … A red flag for noticing if a product is actually irritating you and not just purging is if you're noticing pimples somewhere that you normally don't break out. One cause of acne breakouts is free radicals because they are known to cause skin inflammation which traps dirt and bacteria in pores and cause acne to occur. It is unlikely that vitamin C serums will cause acne. In fact, it may even help treat it faster! That means exfoliation, light and natural serums, and gentle cleansing. The Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum also contains the very effective vitamin C + vitamin E + ferulic acid combination at a fraction of the price of SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. Most on the market contain the L-ascorbic form, which turns brown. Your skin has a delicate microbiome of healthy bacteria that maintains a proper balance necessary for a disease-free environment. 2 Common Myths Busted! Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory, and a vitamin C serum can both help clear up acne and reduce the redness associated with it—as well as improve skin texture. Reactive oxygen species and cancer paradox: to promote or to suppress?. Some people do experience acne breakouts when first beginning to use a Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C Serum. Are you looking to incorporate a vitamin C serum into your skincare routine but worried that it will break you out? There is relatively little research specifically investigating the effect of topical vitamin C on acne. (2013). Source: Galadari, S., Rahman, A., Pallichankandy, S., & Thayyullathil, F. (2017). Vitamin C has an excellent safety profile. Vitamin C is the most abundant antioxidant in the skin and is essential for the production of collagen. Too much vitamin C actually causes acne flare-ups especially on serums. For example, multiple research studies have demonstrated that cancer cells have a greater level of ROS than normal cells – highlighting the role of ROS in tumor formation. Skincare (like everything else in life) is NOT black and white. Altogether, this suggests that antioxidants may be an effective treatment for acne, both by reducing inflammation and by targeting ROS. Or does vitamin C serum cause acne? ‘Sodium L-ascorbyl-2-phosphate 5% lotion for the treatment of acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial’. But keep eating them because of their vitamin content, low calories, fiber and other qualities that more likely contribute to longevity other than their antioxidant content. MBio, 2(5). Are reactive oxygen species always detrimental to pathogens?. However, lower concentrations may be effective for inflammatory skin conditions such as acne [2]. Source: Zhang FQ, Wang YS, Lou ZP, JunDe Dong JD (2007). (2013). This is due to the fact that vitamin C inhibits the main enzyme involved in the production of melanin, thereby decreasing melanin production [4]. Antioxidants & redox signaling, 20(6), 1000-1037. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 136(2), 750-757. Vitamin C serums are clumsy in their formulation. Antimicrobial actions of reactive oxygen species. Individuals with acne have a higher concentration of skin surface lipids that when oxidized are highly comedogenic and antioxidants may prevent this oxidizing effect, thereby preventing comedogenesis. Vitamin C products can certainly cause purging - this has happened to me with some vitamin C products as well, although not DE's Day Serum in particular. But this time the oil is inflammatory, and your skin has all the hallmarks of acne: redness, closed comedones etc. When antioxidants are in oils and extracts, they are diluted and in low concentrations. All content, including, but not limited to, text, images, links, and other material does not constitute medical or other professional advice, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No good tho. However, I believe we should consider adding one more to the list of skin damaging agents. The cause of these breakouts are due to the fact that vitamin c brings dirt and oil that is in your skin’s pores to the surface, which can result in an acne breakout or two until the pores are completely cleared out. There are a number of different active forms of vitamin C but the most biologically active and well-studied is L-ascorbic acid. The dead skin cells block the hair follicle and trap the oil inside. One that has long been hailed as a panacea of human disease and considered a hero of skin care: antioxidants. Because, no matter how good it’s for anti-aging, you don’t want to replace wrinkles with pimples… Here’s what we know. Scales, B. S., & Huffnagle, G. B. In addition, vitamin C serums seem to be more effective with the addition of vitamin E and ferulic acid. Journal of bacteriology, 191(14), 4605-4614. ‘Inhibitory effect of magnesium L-ascorbyl-2-phosphate (VC-PMG) on melanogenesis in vitro and in vivo’, Galadari, S., Rahman, A., Pallichankandy, S. & Thayyullathil, F (2017). As one of the main causes of acne is inflammation, it is highly likely that vitamin C serums can help improve the appearance of acne. Hébrard, M., Viala, J. P., Méresse, S., Barras, F., & Aussel, L. (2009). “Due to … Haywood, R., Wardman, P., Sanders, R. & Linge, C. (2003). Vitamin C for Acne: Why Vitamin C for Skin? For this reason, topical application of cosmetics containing vitamin C, such as vitamin C serums, are required to maintain sufficient skin levels of vitamin C [2]. ‘Sunscreens inadequately protect against ultraviolet-A-induced free radicals in skin: implications for skin aging and melanoma?’. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate Product Recommendations: Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum, Viola Vitamin C Serum. This is because there is some evidence to suggest that ROS have antimicrobial effects, However, this research is very limited and it is not known whether the p-acnes bacteria is affected by ROS-antimicrobial activity (research seems to be focussed on the, Plenty of research has demonstrated that Vitamin C has potent anti-inflammatory effects, There is relatively little research specifically investigating the effect of topical vitamin C on acne. However, it appears that ROS at high levels can have tumor-suppressing effects and can destroy cancer cells and antioxidants impede this process [5]. Your email address will not be published. Vitamin C has potent anti-inflammatory effects, mainly due to its antioxidant activity. By targeting inflammation, vitamin C may not prevent breakouts as there is no evidence to suggest that it reduces oil production or p-acnes proliferation. ROS and antioxidants have a healthy equilibrium in the body. I knew that it was because vitamin C serums broke the skin down because they discharged ROS due to their oxygenating effect in the skin. One of the main arguments leveled against vitamin C is that it acts as a pro-oxidant. Vitamin C serums are a product born of clever marketing, the misrepresentation of results, and profitable conflicts of interest. Does Yogurt Cause Acne? Hypervitaminosis A, which results from too much vitamin A in the body, is a toxicity that can negatively impact your health. Furthermore, higher antioxidant levels in cells are associated with lower ROS levels. Unfortunately, even with the correct application, sunscreens can only block 55% of the free radicals produced by UV exposure, Even with extremely high doses of vitamin C, only a small amount will be available to the skin. Read More. This kind of free radical is … It turns out that it may not be as simple as ROS = bad, Antioxidants = good. You want to boost collagen production in order to improve fine lines and wrinkles. There’s certainly no law against using vitamin C products in … For this reason, topical application of cosmetics containing vitamin C, such as vitamin C serums, are required to maintain sufficient skin levels of vitamin C, Topical vitamin C formulations have also been shown to be as effective as topical hydroquinone therapy at reducing hyperpigmentation. Skin-Care Tips In this case, they assist with anti-inflammatory action and have skin health benefits. He, W., Kim, H. K., Wamer, W. G., Melka, D., Callahan, J. H., & Yin, J. J. I believe that less is always more in skin care and that we shouldn’t go for quick fixes, fall for marketing hogwash, or bathe in pseudoscientific snake oil. ‘Effect of topical vitamin C on postoperative carbon dioxide laser resurfacing erythema’. However, L-ascorbic acid is unstable and has limited penetration. Basically, you may be considering introducing a vitamin C serum into your skincare routine if: But is vitamin C serum good for acne-prone skin or does vitamin c serum cause acne? ‘A double-blind randomized trial of 5% ascorbic acid vs. 4% hydroquinone in melasma’. Jaros, A., Zasada, M., Budzisz, E., Debowska, R., Gebczynska-Rzepka, M. & Rotsztejn, H. (2018). This vitamin C serum is a cult-favorite for good reason. Like mentioned above, Vitamin C products can be very unstable and lose its effectiveness quickly. Related Reading: The Best Mineral Sunscreens With Antioxidants. The Best Mineral Sunscreens With Antioxidants, other antioxidant serums have more evidence to back up their anti-acne effects, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14632206, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605218/#B3, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15304189/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8543691/, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891584917300035, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3171981/, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1524-4725.2005.31725, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2133.1992.tb00122.x, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9537007, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jocd.12562, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20367669. In vitamin C serums. She has experience in plastic and reconstructive surgery, dermatology, and aesthetics and has received training in laser treatments. Post Inflammatory Erythema: 12 Effective Treatment Options. Furthermore, higher antioxidant levels in cells are associated with lower ROS levels. I don't have marks that are skin deep and cause pits on my skin * Touchwood * However, they are visible on the skin as brown spots. Acne Diet Myths & Facts. This can cause problems for acne prone and sensitive skin. Skin experts break down what the adverse reactions mean, and what you can do. Paiva, C. N., & Bozza, M. T. (2014). (2004). There is some evidence to suggest that using a vitamin C serum may make the skin more vulnerable to bacteria. You want to prevent the breakdown of existing collagen. Vitamin C Serum is one of the most effective serums on the market because they provide several skin benefits that including treating acne and reducing acne scars. Science can’t explain why. You May Also Be Interested In: Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum Review. ‘Topical vitamin C: A useful agent for treating photoaging and other dermatologic conditions’. This means that when there is an overproduction of oil the p-acnes bacteria are able to rapidly multiply. Can Vitamin C Serum Make You Breakout? In fact, a number of sunscreens are formulated with antioxidants for this exact reason. I use Cerave’s hydrating cleanser and the Hada Labo lotion. A review of vitamin B12 in dermatology. Here’s why Vitamin D supplements can cause acne: the first key reason is that Vitamin D stimulates testosterone, which is the primary hormone that aggravates hormonal acne. Vitamin C serums are excess that you are imposing on your body and you will disrupt your skin by using them. Galadari, S., Rahman, A., Pallichankandy, S., & Thayyullathil, F. (2017). In fact, this topical vitamin C formulation was the first to be clinically proven. Beautycounter’s vitamin C serum is a blend of two ultra-stable forms of vitamin C. If you’re currently using a Vitamin C product, check to see what form of Vitamin C it contains. Concentrations of more than 20% offer no increase in effectiveness but may increase irritation and concentrations of less than 8% are too low to offer any significant antioxidant effects. Vitamin C serums are not a product born of scientific research and rigorous methodology and experimentation. Statements made herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. However, this research is very limited and it is not known whether the p-acnes bacteria is affected by ROS-antimicrobial activity (research seems to be focussed on the Salmonella enterica bacteria). Can you recommend some good Vitamin C serums for fading acne marks? The cancer aspect of this paper was not interesting, nor was it novel. Planta (2010) 231: 461. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-009-1067-3. And coupled by the fact that the vitamin is in isolated form in your serum means you are getting too much to be good for you. This is something I have done for two years, and it is an excellent opportunity, not just to provide funding for great research, but to learn of what new biological research is being conducted. The addition of ferulic acid to L-ascorbic acid improves the stability of the vitamin C serum and reduces the acidity to a pH of below 3.5. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum Review: A Natural Acne Fighting Solution. You want to help protect your skin against UV damage and enhance the protective effects of your sunscreen. The issue of vitamin C serums and their damaging effect on skin is much more complicated than I originally thought. et al. This means that it needs to be formulated in a way that provides stability and permeability. As mentioned earlier, inflammation is one of the main causes of acne and causes the body to elicit an immune response. In theory, this would mean that ROS may actually help prevent acne by preventing the overgrowth of the p-acnes bacteria. Therefore, I look forward to such panels because I am able to read current research as it is developing, and often this is research I would never get the chance to explore on my own time. This is because there is some evidence to suggest that ROS have antimicrobial effects [6]. One research paper that I was to assess for the scholarship was the research of a MD/PhD student who was exploring reactive oxygen species (ROS) and how they are regulated by a certain protein. Some Vitamin C serums contain ingredients such as Ferulic acid to keep the Vitamin C stable for a longer period. First and foremost, I hate to break it to any antioxidant fanatics out there, but the free radical theory of aging is not law in biology. I believe in tried and true methodology and taking a scientific, modern take on long-held skin care practices. And yet, many of my clients with oily, acne-prone skin complain their acne got worse after introducing a Vitamin C serum into their skincare routine. This means that it can help prevent premature aging and skin cancers that are due to sun exposure (photoaging). It helps to repair your skin and it also supports tissue … Let’s explore the research behind vitamin C serums in order to answer these questions. Keep in mind, if you have acne, applying Vitamin C to active breakouts can cause irritation. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, co-exist to protect the skin from free radicals, including reactive oxygen species (ROS), that are formed when skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. However, one study found that the topical application of 5% sodium-L-ascorbyl-2-phosphate, a vitamin C derivative, over 12 weeks reduced the number of acne lesions in 61-71% of subjects (observer ratings vs subject ratings), One way of achieving this is to reduce the acidity of L-ascorbic acid to a pH of less than 3.5, Vitamin C works best at a concentration of 8-20%. This website is intended for informational and/or educational purposes only. Their oxygenating effect creates ROS in the skin which breaks the skin down, creating inflammation, and leading increased susceptibility to pathogenic infection. This means that topical antioxidants should be used in addition to sunscreens to provide protection against free radical damage. Their antioxidant effect destroys the healthy ROS created by the body to prevent bacterial infection. Though numerous foods and supplements contain vitamin C, keep in mind that skin care products formulated with this vitamin are more likely to aid … When too much ROS is produced, disease can occur. Vitamin C sources There are a number of ways to get vitamin C to help clear-up and prevent the formation of cystic acne. In addition to brightening your complexion, it gently exfoliates and sloughs off dead skin without causing irritation. Vitamin B12 has been implicated in its ability to cause acne when in excess in the body, however this has been noted for injections of the vitamin, and not when topically applied. Arguably the ‘holy grail’ of vitamin C serums is SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. In addition, vitamin C can improve facial erythema which is often a concern in acne and post inflammatory erythema. Vitamin A does not cause acne, but too much of it actually can worsen some conditions. Too much ROS, of course, is a bad thing, as the scholarship applicant’s research (and many others) have supported, but the regulated amount of ROS naturally produced by the body is needed to prevent bacterial, fungal and other pathogenic invasion from infecting the body. So do antioxidants in skin care actually have any benefit? The oils and extracts themselves contribute to skin health because of their vitamin and mineral content, their fatty acid composition (for oils), and other factors that assist with maintaining the skin’s healthy balance. So if you used a vitamin C serum and it gave you acne, redness or any other skin issue, it is because the serum took away your body’s ability to fight off bacteria, and weakened it, inviting pathogens to infect your skin. However, this research is complex and is based on the observation that low levels of ROS may actually have protective effects, including antimicrobial activity. The rate of skin cell turnover is reduced causing a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. So, the biggest vitamin C serum benefit for skin, then, is its potent antioxidant effects. For example, a 5% concentration of a vitamin C derivative significantly improved the appearance of acne in the study mentioned earlier [11]. But does Vitamin C cause acne? Redundant hydrogen peroxide scavengers contribute to Salmonella virulence and oxidative stress resistance. Biology is a vast field and even if I were to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week reading, I could not even begin to scratch the surface of any developed field in less than 1 years time. It has been well researched in a mountain of studies that ROS can lead to cancer. They do not disrupt skin’s microbiome and do not interfere with ROS doing its job of keeping bacterial pathogens away. You can also obtain vitamin C through a supplement. As we mentioned in the introduction, ... As always, if you're using a topical treatment, such as a cream or a serum, it is important to perform a patch test before using it. Vitamin D supplements cause hormonal acne in almost everyone who is acne-prone, and even in those who weren’t previously struggling with acne. The biggest criticism regarding vitamin C serums for acne-prone skin is down to their potent antioxidant effects. The vast majority of serums have a haphazard and dubious amount of the vitamin in the serum, formulated by no scientifically justifiable standards (the presence of vitamin C itself in a topical product to up-regulate collagen is not scientifically justified). However, one study found that the topical application of 5% sodium-L-ascorbyl-2-phosphate, a vitamin C derivative, over 12 weeks reduced the number of acne lesions in 61-71% of subjects (observer ratings vs subject ratings) [11]. Is vitamin C good for acne-prone skin? Laura is currently working in healthcare education and writes for ScienceBecomesHer in her spare time. Vitamin C serums are one of those fad products that I hope will disappear with time, and I am certain that we will see adult acne disappear with it too. However, vitamin C serums can treat existing acne breakouts by reducing redness and inflammation and improving the overall appearance of acne. (1996). Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh. However, this research is complex and is based on the observation that low levels of ROS may actually have protective effects, including antimicrobial activity. There is some evidence to suggest that using a vitamin C serum may make the skin more vulnerable to bacteria. Lately my research has been focused on skin care-related biology, which means I have tunnel vision and seldom get to venture out into other areas of scientific progress. The 5-Step Glossier Skincare Regimen For Acne-Prone Skin | Pinkermann. Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid Together = Super Skin Hydration. I know this cause I made such serum, like above 20% of net weight, when I applied it upon my facial skin, the little tiny acne popped up in just one night, I wondered why, apparently that's cause of the vitamin c powder I dilluted in the serum mix. However, like anything, too much of something can be unhealthy. & Castanedo-Cazares, J. Espinal-Perez, L., Moncada, B. So far, so good. When used consistently, vitamin C serums can make scars as a result of acne less pronounced. Unfortunately, even with the correct application, sunscreens can only block 55% of the free radicals produced by UV exposure [1]. The ideal vitamin C serum would contain L-ascorbic acid, have a concentration of 8-20%, and a pH of less than 3.5. What Should I Look For In A Vitamin C Serum? Vitamin C serum can and will act as a pro-oxidant, causing skin damage. It is a bottle whose exterior is cloaked in the trustworthy guise of science, and its contents a nostrum potion. However, it appears that ROS at high levels can have tumor-suppressing effects and can destroy cancer cells and antioxidants impede this process, This ROS-Antioxidant balance also has implications for acne-prone skin. Ever notice that vitamin … Yes and no. As mentioned earlier, antioxidants help to protect the skin against free radical damage by neutralizing them. Plenty of research has demonstrated that Vitamin C has potent anti-inflammatory effects [7]. Sickness can include acne, dermatitis, folliculitis, and many others. One way of achieving this is to reduce the acidity of L-ascorbic acid to a pH of less than 3.5 [2]. In addition, facial erythema was reduced by 21% after 6 weeks of daily topical vitamin C application [10]. Chemosphere 67:44–50. Antioxidants in skin care are bad when they are in concentrated form and disrupt the body’s natural ability to fight off bacteria. When are antioxidants in concentrated form? In fact, some research has demonstrated that topical vitamin C can reduce the number of acne lesions after 6 weeks of daily use. However, what I didn’t know at the time was how antioxidants, when in concentrated form can take away beneficial ROS, leading to bacterial infection. For example, multiple research studies have demonstrated that cancer cells have a greater level of ROS than normal cells – highlighting the role of ROS in tumor formation. Overall, though, there is not enough evidence to support the claims that vitamin C serums can cause acne.