Vitamin C can reduce melasma, the facial discoloration described as the mask of pregnancy. It smooths fine lines, guards against premature aging, and keeps the skin hydrated and firm. But is vitamin C serum safe to use during pregnancy?
Yes, vitamin C is one of the serums you can use while pregnant. As long as it doesn’t contain face care ingredients you need to avoid (like retinol), you can apply it daily. You can even use vitamin C serum while breastfeeding.
Keep reading to learn about the best vitamin C serum safe for pregnancy.
- 1 What are the benefits of vitamin C serum?
- 2 Why is it necessary to use a serum instead of simply eating more vitamin C?
- 3 What are the risks of using vitamin c skincare while pregnant?
- 4 Which vitamin C serum is best?
- 5 Best Vitamin C Serum Safe for Pregnancy in 2023
- 5.1 Kleem Organics Vitamin C Serum
- 5.2 CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
- 5.3 Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair 20% Vitamin C Brightening Serum Capsules
- 5.4 SeoulCeuticals Korean Beauty – 20% Vitamin C Hyaluronic Acid Serum + CE Ferulic Acid
- 5.5 The Ordinary Facial Treatment Serum Set
- 5.6 DERMA E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
- 6 Conclusion
What are the benefits of vitamin C serum?
When you apply vitamin C to your skin, it protects against oxidative stress that comes from pollution and photodamage from sunlight and even the light from a phone screen.
Maybe you’ve heard about free radicals. They cause the skin to age prematurely, drying it out, damaging the collagen, and causing hyperpigmentation. But vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. It stimulates collagen production so your skin has the protein it needs to stay plump and smooth. This reduces acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Also, vitamin C treats hyperpigmentation from sun damage and scars. Because it helps the skin regenerate, the discolored areas fade faster. It also brightens the complexion. (1)
Lastly, vitamin C reduces inflammation which helps treat pregnancy acne.
Why is it necessary to use a serum instead of simply eating more vitamin C?
It’s true that vitamin C is water-soluble and is found in lots of fruits and vegetables. It may also be in your prenatal vitamin. But what you eat isn’t enough to serve as a topical treatment for repairing your skin.
Although vitamin C serum works more slowly than retinol, for example, retinol isn’t safe during pregnancy. Although it may take several weeks, if you apply vitamin C serum daily, you’re bound to see positive changes in your skin.
What are the risks of using vitamin c skincare while pregnant?
To be fair, not everybody loves using vitamin C serum because it causes temporary redness and some people feel like it stings. One of our contributors used vitamin C serum to get her rosacea under control and it worked like magic. But it absolutely tingled for a good ten minutes after she applied it.
Besides unpleasant sensations, most vitamin C serums need to be stored in a cool, dark place. Replace the cap immediately after dispensing them to reduce the serum’s contact with the air. That’s because temperature, sunlight, and even room air can make the serum degrade and become useless (2).
Which vitamin C serum is best?
There are different types of vitamin C serum. That’s because vitamin C comes in different forms in skincare products (3).
- Ascorbic acid – (also known as L-ascorbic acid) is the most powerful type of vitamin C. The higher the concentration, the more potent it becomes. Most serums have between 5% and 20%. It requires a low pH to penetrate the skin and is often combined with ferulic acid and vitamin E to keep it from oxidizing. It’s best for oily skin and may irritate sensitive, dry skin.
- Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate – is more stable than ascorbic acid and good at brightening the skin, but not as powerful. Doesn’t need to be in a low-pH formula. The minimum effective concentration is at least 10%.
- Sodium ascorbyl phosphate – has antimicrobial benefits for treating acne. It doesn’t spoil easily but doesn’t absorb quickly into the skin without helper ingredients.
- Ethyl ascorbic acid – a very stable version of vitamin C that converts to ascorbic acid in the skin. Excellent for treating hyperpigmentation and brightening the complexion.
There are even more kinds of vitamin C but these are the active ingredients in the serums we reviewed below.
|The best vitamin C serums to use during pregnancy||Why we love them|
|Kleem Organics Vitamin C Serum||
|CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid||
|Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair 20% Vitamin C Brightening Serum Capsules||
|SeoulCeuticals Korean Beauty - 20% Vitamin C Hyaluronic Acid Serum + CE Ferulic Acid||
|The Ordinary Facial Treatment Serum Set||
|DERMA E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum with Hyaluronic Acid||
Best Vitamin C Serum Safe for Pregnancy in 2023
Kleem Organics Vitamin C Serum
The average person who starts using this vitamin C serum twice a day enjoys plump, glowing skin within two or three weeks. You only need one drop to cover your face, or two drops if you want to do your neck and décolleté. Remember that it took months or years for your skin to become damaged, so it takes a few weeks at least for it to begin recovery.
We selected this vitamin C serum for several reasons. First, it’s made with organic ingredients and it’s paraben-free. In fact, it doesn’t contain toxic preservatives at all.
Next, the vegan formula features 25% vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbyl phosphate. It’s called Stay C-50 and it’s shelf-stable and antimicrobial. It can help reduce acne as well as treat premature aging.
Plus, the serum is fortified with other skin-friendly ingredients like aloe, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and ferulic acid. These help the skin stay hydrated while organic jojoba and witch hazel balance oil production.
Finally, this product is manufactured in the USA and packaged in an airless pump-top bottle to keep it fresh. The material happens to be 95% recyclable, too.
- Features Stay C-50 with 25% sodium ascorbyl phosphate
- Formulated with organic ingredients that hydrate the skin, balance oil production, and reduce acne
- Made in the USA and paraben-free
- Packaged in a recyclable pump-top bottle
- As always when purchasing skincare if you have allergies, check the label first as vitamin C isn’t the only ingredient in the serum
CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
One of our readers wanted to know if CeraVe vitamin C serum was safe to use during pregnancy. As always, we recommend that you check with your OB/GYN or doctor because your individual needs or restrictions might be different from someone else’s. Otherwise, CeraVe’s products are generally safe as they are fragrance-free, paraben-free, allergy-tested, and non-comedogenic.
It’s the fragrance-free part that might be especially appealing to pregnant women. If you’re dealing with morning sickness, unscented skin care products are appreciated.
This serum is made with 10% L-ascorbic acid, the most powerful kind of vitamin C for stimulating collagen production and brightening the complexion. It’s enhanced with ceramides and hyaluronic acid to refresh dehydrated skin. However, if you have sensitive skin, you might notice tingling for a few minutes after applying it.
The texture is kind of like gel instead of water, and it’s not greasy. It absorbs quickly and wears well underneath moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup.
- Uses 10% L-ascorbic acid with lots of antioxidant power for repairing the skin
- Enhanced with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to restore hydration
- Allergy-tested and non-comedogenic, with no artificial fragrance or parabens
- Fast-absorbing gel wears well underneath moisturizer and makeup
- This form of vitamin C needs to be protected against oxidizing – store it in a cool, dark, dry place
Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair 20% Vitamin C Brightening Serum Capsules
Pinch the tip, pull, and twist to dispense the serum. It’s packaged in individual doses inside biodegradable capsules. This genius idea keeps it fresher for longer and it’s easier to bring along on trips.
It features 20% vitamin C, a potent concentration of ascorbic acid. Moreover, the formula contains no preservatives, artificial fragrances, dyes, oils, or alcohol. However, if you have dry, sensitive skin, you’ll feel it. Your skin might get a little pink and sting for a couple of minutes. Just let it absorb and apply moisturizer on top.
The silicone-based serum seals in moisture and may improve your skin’s appearance at least a little bit overnight. With daily use over time, it smooths lines and fades dark spots.
- 20% ascorbic acid to erase lines and dark spots
- No preservatives, fragrance, oil, dyes, or alcohol
- Packaged in individual doses in biodegradable capsules for freshness
- Might sting and cause momentary redness, but applying moisturizer afterward typically solves the problem
SeoulCeuticals Korean Beauty – 20% Vitamin C Hyaluronic Acid Serum + CE Ferulic Acid
It’s pretty common to see vitamin C serum with ferulic acid. The latter ingredient is also a potent antioxidant that calms inflammation and eliminates signs of aging. It also happens to be a stabilizer that helps vitamin C function better (4).
One of the most popular vitamin C serums of all time is made by SkinCeuticals. It includes vitamin E and ferulic acid. But the price tag is prohibitive. That’s why we love K beauty’s affordable answer made by SeoulCeuticals. It promises to give you a more youthful complexion within three weeks if you use it every day.
Not only does it fade acne scars and lines, but it also helps prevent breakouts and shrink blackheads. The formula is 72% organic with 98% naturally-derived ingredients. It uses sodium ascorbyl phosphate, vitamin E, ferulic acid, witch hazel, hyaluronic acid, aloe, and Centella asiatica to rejuvenate the skin.
- Affordable imitation of SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic serum
- Paraben-free, with 98% naturally-derived ingredients
- Uses shelf-stable sodium ascorbyl phosphate to fight acne
- Includes other anti-acne and anti-aging ingredients
- If you have known allergies to herbal ingredients, please check the label before using
The Ordinary Facial Treatment Serum Set
If you’ve never used vitamin C serum before and it stings, you might be tempted to quit using it before you get to see the results you desire. We’ll be honest – The Ordinary vitamin C serum tingles. Our rosacea-prone contributor only used it at night. Nevertheless, she kept the momentum going with other blemish-removing serums in the morning. For example, the hyaluronic acid serum plumps the skin to eliminate flakiness. Meanwhile, the niacinamide serum fades hyperpigmentation.
This kit includes all three powerhouses. What’s more, the vitamin C serum is in a silicone base, not water, so it has a decent shelf life.
- Set with 3 serums that give the skin a youthful glow
- The ascorbic acid serum is in a silicone base that seals in moisture and behaves like a primer under makeup
- If you only wanted vitamin C serum, be aware that this is a kit with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid serums, too
DERMA E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
We consider DERMA E to be a pregnancy-safe skincare brand. It makes clean beauty products that are cruelty-free and vegan. It doesn’t use GMOs, petrolatum, parabens, sulfates, soy, or gluten, plus the packaging is recyclable.
This vitamin C serum is enhanced with green tea, hyaluronic acid, and pro-vitamin B5. The overall effect is hydrating enough that users with oily skin might not even need a moisturizer. And those with dry skin will find that their complexion becomes smooth and luminous.
- From a pregnancy-safe skincare brand
- Serum is augmented with hyaluronic acid, pro-vitamin B5, and green tea
- No parabens, petrolatum, GMOs, animal ingredients, soy, or gluten
- As always, if you have allergies, check the label
While you take a break from retinol during pregnancy, you can still enjoy beautiful skin. Vitamin C serum has anti-aging and anti-acne benefits. It’s a simple thing to apply a drop or two after washing and before moisturizing.
We hope our reviews of safe vitamin C serums helped you find what you need today. If you’ve noticed the benefits, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave us a comment below.
1. https://www.verywellfamily.com/can-pregnant-women-use-vitamin-c-in-skincare-5209493 Can I Use Vitamin C in Skincare While Pregnant? by Cat Matta Published on November 24, 2021, medically reviewed by Rachel Nazarian, MD
2. Telang P. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal. 2013;4(2). doi:10.4103/2229-5178.110593
3. Enescu CD, Bedford LM, Potts G, Fahs F. A review of topical vitamin C derivatives and their efficacy. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Published online September 24, 2021. doi:10.1111/jocd.14465
4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/ferulic-acid What to know about ferulic acid, Medically reviewed by Jennie Olopaade, PharmD, RPH, Written by Joanne Lewsley on March 30, 2022