Using A New Vitamin C Serum: For Sensitive Skin + Newbies

Monday September 4, 2023
Using A New Vitamin C Serum: For Sensitive Skin + Newbies

If you’re new to Vitamin C, leveling up your vitamin C, or if you have sensitive skin and want to introduce a powerful, clinically-proven vitamin C serum into your skincare routine, this blog post is for you.

I personally have sensitive skin, as do many of my patients. So, I know this is information that can empower so many people who want to include powerful actives in their daily skincare routine, but are either hesitant to start or have started and experienced an initial irritation response. When you’re starting a retinoid, you most likely expect to experience some purging or irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin. But, if you are starting to use a vitamin C serum—even though it’s a potent active—you might expect the transition to be seamless. It might be! But, even if it isn’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t tolerate a powerful vitamin C serum. Here's what you can expect when starting out, and how to set your skin up for success.

Step 1: Patch Test

When you open up a brand new vitamin C serum, the first thing you can consider is doing a patch test on your inner arm, or on one small spot on the side of your face or jawline. This will ensure that you don’t have any sort of allergy to the ingredients in your new vitamin C. Actually, I do this with every new product that I try. Leave it on for 24 hours, then rinse off. Try to keep the area dry, if possible. If you don’t experience redness, stinging, irritation or burning in that area, you can then proceed to using your new product as directed.

Step 2: Starting Out Slow

As with any skincare active, when it comes to incorporating your new vitamin C into your routine, it’s very helpful to start off slow and then build up. For example, you can begin by using it in the mornings only. Here is what my morning routine looks like with Asta C: cleanser, vitamin c, moisturizer, sunscreen.

Step 3: Dialing Up Recovery Nights

Once your skin is responding beautifully to your vitamin C Serum each morning, after 2 weeks or so, it may be time to kick up your usage to the next level. You can consider adding vitamin C also to your evening routine, first on your recovery nights. Here is how that would look: cleanser, vitamin C, moisturizer. 

Step 4: Dialing Up Exfoliation & Retinoid Nights

Once you’ve built up to mornings and recovery nights, it’s time to consider incorporating your vitamin C serum into your evening routine, even on nights when you use an exfoliating serum or retinoid. This only will work if you are using a non-irritating formulation with the newer vitamin C ingredients, like the ones we use in Asta C Vitamin C Age Defense Serum.

Note: If you try to layer one of the older vitamin C formulations made with L-ascorbic acid with an exfoliating serum or retinoid, it’s a recipe for a skin reaction. Even with the newer, less irritating forms of vitamin C, such as ​tetrahexyldecyl ​ascorbate​ and 3-​O-​ethyl ​ascorbic ​acid, it’s best to know that it works well with your skin over at least a month the way we described above before you start layering it with your other powerful actives. If that’s the case, check out my Derm Scribbles post on how to level up your vitamin C serum!

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