The best vitamin C serums - ranking, effects, which one to choose

Vitamin C serums brighten the skin, moisturise and add colour. We suggest which one to choose.

Ludwig Jelonek - AuthorAuthorLudwig Jelonek
Ludwig Jelonek - Author
AuthorLudwig Jelonek
Natu.Care Editor

Ludwik Jelonek is the author of more than 2,500 texts published on leading portals. His content has found its way into services such as Ostrovit and Kobieta Onet. At Natu.Care, Ludwik educates people in the most important area of life - health.

Learn more about our editorial process

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Julia Skrajda - Reviewed byReviewed byJulia Skrajda
Verified by an expert
Julia Skrajda - Reviewed by
Reviewed byJulia Skrajda
Clinical nutritionist

A clinical nutritionist, she works in the profession and creates personalised menus and recommendations for disease entities.

Learn more about our editorial process

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Michael Tomaszewski - Edited byEdited byMichael Tomaszewski
Michael Tomaszewski - Edited by
Edited by
Michael Tomaszewski
Editor

Graduate of Journalism and Artes Liberales at the University of Warsaw. Since 2017, he has been working with the biggest portals in Poland and abroad as an editor. Previously worked for 3 years in one of the leading pharmaceutical companies - he knows the health and beauty industry inside out. In his free time, he most enjoys playing tennis or skiing.

Learn more about our editorial process

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Julia Wysocka - Fact-checkingFact-checkingJulia Wysocka
Julia Wysocka - Fact-checking
Fact-checking
Julia Wysocka
Fact-checker

Julia Wysocka is in charge of verifying quoted sources and checking that published content is truthful.

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The best vitamin C serums - ranking, effects, which one to choose
29 April, 2024
10 min
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If your skin is constantly whimpering and moisturisers and anti-wrinkle creams can't calm it down - you've come to the right place. This vitamin C serum will hydrate your complexion, give it a radiant appearance and reduce hyperpigmentation. Plus, it is safe for most skin types and protects against oxidative damage.

10, 15, 20 minutes - and you're still standing in front of the cosmetics shelf wondering which one to choose... You're not the only one. Nowadays, the number of preparations in drugstores can be overwhelming. That's why we've put together an overview of the best vitamin C cheeses. We will also add some tips on the use and storage of this cosmetic.

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From this article you will learn:

  • How to choose a vitamin C serum and which products a cosmetologist recommends
  • .
  • What effects the use of vitamin C serums gives
  • .
  • How to correctly apply vitamin C serums and how to store them
  • .

See also:

How to choose a good vitamin C serum?

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When choosing a serum with vitamin C, there are four aspects to consider. Magister Cosmetology recommends looking particularly at the form and concentration of vitamin C. This should be matched to your skin type.

  • Form. The best vitamin C cosmetics are those that have Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate in the formulation. This is the most stable and most potent, and therefore the best form of vitamin C.
  • .
  • Concentration. It should be tailored to the skin. Most formulations have a concentration of between 10 and 20%. If you are just starting to use vitamin C serums, choose a lower concentration. After a longer time of applying the product, your tolerance to vitamin C will increase then you can bet on a stronger cosmetic. However, do not exceed the limit of around 20% - you may irritate your skin this way.
  • .
  • Additional ingredients. The best vitamin C sera have vitamin E (e.g. in the form of tocopherol) in their composition. Research suggests, that vitamin C in combination with vitamin E more effectively than alone prevents serum lipid oxidation.
  • Packaging. Store your vitamin C serum away from sunlight. Ensure that the product you choose has a bottle made of dark glass.
  • .
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The best and most effective, but also the most expensive, form of vitamin C is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate. This is a very stable form that shows low irritation potential and has deep skin penetration (even at lower concentrations). It will be suitable for people with all skin types. Similar characteristics are found in 3-0 Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, which is less expensive.
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Paulina Chylinska.

Paulina Chylinskamagister of cosmetology

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What are the characteristics of the different forms of vitamin C?

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Uff... The names of the different forms of vitamin C are reminiscent of a chemical nightmare from school days. I asked an MSc in cosmetology what some of the forms of vitamin C are characterised by.

  • Ascorbic acid (ascorbic acid). It will work best if you have oily, seborrhoeic and resistant skin.
  • Ascorbic acid (ascorbic acid).
  • INCI Ascorbic Acid. This is a form of ascorbic acid that will be unstable if you apply it during the day, as the sun's rays can degrade it. It will work well if you have oily or combination skin - but only if you do not have a disrupted hydrolipid barrier (the skin's protective layer).
  • INCI Ascorbyl Glucoside. It is milder than basic ascorbic acid, but is still recommended for those with resistant skin (oily or combination). The advantage of this form is its resistance to sunlight. You can use serums with this type of vitamin C both in the morning and in the evening.
  • .
  • Ascorbyl Palmitate. A form of vitamin C that is designed for people with sensitive skin. This form is much slower to penetrate the skin and has a gentler effect, so it should not irritate the skin.

Best vitamin C serums - ranking

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We have compiled a list of the best vitamin C serums together with a master cosmetologist. When selecting the preparations, we took into account the above-mentioned criteria.

Best serums with vitamin C.

The best serums with vitamin C are:

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  • VEOLI BOTANICA Skin discolouration pore tightening serum with Niacinamide and vitamin C FOCUS PIGMENTATION ESSENCE
  • .
  • Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
  • Frudia Citrus Brightening Serum
  • .
  • MISSHA Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule
  • Frudia Citrus Brightening Serum
  • .
  • MISSHA Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule

Overnight

VEOLI BOTANICA Skin discolouration serum to tighten pores with Niacinamide and Vitamin C FOCUS PIGMENTATION ESSENCE

VEOLI BOTANICA Skin discolouration serum to tighten pores with Niacinamide and Vitamin C FOCUS PIGMENTATION ESSENCE
4.7
  • Purpose: for mature, blemished, dry skin
  • .
  • Main ingredients: vitamin C, niacinamide, AHA acids 7%, Punarnava plant root extract 1.2%
  • .
  • Packaging: 30 ml
  • .
See price
in the Natu.Care shop
Product description

Intense discolouration-reducing serum with niacinamide and stable vitamin C. Recommended for anyone who wants to rejuvenate the skinóhand and reduce the appearance of discolouration on the complexion.

Pros and cons

Intense discolouration-reducing serum with niacinamide and stable vitamin C. Recommended for anyone who wants to rejuvenate the skinóhand and reduce the appearance of discolouration on the complexion.

Additional information

Intense discolouration-reducing serum with niacinamide and stable vitamin C. Recommended for anyone who wants to rejuvenate the skinóhand and reduce the appearance of discolouration on the complexion.

Antioxidant protection

Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
4.8
  • Major active ingredients: l-ascorbic acid (5%), orange and lavender oils, extracts of: aniseed, grapefruit, rhubarb, and extracts of: lotus flower, peony, baicalis root, tea and goldenseal. 
  • Purpose: for all skin types
  • .
  • Packaging: 35 ml
  • .
See price
in the Natu.Care shop
Product description

The Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop serum with vitamin C is based on natural ingredients and intensively moisturises, regenerates and refreshes the skin. It nourishes and visually rejuvenates the skin.

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Will even work well for sensitive skin. Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop Serum with Vitamin C will make the skin radiant, healthier, the tone will be even and the appearance of pores will be reduced.

Serum from Klairs will nourish and rejuvenate the skin.

Serum from Klairs is recommended for those new to such cosmetics. The five per cent concentration of vitamin C is safe for most of us.

Pros and cons

The Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop serum with vitamin C is based on natural ingredients and intensively moisturises, regenerates and refreshes the skin. It nourishes and visually rejuvenates the skin.

.

Will even work well for sensitive skin. Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop Serum with Vitamin C will make the skin radiant, healthier, the tone will be even and the appearance of pores will be reduced.

Serum from Klairs will nourish and rejuvenate the skin.

Serum from Klairs is recommended for those new to such cosmetics. The five per cent concentration of vitamin C is safe for most of us.

Additional information

The Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop serum with vitamin C is based on natural ingredients and intensively moisturises, regenerates and refreshes the skin. It nourishes and visually rejuvenates the skin.

.

Will even work well for sensitive skin. Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop Serum with Vitamin C will make the skin radiant, healthier, the tone will be even and the appearance of pores will be reduced.

Serum from Klairs will nourish and rejuvenate the skin.

Serum from Klairs is recommended for those new to such cosmetics. The five per cent concentration of vitamin C is safe for most of us.

Citrus scent

Frudia Citrus Brightening Serum

Frudia Citrus Brightening Serum
4.7
  • Purpose: skinóra mature, grey, discoloured
  • .
  • Major ingredients: Japanese mandarin extract, niacinamide, panthenol, pomegranate extract, grape seed oil
  • .
  • Packaging: 50 g
  • .
See price
in the Natu.Care shop
Product description

Brightening serum formulated with 71% citrusów extract. Thanks to its vitamin C content, the serum smooths and brightens the skinóhand, giving it a radiant glow. Oils and plant extracts revitalise the skinóhand, providing it with optimum hydration. 

Disappear greyness and enjoy a róeven tone all day long. Nutrients extracted using R Vita W technology retain their precious properties. 

Discover a wealth of mineralsós, vitamins and antioxidantsós in a serum to brightenós skin and restoreós healthy appearance.

Pros and cons

Brightening serum formulated with 71% citrusów extract. Thanks to its vitamin C content, the serum smooths and brightens the skinóhand, giving it a radiant glow. Oils and plant extracts revitalise the skinóhand, providing it with optimum hydration. 

Disappear greyness and enjoy a róeven tone all day long. Nutrients extracted using R Vita W technology retain their precious properties. 

Discover a wealth of mineralsós, vitamins and antioxidantsós in a serum to brightenós skin and restoreós healthy appearance.

Additional information

Brightening serum formulated with 71% citrusów extract. Thanks to its vitamin C content, the serum smooths and brightens the skinóhand, giving it a radiant glow. Oils and plant extracts revitalise the skinóhand, providing it with optimum hydration. 

Disappear greyness and enjoy a róeven tone all day long. Nutrients extracted using R Vita W technology retain their precious properties. 

Discover a wealth of mineralsós, vitamins and antioxidantsós in a serum to brightenós skin and restoreós healthy appearance.

Liposomes

MISSHA Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule

MISSHA Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule
4.8
  • Purpose: mature skin, prone to hyperpigmentation, lack of radiance
  • .
  • Major ingredients: vitamin C from sea buckthorn hydrolate, liquorice root extract, niacinamide, tranexamic acid, ceramides, peptides
  • Packaging: 30 ml
  • .
See price
in the Natu.Care shop
Product description

Missha Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule is a comprehensive product thatóry improves skin tone and nourishment. Formulated with vitamins, Vita C liposome formula and moisturising and protective ingredients, the serum reduces hyperpigmentation and firms the skin 

.

His gentle yet effective formula makes it ideal for daily use.

Pros and cons

Missha Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule is a comprehensive product thatóry improves skin tone and nourishment. Formulated with vitamins, Vita C liposome formula and moisturising and protective ingredients, the serum reduces hyperpigmentation and firms the skin 

.

His gentle yet effective formula makes it ideal for daily use.

Additional information

Missha Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule is a comprehensive product thatóry improves skin tone and nourishment. Formulated with vitamins, Vita C liposome formula and moisturising and protective ingredients, the serum reduces hyperpigmentation and firms the skin 

.

His gentle yet effective formula makes it ideal for daily use.

Citrus scent

Frudia Citrus Brightening Serum

Frudia Citrus Brightening Serum
4.7
  • Purpose: skinóra mature, grey, discoloured
  • .
  • Major ingredients: Japanese mandarin extract, niacinamide, panthenol, pomegranate extract, grape seed oil
  • .
  • Packaging: 50 g
  • .
See price
in the Natu.Care shop
Product description

Brightening serum formulated with 71% citrusów extract. Thanks to its vitamin C content, the serum smooths and brightens the skinóhand, giving it a radiant glow. Oils and plant extracts revitalise the skinóhand, providing it with optimum hydration. 

Disappear greyness and enjoy a róeven tone all day long. Nutrients extracted using R Vita W technology retain their precious properties. 

Discover a wealth of mineralsós, vitamins and antioxidantsós in a serum to brightenós skin and restoreós healthy appearance.

Pros and cons

Brightening serum formulated with 71% citrusów extract. Thanks to its vitamin C content, the serum smooths and brightens the skinóhand, giving it a radiant glow. Oils and plant extracts revitalise the skinóhand, providing it with optimum hydration. 

Disappear greyness and enjoy a róeven tone all day long. Nutrients extracted using R Vita W technology retain their precious properties. 

Discover a wealth of mineralsós, vitamins and antioxidantsós in a serum to brightenós skin and restoreós healthy appearance.

Additional information

Brightening serum formulated with 71% citrusów extract. Thanks to its vitamin C content, the serum smooths and brightens the skinóhand, giving it a radiant glow. Oils and plant extracts revitalise the skinóhand, providing it with optimum hydration. 

Disappear greyness and enjoy a róeven tone all day long. Nutrients extracted using R Vita W technology retain their precious properties. 

Discover a wealth of mineralsós, vitamins and antioxidantsós in a serum to brightenós skin and restoreós healthy appearance.

Liposomes

MISSHA Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule

MISSHA Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule
4.8
  • Purpose: mature skin, prone to hyperpigmentation, lack of radiance
  • .
  • Major ingredients: vitamin C from sea buckthorn hydrolate, liquorice root extract, niacinamide, tranexamic acid, ceramides, peptides
  • Packaging: 30 ml
  • .
See price
in the Natu.Care shop
Product description

Missha Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule is a comprehensive product thatóry improves skin tone and nourishment. Formulated with vitamins, Vita C liposome formula and moisturising and protective ingredients, the serum reduces hyperpigmentation and firms the skin 

.

His gentle yet effective formula makes it ideal for daily use.

Pros and cons

Missha Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule is a comprehensive product thatóry improves skin tone and nourishment. Formulated with vitamins, Vita C liposome formula and moisturising and protective ingredients, the serum reduces hyperpigmentation and firms the skin 

.

His gentle yet effective formula makes it ideal for daily use.

Additional information

Missha Vita C Plus Spot Correcting & Firming Ampoule is a comprehensive product thatóry improves skin tone and nourishment. Formulated with vitamins, Vita C liposome formula and moisturising and protective ingredients, the serum reduces hyperpigmentation and firms the skin 

.

His gentle yet effective formula makes it ideal for daily use.

See also:

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How to use a vitamin C serum

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  1. Diligently wash your face so that the vitamin C serum does not mix with impurities.
  2. Take a facial toner.
  3. Apply a toner - this will balance the pH of your skin and increase the effectiveness of the active ingredients in the serum.
  4. Apply a toner - this will balance the pH of your skin and increase the effectiveness of the active ingredients in the serum.
  5. Apply a vitamin C serum to the face, neck and décolleté.
  6. .
  7. Use a facial moisturiser to create a protective layer on your skin.
  8. .
  9. Apply screen cream - vitamin C serums can increase your skin's sensitivity to UV radiation.
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Tip

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Always check the expiry date of the product. If the product has changed colour, it is most likely that the vitamin C has oxidised. Although the product is safe to use, its use is no longer associated with the expected results.

When to apply vitamin C serum, morning or evening?

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Vitamin C serums are best applied in the morning. This allows the greatest benefits to be obtained from the use of this cosmetic. The serum should be applied after cleansing and toning the skin, but before applying moisturiser and sunscreen.

How to make sure that you are applying the serum in the morning?

How to make sure the product is not allergenic?

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Although vitamin C is very well tolerated by most people, all skincare products can cause irritation. That is why it is worth making sure that the preparation we buy will not harm us. How can you do this?

  1. Choose a small area of skin that you can easily conceal (e.g. your forearm).
  2. .
  3. Apply a small amount of facial serum to this area and wait for 24 hours.
  4. As soon as you are ready to use the serum, you can apply it to the area.
  5. If no side effects occur, you can apply the product to your face and décolleté. Otherwise (if irritation or rash develops), do not apply the specific vitamin C serum.
  6. There are no side effects.

How to make a vitamin C serum yourself?

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It is, despite appearances, quite simple. You only need three ingredients.

Ingredients:

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  • Powdered vitamin C - 1 teaspoon.
  • Powdered vitamin C - 1 teaspoon.
  • Aloe vera gel - 1 teaspoon.
  • Aloe vera gel - 1 teaspoon.
  • Distilled water - 1 tablespoon.
  • .

In addition to the basic three ingredients, vitamin E can also be added to the preparation. It will make the vitamin C serum more effective.

Preparation:

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  1. Blend all the ingredients to get a smooth consistency.
  2. .
  3. Pour the serum into a dark glass bottle with a dropper.
  4. .

A vitamin C serum prepared at home retains its properties for about 2 weeks. However, it must be stored properly. Ideally, you should leave them in the fridge.

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I do not recommend preparing vitamin C serums at home, as the preparation can irritate the skin. On our own, we are not able to stabilise the vitamin C in the cosmetic, which will translate into its meagre effect (or even lack thereof). Also remember not to apply lemon or other citrus directly to the face. 
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Paulina Chylinska.

Paulina Chylinskamagister of cosmetology

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How to store vitamin C serums

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Vitamin C serum should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. Avoid exposing it to sunlight and always keep it sealed. You can also store your vitamin C serum in the fridge - this will protect the cosmetic from oxidation.

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If you are concerned about storing your vitamin C serum properly, you can opt for a cosmetic in ampoule form. This way, you will be reopening the preparation with every application. The result will be a much better chance that the vitamin C will remain in an unchanged form.
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Paulina Chylinska.

Paulina Chylinskamagister of cosmetology

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See also:

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Summary

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  • When choosing a vitamin C serum, pay attention to the formulation, vitamin C concentration, additional ingredients, and packaging.
  • Serum with vitamin C improves the appearance of the skin, adds colour and prevents wrinkles.
  • .
  • Serum should be applied after washing the face and using a toner, but before using a moisturiser and sunscreen.
  • Vitamin C serum can be prepared at home.
  • .
  • If you want your vitamin C serum to remain usable for a long time, keep it in a cool, dark and dry place (e.g. in the refrigerator).

FAQ

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. Can vitamin C serums be used during pregnancy?.

Yes, there are no contraindications to using serums with vitamin C during pregnancy. Vitamin C is a safe ingredient. Nevertheless, you should consult with your GP about any preparations you take during pregnancy. One that can be taken on its own is folic acid.

. Can vitamin C serums be used in the summer?.

Yes, vitamin C serums can be used in the summer. What's more, it is advisable - the sun's strong rays can increase the risk of dark spots on the skin. Vitamin C serums can help fight these blemishes. Also remember to use screen cream in the summer - it's essential for proper protection of skin.

. Can vitamin C serums be used under the eyes?.

There are no contraindications to using vitamin C serums under the eyes. Preliminary studies suggest that vitamin C applied in this way can reduce dark circles. We would point out, however, that the vitamin C serum applied under the eyes should not be in a strong concentration, as this can lead to irritation (also check eye cream).

. Can vitamin C serums be used daily?.

Vitamin C serums can be used daily, or even twice a day if necessary. However, remember to always follow the manufacturer's recommendations and suggested dosage. Excess vitamin C, especially in people with sensitive skin, can lead to skin irritation.

. What does a vitamin C serum help with?.

Vitamin C serum is a cosmetic that can have positive effects on the skin. This preparation:

  • improves the overall appearance of the skin,
  • .
  • stimulates the production of collagen and prevents its deficiency,
  • .
  • acts as an antioxidant,
  • .
  • prevents wrinkles (check also collagen for wrinkles),
  • .
  • delays the skin ageing process,
  • .
  • has a brightening effect and prevents hyperpigmentation,
  • .

Remember that vitamin C serums are best applied in the morning - this is when they provide us with the greatest benefits.

. Which vitamin C serum to choose?.

When choosing a vitamin C serum, pay attention to the form, concentration, additional ingredients and packaging of the product. Together with an MSc in cosmetology, we have selected the best vitamin C serums, some of which are: Vichy Liftactiv Supreme, Medik8 C-Tetra Antioxidant Serum or Sesderma C-Vit - Brightening and Renewing Serum with Vitamin C.

. What colour should a vitamin C serum be?.

A vitamin C serum should be transparent or slightly yellowish in colour. If the product stands out with a more intense colour, it may indicate that it is of low quality or has passed its expiry date. 

Vitamin C in cosmetics can oxidise, leading to a change in the colour of the product and a loss of efficacy. Therefore, it is important to store vitamin C serums in a dark and cool place and to use them before the expiry date.

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Sources

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. See all.

Porkkala-Sarataho, E., Salonen, J. T., Nyyssönen, K., Kaikkonen, J., Salonen, R., Ristonmaa, U., Diczfalusy, U., Brigelius-Flohe, R., Loft, S., & Poulsen, H. E. (2000). Long-Term Effects of Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Combined Supplementation on Urinary 7-Hydro-8-Oxo-2′-Deoxyguanosine, Serum Cholesterol Oxidation Products, and Oxidation Resistance of Lipids in Nondepleted Men. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 20(9), 2087-2093. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.ATV.20.9.2087

Pullar, J. M., Carr, A. C., & Vissers, M. C. M. (2017). The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients, 9(8), Article 8. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080866

Telang, P. S. (2013). Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal, 4(2), 143. https://doi.org/10.4103/2229-5178.110593

Treatment of periorbital dark circles: Comparative study of carboxy therapy vs chemical peeling vs mesotherapy-Ahmed-2019-Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology-Wiley Online Library. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jocd.12536

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Meet the team
Ludwig Jelonek - Author

Natu.Care Editor

Ludwik Jelonek is the author of more than 2,500 texts published on leading portals. His content has found its way into services such as Ostrovit and Kobieta Onet. At Natu.Care, Ludwik educates people in the most important area of life - health.

Julia Skrajda - Reviewed by

Clinical nutritionist

Verified by an expert

A clinical nutritionist, she works in the profession and creates personalised menus and recommendations for disease entities.

Michael Tomaszewski - Edited by

Editor

Michael Tomaszewski

Graduate of Journalism and Artes Liberales at the University of Warsaw. Since 2017, he has been working with the biggest portals in Poland and abroad as an editor. Previously worked for 3 years in one of the leading pharmaceutical companies - he knows the health and beauty industry inside out. In his free time, he most enjoys playing tennis or skiing.

Julia Wysocka - Fact-checking

Fact-checker

Julia Wysocka

Julia Wysocka is in charge of verifying quoted sources and checking that published content is truthful.

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