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5 Reasons Why You Need Vitamin C in Your Morning Skincare Routine

When it comes to health and wellness supplements, vitamin C reigns supreme. And its legacy as an A-list ingredient is just as potent in the skincare world. Whether your skin aims are anti-aging, brightening, or treating sun damage and hyperpigmentation, a bit of vitamin C in your skincare routine will go a long way toward helping you achieve your goals. In fact, topical vitamin C benefits virtually every skin type, tone, and concern. Ahead, we’re sharing all the reasons why vitamin C should be in your skincare routine, plus a step-by-step regimen.  

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin with natural antioxidant properties that help maintain immune function and skin health from the inside out. While it’s necessary we get our daily vitamin C needs through fresh fruits, vegetables, and supplements, only a small portion of this essential antioxidant makes its way to the skin to promote collagen and healing. That’s where topical skincare comes in.

Active forms of vitamin C can be formulated into skincare products to provide powerful antioxidant properties. The most common and well-studied form of vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid, is a great form to look for. It’s the most active, pure vitamin C, ideal for reducing pigmentation and stimulating collagen. However, it’s also the most unstable form of vitamin C, meaning exposure to light, oxygen, high temperatures, or the wrong pH level can render it virtually useless. This is why choosing the right vitamin C products – ideally with a concentration between 5 and 20 percent – is crucial. 

Vitamin C derivatives, such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), have been shown to be just as effective as L-ascorbic acid in evening skin tone, boosting collagen, and antioxidant defense while being more stable than pure vitamin C. Some derivatives, including MAP, are also less irritating and suitable for sensitive skin types.  

Why You Need Vitamin C in Your Skincare Routine

Vitamin C has no shortage of beauty benefits, making it one of the best ingredients you can add to your skincare routine if you’re looking to improve your skin’s short- and long-term health and appearance. Find its top skin benefits below.

Skin Benefits of Using Vitamin C

  1. Firms skin and stimulates collagen production

If you want to keep your skin firm and youthful as you age, vitamin C should be a regular in your routine. Vitamin C’s most important role involves collagen synthesis, helping build the type I and III collagen that gives our skin structure and support. By regulating collagen production, vitamin C helps keep our skin firm and plump and can even improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles. 

  1. Antioxidant defense

As an antioxidant, vitamin C neutralizes the damaging effects of free radicals caused by UV exposure and other environmental stressors – which can lead to cell damage, accelerated aging, and even cancers.

  1. Fades hyperpigmentation

Vitamin C is also fantastic at fading unwanted dark spots and post-acne marks. It reduces areas of discoloration (caused by an overproduction of the natural skin pigment melanin) by regulating excess melanin. With consistent use, vitamin C will even your skin tone and boost your glow. 

  1. Boosts sunscreen

By themselves, vitamin C and sunscreen are both effective at protecting the skin from ultraviolet radiation. Layer a vitamin C product underneath your sunscreen in the morning, and you’ve got double protection.  

  1. Brightens complexion

Another amazing benefit of vitamin C is that it keeps skin bright and reflective by diminishing dullness, inflammation, and under-eye circles. Vitamin C supports overall hydration and protects the skin from water loss. By improving the moisture content and keeping dullness at bay, vitamin C restores your skin’s natural radiance.

How to Use Vitamin C in Your Morning Skincare Routine

Vitamin C comes in many different skincare products, from cleansers to moisturizers, but most experts agree that using a vitamin C serum is ideal. Serums tend to use more stable, effective forms of vitamin C and team up with other skin brighteners and antioxidants like licorice root, niacinamide, and vitamin E. While topical vitamin C can be used morning or night, we recommend using vitamin C in the morning to provide optimal antioxidant defense and boost the effectiveness of your sunscreen. 

How do you implement vitamin C into your morning skincare routine? The routine below is a great place to start.


Reaching for a skin-specific cleanser in the morning starts your routine on the right foot. This essential first step cleanses away excess product, build-up, or sweat from the night before, setting a clean foundation for the rest of your routine.

Toner or Essence

After cleansing your skin, the next step is using a toner or essence. This could be anything from a revitalizing toner, like the Medature Energizing Q Toner, or a hydrating essence that soothes and preps your skin for the following steps.


It’s time to apply your vitamin C serum! You can’t go wrong with the Obagi Professional-C Serum 15% or Replenix Age Restore Vitamin C Brightening Serum which pairs the antioxidant with hydrating ingredients like green tea, hyaluronic acid, and propanediol.


If you don’t mind splurging on a legendary (and scientifically-backed) formula, add the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic to your A.M. skincare routine. The serum combines vitamins C and E plus ferulic acid, which have been shown to double the photoprotection of skin when used together.


Lock in all the benefits of your vitamin C serum with a simple hydrating moisturizer. Go for a daytime formula – like EltaMD’s Am Therapy Facial Moisturizer – that smooths skin texture and increases moisture retention without heavy oils or emollients.


No morning skincare routine is complete without SPF. Apply a sunscreen that works for your skin type and tone as the final step in your routine.