Vitamin C Skincare: Effects, Whitening & Timing

When it comes to skincare, it can be hard to know when you’re supposed to be seeing results - especially when you think you’ve been using something for long enough. The truth is, a little bit of consistency and a whole lot of patience goes a long way when it comes to seeing results for most beauty ingredients - and Vitamin C is no exception.

Vitamin C is an ingredient that promises a lot for skin; it’s an antioxidant, plus it has well-recorded effects of fading dark spots and potentially reducing the appearance of wrinkles. If you’ve recently (or not) added a Vitamin C product to your skincare routine, this post is for you.

Together, we’ll go through precisely what Vitamin C does for skin and how soon you should be seeing a change in your skin - plus, tips and tricks for reaching your skin goals with Vitamin C.


Dermalogica Biolumin C Serum

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum
Vitamin C and Peptides work hard to firm skin and ward off wrinkles!

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How Does Vitamin C Work?

Understanding how long it takes for a Vitamin C serum to work all starts with understanding just how Vitamin C benefits skin. This blog post won’t sound like a chemistry class (I promise!) but hopefully, you’ll have a better idea of exactly how Vitamin C works on your skin.

If you’re using Vitamin C to fade dark spots on your skin (whether they’re there as post acne-marks or from the sun), Vitamin C can definitely help. How? One of Vitamin C’s most well-recorded abilities is its power as a depigmenting agent. I know what you’re thinking - wait, is it going to bleach my skin? Rest assured, Vitamin C isn’t going to make you look pale. 

‘Depigmenting’ is just the technical way of saying ‘fading dark spots’ for an even, glowing skin tone. Vitamin C is able to do this by specifically targeting tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for melanocyte production. By interrupting this process, Vitamin C stops overzealous melanocytes from creating too much melanin as a response to trauma - like the kind that happens to skin after a breakout or sun damage.

Dermalogica Vitamin C Gel MoisturiserDermalogica Biolumin C Gel Moisturiser
Combining the power of Vitamin C and other antioxidants is always a good idea for hydrating your skin and sweeping away wrinkles.

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when it comes to anti-ageing vitamin c has another trick up its sleeve while we all know that antioxidants (like Vitamin C serums) are fantastic for protecting skin from wrinkle-causing free radicals, did you know that Vitamin C is able to directly kick-start collagen production?

Without getting too in-depth and turning this into a snooze fest, all you need to know is that Vitamin C creates the perfect environment in skin for collagen creation. It works to stabilise existing collagen (preventing it from breaking down as quickly), plus it’s able to directly stimulate fibroblasts, creating new collagen that fills out any fine lines and wrinkles for firmer, younger skin.

So, now that we know exactly what Vitamin C does for skin - how long does it take for the magic to happen?

Medik8 C-Tetra SerumMedik8 C-Tetra 30ml
This powerful vitamin-c serum combines all the benefits of a potent anti-aging treatment with a gentle, skin-loving formula that won't irritate your skin.

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How Long Does it Take for Vitamin C Serum to Work?

Well, it all starts with ‘it depends’. I know, it’s not necessarily the answer that everyone wants to hear - but it’s true! It depends on what you’re using Vitamin C for - but here’s an approximate timeline of how long it takes to see results (and which ones you’ll see)!

4 Weeks 

4 weeks is usually the golden rule for beginning to see changes - it’s allowed your skin to go through at least one renewal cycle with this skin-changing ingredient. At this point, your skin should have a subtle change in radiance, which is something you’ll notice will stick around as long as you keep using Vitamin C.

It’s also around this time that you’ll probably notice any pigmentation start to fade. Here’s a pro tip - you can give Vitamin C a helping hand by using sunscreen daily. This helps to speed up the fading process and prevents the sun from darkening these spots further.

8 Weeks

8 weeks later - so around two renewal cycles, give or take - you might see changes in firmness and elasticity. Your skin has had plenty of time to take advantage of the collagen-creating benefits of Vitamin C, and it’s only up from here!

Dr Irena Eris tokyo lift SPF30 product image on white backgroundDr Irena Eris Tokyo Lift Multi-Pollution Defense SPF30 Day Moisturiser | $159
Vitamin C helps to fight off wrinkle-causing free radicals in this protective SPF moisturiser from Dr Irena Eris.

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16 Weeks

Studies on Vitamin C’s long term effect on skin have found that it’s around this point where a significant difference can be seen in hyperpigmentation. At this point, that means you should see a major difference in skin radiance, luminosity, and reduction in the look of any hyperpigmentation - they might even be completely gone. 

6 Months+

So at this point, you’ve committed to Vitamin C for the long haul, and this is the point in time where every single benefit should be showing in full swing; I’m talking about luminous skin, even skin tone, firmer skin, and a drop in the intensity of wrinkles.

Your skin has had so much time to boost collagen production and brighten dark spots that it should look amazing! And here’s the best part - this is only what Vitamin C can do. If you used this alongside peptides, retinol, or even an AHA, imagine how amazing your skin could look.

Vine Vera Resveratrol chianti mask product image on white backgroundVine Vera Resveratrol Chianti Thermic Mask | $700
Vitamin C is great in masks too - and this antioxidant-rich Vine Vera mask is no exception.

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Here’s one tip - Vitamin C plays exceptionally well with Vitamin E, so if you do decide to add this powerful antioxidant to your beauty routine, don’t forget to pair it with Vitamin E for even better results!

Now that you know exactly which results you can see from Vitamin C (and when) will you be adding this powerful antioxidant to your beauty routine?

If you’re still working on creating your best ever skincare routine, try our skincare quiz - it’ll give you a tailored routine based on your skin type and skincare goals. 

Beauty Affairs Skin Care Quiz Call to action image orange overlay woman's face

Products Mentioned:

  • Shiseido White Lucent Overnight Cream & Mask | $129
  • Vine Vera Resveratrol Pinot Noir Longevity Serum | $800
  • Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate | $305
  • Dr Irena Eris Tokyo Lift Multi-Pollution Defense SPF30 Day Moisturiser | $159
  • Vine Vera Resveratrol Chianti Thermic Mask | $700

    Alexis Adrienne

    Alexis Adrienne

    Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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