There are tons of vitamin C serums to choose from, but Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, recommends looking for a serum that has between 10 and 20 percent vitamin C. “Going much higher than 15 percent, you have a minimal increased risk of irritation to your skin,” she says. “And going lower than 10 percent, you risk choosing a product that isn’t as effective as it could be.”
So, C E Ferulic definitely hits that sweet spot — and my skin agrees, too. I’ve tried other vitamin C serums with lower concentrations, only to toss them aside after weeks of not seeing much change. But just a week into using this SkinCeuticals formula, I noticed my acne scars fading more quickly and a smoother, overall texture.
But what happens when you mix vitamin C with vitamin E and ferulic acid? Long story short: They all help stabilize and potentiate each other, making for a stronger and more effective skin-care cocktail. “Compounding vitamin C with another antioxidant [like vitamin E] helps preserve the stability and boost the effectiveness of the serum,” says Henry, and both vitamin E and ferulic acid help make it easier for your skin to absorb.
On top of that, ferulic acid helps stabilize both vitamins C and E and doubles the serum’s defense against photodamage. It’s also important to note that the bottle itself is darkened on purpose since light exposure is known to break down vitamin C, but I try to keep my bottle out of direct sunlight, regardless.
Less is more when it comes to such a potent serum. I only use three drops at a time, which I apply directly onto my face — so I don’t waste any product on my hands while transferring. To err on the safe side, I started off using it every other day before building up to daily use — which is what Henry recommends for sensitive skin. And as with any vitamin C products used during the daytime, applying sunscreen is a must due to increased photosensitivity. (I’ve been loving Peter Thomas Roth’s Water Drench Moisturizer SPF 45 recently.)