DIY Vitamin C Serum: Simple Homemade Recipes

vitamin c serum benefits diy recipes

If you've heard about any of the benefits of applying vitamin C topically, it's only natural to want to try a vitamin C serum for yourself. Serums are the most effective tools for applying vitamin C to your skin, and if you get the right serum, you can rest assured that you're deploying the benefits of this substance without having to deal with the detractors of artificial or toxic ingredients. However, finding the right vitamin C serum can be hard, and even if you've found a product that you like, you might want to try the benefits of topical vitamin C for yourself before you commit to a purchase. Many skin-conscious consumers in your situation decide to make vitamin C serums for themselves, and here's what you need to know about the process of making your own vitamin C topical.

What Are Facial Serums?

If you think that facial serums are similar to moisturizers, you're half right. Like moisturizers, facial serums hydrate your skin and smooth out your complexion. However, there are quite a few differences between these classes of topical products, and you may find that a serum is superior to a moisturizer for your situation.

For instance, facial serums are much thinner than moisturizers. While many moisturizers contain ingredients that make them soft and creamy, serums are almost always very thin, and some can be practically the same consistency as water. Other serums may be more gel-like, but they are almost invariably clear in appearance.

Moisturizers often contain special ingredients that add moisture to your skin directly, but the solitary purpose of serums is to deliver active ingredients directly to your skin. They don't have any filler ingredients or emulsifiers, and the only components that they contain in addition to their active ingredients are substances that make it easier for the active ingredients to absorb into your skin.

While moisturizers treat the symptoms of dry skin, aging, and other conditions, serums use active ingredients to address the root causes of these issues. Some people choose to apply serums before they apply moisturizers, but many consumers end up finding that they don't need to use moisturizers when they have serums. While serums have very simple ingredients, they're some of the hardest cosmetics to get right, so if you go the DIY route, be prepared for a significant amount of trial and error.

serums effective delivery of vitamin c

What Are the Benefits of Topical Vitamin C?

The main way that vitamin C improves your health is through its action as an antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are types of atoms that destroy your cellular tissue and lead to aging, irritation, and even cancer. Whatever type of topical condition you have, vitamin C can contribute to your overall skin health, and this substance is especially good for acne, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.

Vitamin C also hydrates your skin by slowing down water loss, and it helps limit sun damage. Prolonged exposure to the sun leads to an increase in free radicals in your skin, and since vitamin C eliminates free radicals, the amount of damage that sun exposure can cause is mitigated. Production of collagen, which is the protein that makes your skin look plump, is also negatively affected by the presence of free radicals, which means that vitamin C can also help your face look plumper and firmer as you age. Vitamin C can be a lifeline for younger people who suffer from conditions like acne, but it shows the most promise as an anti-aging substance that can reverse many of the factors that make your face look old. In addition, if you suffer from scarring from acne or another condition, vitamin C can return your skin to a uniform texture.

Vitamin C Serum Recipes

In theory, making a vitamin C serum is very easy. All you need to do is dissolve vitamin C in water, and then you can apply your serum to your face without any worries. In practice, however, there are a number of issues that you can encounter if you take a simplified approach to this process, and the following recipes seek to address these possible issues in a variety of different ways. As you review the following recipes, keep in mind that you might want to incorporate elements from all three as you embark on the process of creating your serum, and we'll touch on some of the potential pitfalls you could encounter during the formulation process in the next section.

1. Vegetable Glycerin Vitamin C Serum

The main ingredient of pretty much every vitamin C serum recipe is L-ascorbic acid powder, which is a form of vitamin C. You can also purchase your L-ascorbic acid in crystalline form, but the powdered form of this substance is easiest to work with. It's important to remember, however, that not all vitamin C is made equal; some factory-produced vitamin C is produced with very unscrupulous practices, and the cheaper the vitamin C powder, the more likely that it isn't good for your skin.

As you search for the right vitamin C for your DIY recipe, make sure that it is labeled as all-natural and non-GMO. Certain types of ascorbic acid may be carcinogenic, which means that you'll need to practice serious discernment if you want to find a form of vitamin C that you feel comfortable applying to your face.

Whether you use powdered or crystalline vitamin C, you'll need to dissolve it in water if you want to apply it to your face. However, if you just dissolve vitamin C in water, your serum won't work very well when you apply it to your face. The following recipe attempts to ameliorate this issue by including vegetable glycerin, which might work well if you get all of the other steps right as well.

• 4 tsp distilled water
• 1/4 tsp vegetable glycerin
• 1/2 tsp L-ascorbic acid powder

• Mix the water and glycerin in a small container until they combine
• Add the l-ascorbic acid powder, cover the container, and shake it until the vitamin C dissolves
• Pour the mixture into an opaque glass dropper bottle
• Apply the serum after washing your face

It's important to note that this recipe doesn't call for pH testing, which means that if the serum burns your face, your only recourse is to dilute it. We'll cover the importance of pH testing your serum as we continue.


2. Aloe Vera Vitamin C Serum

This recipe attempts to solve the serum carrier problem in a different way by incorporating aloe vera gel. This natural substance is somewhat similar to vegetable glycerin in consistency, and it also has its own health benefits. For instance, aloe can help your skin heal faster, and it's especially useful when applied after you've been out in the sun for too long. When you ingest aloe vera, it boosts your digestive system, lowers your blood sugar, and provides relief from heartburn, but it's unknown whether it imparts any of these benefits topically.

Another ingredient unique to this recipe is frankincense, which is also known as Boswellia. Frankincense is one of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatories known to man, and when you combine it with vitamin C, it's only natural to expect great results. However, it's unknown whether the inclusion of Boswellia and aloe resolves any of the issues associated with making your own vitamin C serum.

• 1 tsp vitamin C powder
• 1 tsp distilled or purified water
• 1.5 tbsp aloe vera gel
• 5 drops frankincense essential oil

• Use a whisk to blend the vitamin C powder and the water in a bowl
• Mix the aloe vera gel into the substance
• Add the frankincense and mix again
• Transfer the serum to an opaque glass bottle
• Apply the serum at night

3. Vitamin C Serum with Baking Soda

This recipe calls for the inclusion of baking soda, which may solve one of the most common problems people encounter when they make vitamin C serum on their own: pH balance. While baking soda is highly alkaline, it isn't necessarily good for your skin. However, most sources state the dangers of baking soda on its own, and when you use it as a pH balancer, the negative effects might be ameliorated.

• L-ascorbic acid powder
• Distilled water
• Baking soda
• pH strips

• For this recipe, the quantities of the ingredients you use are based on the volume of your container
• For instance, if you want a 10 percent vitamin C serum, multiply the volume of your container by 0.1 to determine how much vitamin C powder you need
• Then, place the vitamin C powder in your container, and add water until the container is full
• Lastly, use pH strips, and add baking soda to the solution until it's at a tolerable pH

Is Making Your Own Vitamin C Serum a Good Idea?

Now that you know how to make your own serum, you might be feeling ready to gather your ingredients and try a DIY recipe for yourself. But is it really such a good idea to make a serum on your own? If you take the time to learn how to do it right, making your own vitamin C serum might be a very rewarding experience, but you'll need to know all about the nuances of pulling this process off if you want to create a serum that actually works.

Get the Carrier Right

When vitamin C is in its crystallized form, it's useless as an ingredient in a facial serum. Some DIY vitamin C serum recipes call for dissolving your vitamin C in water, and this may make sense since you know that water is the primary ingredient in almost every professional vitamin C serum. However, there's more to making a good vitamin C serum than dropping some crystals in water and watching them dissolve; unless you use the right carrier ingredients, the vitamin C in your DIY serum will just recrystallize the moment that it touches your skin.

pH Problems

If you don't nail the pH of your serum, you'll irritate your skin. Vitamin C has a pH of about 2.5 when you mix it with a carrier, and since this substance is naturally acidic, it penetrates your skin better when it has a low pH. However, if the pH of your serum is too low, it won't absorb properly, and it will inflame your skin, which can exacerbate the same conditions that you're trying to treat. Commercial vitamin C serums usually have a pH between 2.8 and 3.4, which the skin can tolerate, but figuring out the perfect balance of ingredients necessary to achieve this pH can be tough.

Storage Solutions

Vitamin C is highly unstable, which means that if you don't store your serum correctly, it will spoil. Commercial serum manufacturers have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to stabilizing their vitamin C, but the most you'll be able to do at home is store your serum in an opaque container and pop it in the fridge. Even then, your serum might destabilize quickly.

Combination Considerations

Vitamin C is great on its own, but it can only do so much. If you make a serum that only contains vitamin C and you expect the same results as a commercial option, you might be disappointed. Commercial serum manufacturers include other antioxidants in their serums, such as vitamin E, along with vitamin C to boost this compound's efficacy. However, figuring out how to add other ingredients while maintaining the perfect pH and keeping your vitamin C from destabilizing or recrystallizing is beyond the powers of most amateurs.

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