The Vitamin C Serum That Changed My Life and Lifted My Stubborn Pigmentation

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If there’s one topic I could talk about for hours on end, it’s vitamin C.

Hands down, it's the best invention the skincare community has ever made.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond, or have sensitive, dry, oily, combination or 'normal' skin: just like you need a good sunscreen in your life, you NEED a good vitamin C on rotation as well.

It’s been three years since I Introduced vitamin C into my life and I’ve never looked back, but if I'm honest, I don't quite remember how this powerful active ingredient came onto my radar.

What I do remember, though, is scrolling for HOURS on Instagram seeing glowy selfie after glowy selfie and sitting there thinking, ‘How do I achieve this?’ 

Growing up, I was lucky to blessed with good skin. I suffered the odd hormonal breakout like any teenager, but acne was never my primary concern. Pigmentation? Now that was a whole other ball game.

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Sure, my Indian genetics meant I was able to get a tan in an hour flat, but combine my imbalance of melanin - the pigment in our skin - and not wearing sunscreen every damn day (honestly, why don’t they teach this as a subject in school already?) and the result was hyperpigmentation that mainly presented on my face.

For years, I would wake up and immediately slap on foundation to cover the darkness that plagued the area around my mouth. I tried every trick in the book to ‘even out' my skin tone, from colour correctors to supplements.

I'd almost given up on my stubborn pigmentation, but it wasn't until I discovered vitamin C serums that I saw the discolouration around my mouth lift. Here's a look at the difference six to nine months of using a vitamin C serum made.

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By now, you must be wondering, what is this magic ingredient?

Keep scrolling for the basics on what vitamin C can do for your skin, and the vitamin C serums that quite literally changed my life.

What Is Vitamin C and What Does Vitamin C Do for Skin?

Vitamin C is SO much more than just a pick me up beverage with your Sunday breaky. Here's the rundown:

  • Vitamin C a potent antioxidant that leaves your skin looking bright and radiant.

  • The powerhouse ingredient boosts collagen production - the protein that strengthens and supports our bone structure for plumper, bouncy skin.

  • Vitamin C also inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which works towards lightening existing pigmentation while helping to prevent further melanin production.

  • Importantly, using a vitamin C serum can help treat hyperpigmentation, without affecting your normal skin tone.

  • Research has shown that combining a vitamin C serum and a broad-spectrum sunscreen in your skincare routine neutralises the effects of free radicals. In other words, their benefits multiply when used together. Just like my favourite duo peanut butter and dark chocolate - they’re good on their own, but oh SO much better together.

You can learn more about hyperpigmentation and how to manage it in this video below!

How to Choose the Best Vitamin C Serum for You.

Vitamin C serums can be broken down by the type of vitamin C derivative, the concentration of active ingredients, the ingredients list holistically, and even the kind of bottle and dispenser they're packaged in.

To make it easy, I’ve pulled together what to look for when choosing a vitamin C serum below:

  • Active ingredients: To start, you’ll want to make sure the first three ingredients in the ingredients list contain a derivative of L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C in its active form), vitamin E and Tocopherol. They're basically the Three Amigos of pigmentation-fighting ingredients.

  • Packaging: Exposure to air, light and heat can oxidise your vitamin C and make it less effective. Look for a vitamin C serum that comes in dark glass to ensure longevity. 

  • Frequency: The key to integrating vitamin C into your routine is to start SLOWLY. Just like with any active, it’s important to build up tolerance. Start with two to three times a week in the morning after cleansing and before SPF, and work your way up to daily use. You’ll notice results within three weeks, guaranteed.

Now I’ve covered the basics, let me talk to you about the vitamin C serum(s) that changed my life... the Medik8 ‘C’ range.

Medik8 Vitamin C Serum Review.

Funnily enough, my first ever Medik8 vitamin C serum was a free sample that came with an Adore Beauty order I made about 18 months ago. I knew within a few weeks I had stumbled upon something good. 

Fast forward to the beginning of lockdown, and just like you, I decided it was time to kick my skincare up a notch and buy a dedicated vitamin C serum. I settled on Medik8 Pure C15 Vitamin C Antioxidant Serum 2 x 15ml after going deep into research mode.

Here are some photos that show just how much my skin tone and hyperpigmentation have improved since I started using this Medik8 vitamin C serum.

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At $118, you get 30ml of vitamin C serum split into two dark glass bottles with a dropper. This is to ensure there's zero chance of the serum oxidising before you've had a chance to use it all up.

Upon first whiff, I noticed a strong citrus scent. I didn’t mind it, vitamin C is notoriously known for its pungent properties… Trust me, I’ve powered through vitamin C serums that smell like hot dogs and metallic paint in order to achieve #datglow. But what it lacks in scent, it makes up for in every other aspect. 

There’s a reason Medik8 PureC15 will always be my number one vitamin C serum recommendation: the beautiful formulation.

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Coming in at 15 per cent L-ascorbic acid, it certainly packs a punch. But the combination of vitamin E and glutathione make it suitable for sensitive skin too, leaving your skin dewy, supple and hydrated.

All of Medik8's vitamin C serums feel lovely to apply - the texture is silky and light on the skin, and you can easily layer your other hydrating serums, moisturisers and sunscreen over the top.

When I finished my bottles of C15, I took my own advice and moved up to the stronger Medik8 Super C30 Potent Vitamin C Antioxidant Serum 30ml and then the even stronger Medik8 Super C30+ Intense Potent Vitamin C Antioxidant Serum 30ml after that.

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Make no mistake, you’ll need to work up to these high strength vitamin C serums because they definitely aren't for beginners. What I will say, though, is if you can build your tolerance up to using Super C30 Intense without irritation, you’ll experience glow like you never thought you could.

To conclude, whenever someone asks me what the best vitamin C serum is, I tell them to start with Medik8 Pure C15 Vitamin C Antioxidant Serum 2 x 15ml because my skin and I have never looked back. Or better.