Already have an account?
Get back to the

The Best Vitamin C Serums Recommended by Dermatologists

The Best Vitamin C Serums Recommended by Dermatologists

Branded content. Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.

Reviewed by Dr. Diana Rangaves, PharmD

The doctor is in with the best vitamin C serums that will help you glow from the inside out. With the best derm-recommended serums, people will be clutching their pearls and gasping in awe at your radiant skin.

This isn’t some sleazy article where we’re trying to peddle cut-rate products to swindle you and make a quick profit. No, no, fine friends. This is a list of the best vitamin C serums recommended by dermatologists.

We spoke to countless dermatologists who helped us test, experiment, and gather the best glow-boosting products for your skin. With derm-backed advice and recommendations, you’re well on your way to healthier, brighter skin.

1. Blu Atlas Vitamin C Serum

Blu Atlas Vitamin C Serum

With its own medical advisory board featuring three prominent dermatologists, it is no surprise that Blu Atlas’ Vitamin C Serum is one of the best vitamin C serums recommended by dermatologists.

As a clean beauty brand that prides itself on its naturally derived ingredients, it’s no wonder it’s so great for your skin. Backed by respected derms like Samantha Toerge, M.D., and Heidi Goodarzi, it’s a one-stop shop for healthier, more radiant skin.

Interested in the benefits of vitamin C serums? The powerful elixir can diminish wrinkles, speed up the skin’s natural healing process, minimize hyperpigmentation, protect against harmful sun damage, boost collagen, protect against pollution and free radicals, brighten your complexion, and even out your skin tone and texture.

Blu Atlas’ Vitamin C Serum is a clean beauty product. It’s vegan and free from harsh chemicals like parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and artificial fragrances. Clean skincare is vital to maintaining happy, healthy skin, and that’s where Blu Atlas thrives.

It works its magic for both men and women as a unisex product. Your dark spots and uneven skin tone don’t stand a chance. The Blu Atlas Vitamin C Serum is one of the best vitamin C serums, and we suspect you’ll love it even more than we do—and we already love it a whole heckin’ lot.

2. Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

Dear gentle beauty fiends. Are you ready for a magic show? Glow Recipe’s Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum is, in a word, sorcery. The bottle is magic, and so is the secret sauce inside. The formula fine-tunes the typical problems of vitamin C and its tricky absorption process and transforms it into a new revolutionary skincare product.

To create better-absorbing vitamin C, the brand mixed the water-soluble vitamin C with multiple oil layers to go deeper and further into the skin than ever before. It’s the final frontier, except for your skin.

After speaking with our expert derms, who said they’d definitely recommend this product, we are certain this is one of the best vitamin C serums on the market.

We’re reasonable people. We wouldn’t be this hyped up for nothing. As a derm-recommended serum, it can restore the skin while improving dark spots and redness, reducing irritation, and protecting your skin against free radical damage.

It’s one of the best vitamin C serums dermatologists recommend and can help radically improve those pesky dark spots. Also, did we mention the utterly fabulous packaging?

3. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid

Commanding a high price tag and a place in the heart of every derm from California to the Mississippi River and out to the East Coast, this is one of the most talked about vitamin C serums. SkinCeuticals 30ml bottle is close to two hundred dollars. So what makes it so well-loved? Let’s dive in.

Ideal for all skin types—including those with sensitivity or dryness—the combination of L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and ferulic acid makes your skin stop, drop, and roll. The serum is basically an instant boost for your skin.

The serum helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles, brightens your skin, and prevents damage from stressors like ozone pollution and UVA and UVB rays. With such a hefty price tag, you want to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Folks who use the serum and even some dermatologists claim that it’s liquid gold.

Level up your skincare routine with a luxury product that’s one of the best vitamin C serums recommended by dermatologists.

4. Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Be the boss of your own skin—or rather, the CEO—and fuel your brightest skin ever. It’s a derm-backed product many doctors recommend to their trickiest patients because it works as a vitamin C serum and a moisturizer.

Sometimes, following a complicated, multi-step routine is not in the cards. Whether you’ve got a busy family life or just a full work schedule, some folks need a vitamin C serum that does more than brighten the skin. Shrink your skincare routine with this vibrantly orange bottle that also makes your skin more vibrantly radiant.

First, wash your face like any self-respecting human, and then you can get to the good stuff. Pat your skin dry and apply a toner—if you use one. Now it’s time for a pump of Sunday Riley’s best-selling serum. Get a pea-sized amount of product, then gently massage it all over your face in small circular motions. If you’re following a morning skincare regimen, you should allow it to dry and layer it with a good SPF.

As one of the best vitamin C serums recommended by dermatologists, it can go a long way in helping you improve your skin.

5. Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic 15% Firm & Bright Serum

Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic 15% Firm & Bright Serum

This magic potion was created by a dermatologist, so we know it’s one of the top recommendations from other doctors. With rave reviews from patients, dermatologists, and everyone else under the sun, it’s no shocker that this little copper bottle made it so high on our list.

Once daily application is exactly what the doctor ordered. Key ingredients lactic acid, L-ascorbic acid, licorice, and alpha-tocopherol provide a range of benefits for your skin. Four to six drops completely cover your face and iron out fine lines and wrinkles, firm loose or saggy-looking skin, protect against sun aging, reduce hyperpigmentation, and give the skin a more naturally radiant look.

We love this derm-backed serum but don’t love the price tag. It’s almost a hundred dollars for a tiny bottle—but from what we hear, it’s worth the luxury price.


6. La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum

La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum

As a dermatologist-favorite brand, La Roche-Posay formulates a vitamin C serum that busts more than dull skin and fine lines. Men and women with oily or acne-prone skin often struggle to find their perfect match that improves the skin while treating acne symptoms and excess oil.

The Pure Vitamin C Serum is the perfect acne-cleaning solution because it’s made with classic ingredients and salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a game-changer for anyone dealing with excess oil. The ingredient works to naturally exfoliate the skin and clear out clogged pores while managing oil production.

If you want brighter, more radiant skin but deal with bumps and blemishes, you need a vitamin C serum that can do it all. Pure Vitamin C Face Serum is one fo the best vitamin C serums recommended by dermatologists for people who also contend with pesky acne and excess oil.


7. Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

Delicate, sensitive skin deserves love, too. That’s where products like Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum step in. With a lower concentration of vitamin C—10% to be exact—you don’t have to worry about irritating or stressing out the skin, which is why so many dermatologists love it.

The vegan, non-toxic formula is a targeted treatment focusing on dark spots, dullness, and uneven skin tones. Bringing together an impressive ingredient list like proprietary white shiitake mushroom extract and vitamin C, the serum delivers a well-rounded treatment that visibly improves and brightens the skin.

Of course, the liquid gold also improves fine lines and wrinkles and protects against sun damage. We give this calm, zucchini-green bottle an A+ for those with sensitive skin or extreme dryness.


8. Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum

Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum

Tatcha is a leader in high-quality skincare. With best-selling products like The Water Cream and The Rice Polish, Tatcha blends unique Japanese ingredients with common skincare saviors like AHAs.

Due to its multipurpose formula, Violet-C Brightening Serum is a well-loved, derm-recommended product. You need one to two pumps to cover your face with skin-boosting ingredients. Formulated with 20% vitamin C and Japanese beautyberry, it soaks into the skin to promote cellular turnover while brightening every inch.

Ten percent mild fruit AHAs make it a treat for oily or acne-prone skin. The nature-based ingredient dives into the pores to eliminate debris, eradicate dead skin cells, improve bumps and blemishes, and give your skin a more radiant look. For those curious about the mild fruit AHAs, they’re derived from fruit extracts like orange, lemon, hawthorn, lime, jujube, apple, and grapefruit.

While dermatologists recommend this formula due to its high concentration of vitamin C—which may be harsh for some skin types—the powerful formula helps with all kinds of issues. The potent liquid supports the evening out the skin tone, reduces dullness and dark spots, slow skin aging, and minimizes fine lines and wrinkles.


9. Herbivore NOVA 15% Vitamin C + Turmeric Brightening Serum

Herbivore NOVA 15% Vitamin C + Turmeric Brightening Serum 

Shock your skin with a neon yellow serum that uses potent ingredients to improve your skin rapidly. Herbivore’s NOVA brightening serum combines four superstar ingredients to provide all the skin-loving benefits that people love in a vitamin C serum.

The bright yellow liquid targets dark spots, dullness, and uneven skin tones and also offers a pick-me-up for aging skin. We heard great things from dermatologists recommending this fun, quirky serum to their patients. It’s a top recommendation for folks who want rapid results. With daily use, most people enjoy visible results within seven days.

Inside the derm-loved potion, you’ll find a cast of all-stars like 15% vitamin C THD, bearberry arbutin, Kakadu plum, and turmeric. These natural ingredients team up to give your skin the TLC it deserves.

All Herbivore products are made with safe, natural ingredients, and they always cut out harmful materials like parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, and petroleum. NOVA is one of the best vitamin C serums recommended by dermatologists and can help you reclaim your youthful glow.


10. Glossier Super Glow 

Glossier Super Glow

While this unassuming bottle may look more like children’s ibuprofen or a cute bottle of foundation, it’s actually a supercharged vitamin C serum. Glossier’s Super Glow harnesses a 5% vitamin C derivative and magnesium to illuminate and revitalize every square inch of your face.

This basic baddie doesn’t seem like a dermatologist-recommended bottle, does it? It’s super simple, a bit basic, and even—dare we say—boring. But that’s where you’d be wrong. Derms love it because it helps 90% of users get a healthy glow within two weeks, and 90% of testers said they had more energized skin in just eight weeks.

Work on your glow with this doctor-recommended charger for your skin that helps even out your skin tone, diminish dark spots and acne, and refresh your skin.


11. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum

As a leading luxury and clean beauty brand, Drunk Elephant is no stranger to accolades and awards. C-Firma Fresh Day Serum is a beloved, antioxidant-packed formula with two additional ingredients—alongside vitamin C—that transform your skin.

Ferulic acid and vitamin E team up with 15% vitamin C heartthrob to brighten your skin and even out your troubled complexion. Other ingredients include tocopherol, pumpkin ferment, pomegranate extract, chronocyclin, Indian gooseberry, and grape juice extract.

So why do so many dermatologists love it? Drunk Elephants throw out the harsh ingredients that irritate your skin and instead use naturally derived ingredients that are good for you.

You may have noticed something interesting about the product. It comes with two bottles. No, you don’t get two bottles of vitamin C serum. But, you get to be a witchy scientist and brew your potion. Before using it, combine the liquid serum with the powder and shake it up to activate the ingredients.

C-Firma Fresh Day Serum is a top-recommended product by dermatologists.


12. CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum

CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum 

Who doesn’t love an affordable self-care product that takes charge? Renewing Vitamin C Serum is one of our favorite dermatologist-developed serums. It comes at a super affordable price and offers incredible benefits for the skin.

You’ll find 10% pure L-ascorbic acid alongside ceramides and hyaluronic acid inside the slim tube. The unique combination of ingredients and MVE technology allows a slow release of hydration throughout the day, making it a champion for folks with dry or sensitive skin.

Just because it comes at an affordable price doesn’t mean it’s chock-full of harsh ingredients. It’s allergy-tested, non-comedogenic, and fragrance- and paraben-free. Dermatologists like Dr. Dustin Portela recommend CeraVe because it’s an “effective way to deliver active and beneficial ingredients to skin in a lightweight formulation.”

If you’re balling on a budget and want a trustworthy vitamin C serum, reach for CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum.

13. The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

The Ordinary likes to keep things simple, which is why so many doctors love it. Their vitamin C serum contains the ingredients listed in the product’s name, a 23% vitamin C suspension and 2% HA spheres. Which, in normal people’s terms, is just a high concentration of vitamin C and a dash of hyaluronic acid to rehydrate your skin.

Dermatologists recommend this simple suspension to folks who want a budget-friendly product that isn’t full of junk. Because it is a suspension, the texture differs from “normal” serums. Upon application, you may notice the oily base feels a bit gritty or granular. That is vitamin C powder that will absorb into your skin.

We do have a word of caution.Twenty-three percent vitamin C may be intense for some skin types, especially sensitive skin. If you are prone to sensitivity, speak to your dermatologist about how best to build your tolerance up before using this daily.


14. TruSkin Vitamin C Serum

TruSkin Vitamin C Serum

Maybe you’ve seen this trusty little bottle on Amazon, or your friend always keeps it stocked in her bathroom cabinet. TruSkin Vitamin C Serum has garnered a cult-like following, and some of its fan girls and boys are dermatologists.

The reason so many folks—including your local derm—love it? It’s ridiculously affordable and provides many of the same benefits as $100+ serums. If you’re short on cash and want something that will make a lasting impact, set aside one crisp Andrew Jackson to get your own bottle.

Build up your tolerance to the high concentration of vitamin C so you don’t stress out your skin. Ingredients like vitamin E and hyaluronic acid keep your skin hydrated and happy while the serum works its magic.

Even though this vitamin C serum is a low-budget pick, it can still improve your skin. It helps brighten, hydrate, even out the skin tone, and eliminate dullness.

The Complete Guide to Vitamin C Serums

We’re going shopping for top skincare products like vitamin C serum. This is a fully-submersible joy ride where we cover everything you need to know about vitamin C serum.

What Is Vitamin C Serum?

And more importantly, why are so many men and women using it? Vitamin C serums are gel-like or liquid self-care products that diminish dark spots and acne, slow down the aging process and sun damage, and minimize the appearance of wrinkles.

How to Choose a vitamin C Serum

Not all vitamin C serums are created equal. Arm yourself with a high-quality serum. Here are the top features to be aware of as you shop.

Choose your fighter

There are different forms of vitamin C, and you want to choose the best version that will give you the glow-up you’re dreaming of.

The best version of vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid. It’s a natural compound derived from sources like fruits and vegetables. Pick a formula with 10% to 20% L-ascorbic acid serum for the best results. Also, be sure that the acid is among the top five ingredients on the list.

Check the packaging

Vitamin C products are a fickle friend. The packaging must be just right so your vitamin C doesn’t expire early or go bad. Vitamin C serums should come in a dark glass bottle with a medicine dropper delivery method.

Keep vitamin C bottles sealed and minimize their exposure to light, air, and heat, which can compromise their efficacy. These serums are notorious for spoiling. It should keep its yellow or orange color. It has likely gone bad if it changes into a dark orange or brown coloring.

Experts recommend storing vitamin C in the fridge to prolong shelf life.

Tips and Tricks for Vitamin C Serum

Don’t waste a single drop of your serum. We cover the top tips on how to get more from your serum and apply it correctly.

How to make your vitamin C serum more effective

Our best tip is to always slather up with your favorite SPF when using products like vitamin C and retinol.

How often should you apply vitamin C serum?

If you’re after brighter, healthier skin, then you should use it in your morning and evening skincare routine.

Twice daily application gives you the best chance of soaking in all the radical-fighting ingredients, but it will wear off throughout the day.

During your skincare routine, apply your product’s lightest to heaviest. This means your serum goes on after you use a cleanser and toner.

Always patch test

Skincare kittens, we have something important to tell you. You should always, and we really want to stress this, always patch test new products. Vitamin C serums can be incredibly harsh or irritating to your skin.

Patch tests are easy. Just clean a small area of skin—like the inside of your wrist—and then pat it dry. Apply your new vitamin C serum and check the spot for the next 24 hours to see how your skin reacts. If there are no changes, it’s likely safe to use on your face. If you notice any signs of irritation like redness, itchiness, flakiness, or bumpy, rough skin, it will most likely irritate your skin.

In a perfect world, you could stock up on testers for every vitamin C serum you think will be a perfect fit and patch-test it. Pro tip: Stores like Sephora and Ulta usually offer small sample products in-store and online. If you’re feeling bold, roll up to your local beauty store and ask for vitamin C serum samples.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does vitamin C serum expire?

Like other beauty products, vitamin C serum has an expiration date. If there isn’t a clearly stamped or printed date on the side or bottom of the packaging, you can check for signs it’s gone bad. A change in odor, color, texture, consistency, and effectiveness are all indicators your serum has expired. Vitamin C serums are notorious for degrading rapidly. So keep the bottle closed and airtight, which should reduce spoilage.

Should I use vitamin C serum before or after face moisturizer?

The best time to apply vitamin C serum during your skincare routine is after you use face wash and toner but before you use moisturizers, oils, or sunscreen. A general rule of skin care is to apply your products from lightest to heaviest, and it really depends on the molecule size. Applying thicker/heavier products on top—like oils and moisturizers—seals in that vitamin C serum and optimizes its benefits.

Are there side effects after using vitamin C serums?

Folks with dry or sensitive skin may notice signs of irritation after using vitamin C serums. When using these products, you should wear SPF or sunscreen because they increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Also, be careful when mixing them with retinol and other acids, like glycolic and lactic acids, because it can increase irritation and sensitivity.

Should I take a vitamin C supplement?

Taking a vitamin C supplement is a great idea if you lack vitamin C inside and out. It’s easily found in most multivitamins. A quick trip to your local pharmacy or grocery store should do the trick. You don’t need to buy a supplement that only has vitamin C as an ingredient. That’s unnecessarily pricey when most high-quality multivitamins already contain it.

What’s the best vitamin C serum recommended by dermatologists?

Aw shucks, we thought you’d never ask. Blu Atlas’ Vitamin C Serum is the best Vitamin C serum recommended by dermatologists. Get your glow back and restore youthful, healthy-looking skin with this skincare baddie. Keep your bottle in a cool, dark spot in your house and load up on it every morning and right before bed. Your skin will thank you for the clean, premium ingredients that sink into the skin to look healthier and more radiant.

Us Weekly partners with external contributors. All contributor content is reviewed by the Us Weekly editorial staff.

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!