Should I Use Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid Serum?

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
woman with serum

Some facial serums contain both vitamin C and hyaluronic acid as ingredients. This serum is touted to help minimize aging, rebuild collagen, brighten your complexion, and reduce wrinkling. Many of these products contain water and other ingredients, but vitamin C and hyaluronic acid are the two main active ingredients claimed to have anti-aging properties.

Does It Work?

Studies show that vitamin C and hyaluronic acid both appear to help reduce the signs of aging. One 2015 study published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology shows applying topical vitamin C helps synthesize collagen and rejuvenate skin. Cleveland Clinic says a form of vitamin C called L-ascorbic acid (found in many hyaluronic acid serums) helps stimulate skin collagen and minimize scars, wrinkles, and fine lines, and hyaluronic acid helps lubricate the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Another 2015 study says hyaluronic acid improves skin elasticity and the complexions of women with signs of skin aging.

How It Works

Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid work together to fight wrinkles and other signs of aging. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and protects the skin from oxidative stress and ultraviolet radiation, according to a 2015 study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. The same study says hyaluronic acid binds 1,000 times its volume in water to maintain skin elasticity and hydration. Hydrated skin appears less wrinkly, which is a huge bonus when trying to fight aging.

Pros and Cons

As with any skin care product, pros and cons exist when using this type of serum. The 2015 study in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology notes side effects from applying topical vitamin C rarely occur but may include local skin discomfort or itching. Another 2013 review in Indian Dermatology Online Journal reports topical vitamin C may also cause yellowish discoloration of skin and hair color changes. Side effects from topical hyaluronic acid are rare, but skin irritation (allergic reaction) is possible. Furthermore, the serums can be expensive. However, studies do show adopting this type of beauty regimen can effectively reduce wrinkling and other signs of aging.

Does Quality Matter?

If your skin serum contains vitamin C and hyaluronic acid as ingredients, it should work as an anti-aging skin care product. However, Cleveland Clinic says to look for L-ascorbic acid as an ingredient as it's the form of vitamin C most useful for maintaining a youthful look. So, check product labels to ensure that L-ascorbic acid and hyaluronic acid are the main active ingredients when purchasing this type of anti-aging serums.

A Good Choice Overall

Picking a serum with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid for your anti-aging needs is often a good option. Products containing these two ingredients come with minimal risk and are proven effective by numerous research studies.

Should I Use Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid Serum?