Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, previously told mbg that vitamin C serums are typically used to brighten skin, even skin tone, and fight oxidative stress. As a topically applied antioxidant, he notes that vitamin C “protects the skin against free radicals, blocks the production of abnormal pigmentation, and acts as a cofactor for the production of new collagen.”
The only catch? When exposed to air, heat, or light, ascorbic acid (the most effective form of topical vitamin C) can become less effective at delivering vitamin C’s skin benefits. However, research shows that pairing vitamin C with other antioxidants can help stabilize vitamin C and enhance its bioefficacy in topical products.
A 2017 review article from The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that pairing vitamin C with the plant-based antioxidant ferulic acid aids in stabilizing vitamin C molecules. Additionally, ferulic acid helps reduce ascorbic acid’s pH below 3.5, which proves to be an effective method in improving vitamin C’s permeability (i.e., ability to absorb) when applied to skin.
mindbodygreen’s very own beauty director, Alexandra Engler, swears by the Marie Veronique C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum to help bolster C’s collagen-producing abilities. “It’s a genius formula that seriously delivers,” she says. For Engler’s additional recommendations, check out her list of the best vitamin C serums available today.