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23 Best Vitamin C Serums for Acne-Prone Skin: Reviews & Buying Guide

by  Doris Harris -  Last Updated On 30th December 2020

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Do you hate breakouts? Despise acne scars? Fear wrinkles?

Yeah, me too.

That’s why today, I’ll review the best vitamin C serums for acne-prone skin.

There are lots to choose from, so I’m sure you’ll find the perfect one for your needs.

Which vitamin C serum is best for acne?

You’ve probably heard that vitamin C serum is great for a lot of things.

It makes dark circles go away and fades acne scars.

It can make your skin plumper as it builds collagen.

Plus, it prevents and treats damage caused by sunlight (1).

But how can you know which of the serums is the right one for your skin?

In my experience, you have to look at the details.

For example, look for a serum with a 20% concentration. That seems to be the perfect amount for the skin to absorb (2).

If you’ve never used vitamin C serum before, it’s natural for it to tingle slightly. Start by using it only once a day or every other day.

If your skin is especially sensitive, test it on the inside of your elbow or the back of your knee and wait a day before you put it on your face to see what happens.

Then, plan on using it for at least three months to get results. Hopefully, you’ll notice some positive changes long before then.

It should even out your skin tone and make discoloration less noticeable. Wrinkles and fine lines will start to disappear, too.

Vitamin C serum might also reduce the frequency of your breakouts. It’s an antioxidant that keeps the oil on the skin from oxidizing and clogging pores (3).

While we’re on the topic of clogged pores, let’s start our reviews with a serum that’s excellent for acne-prone skin.

23 Best Vitamin C Serums for Acne-Prone Skin (2021 Update)

1. La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum with Salicylic Acid

La Roche-Posay is a trusted manufacturer of skincare products. Their vitamin C serum fights aging and acne with a special blend of ingredients.

The immediate effects include soft, moisturized skin. But over time, your face will look smoother as wrinkles shrink.

Salicylic acid is a natural exfoliant that keeps pores clear and gets rid of dead cells.

Then, the 10% concentration of vitamin C is mild enough for sensitive skin.

Finally, the formula has been tested by dermatologists to be hypoallergenic, although it does contain a fragrance.

2. Skinceuticals C E Ferulic

This potent serum continues to benefit your complexion for 72 hours after you apply it.

It blends vitamins C and E plus ferulic acid. Together, they protect against environmental damage to the skin and fade signs of aging.

If you’ve had laser treatments for hyperpigmentation, it’s still safe to use right after that.

This product is well-known and has been published in eight different peer-reviewed scientific journals. Therefore, prepare yourself for the price tag.

3. Paula’s Choice BOOST C15 Super Booster

If the Skinceuticals serum doesn’t fit your budget at the moment, try this one from Paula’s Choice. Many users compare it to the other favorably.

Both have vitamin C and E plus ferulic acid, and they are acidic enough to absorb properly into the skin.

On the downside, I saw several complaints about this serum oxidizing. Unfortunately, a vitamin C serum tends to do just that.

You can tell because it will change color and smell funny. Exposure to light and air will cause it to happen faster.

4. Seoul Ceuticals Korean Skin Care – 20% Vitamin C Hyaluronic Acid Serum + CE Ferulic Acid

Here is a Korean knockoff of the Skinceuticals serum. It’s less costly and well-loved by lots of American users. Plus, it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Besides vitamin C, it has 72% organic ingredients. Almost 100% are naturally-derived. They include acne fighters like MSM and Centella.

5. Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum

One of the best vitamin c serums for sensitive skin is made by Vichy. It’s won awards from health and beauty sites and magazines.

It has a 15% concentration of vitamin C alongside vitamin E and hyaluronic acid.

The first two ingredients are antioxidants that repair damage to the skin and prevent new harm. Next, the latter ingredient is a potent moisturizer that can hold more than 1000 times its weight in water.

Moreover, the base of the serum is mineral-rich thermal water.

Unlike so many serums on the market, this one has few ingredients. Plus, it’s free of oils, artificial fragrances, and silicone. It won’t leave a sticky residue or make your skin feel greasy.

6. TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum for Face

Perhaps the best affordable vitamin c serum is this one from TruSkin.

It’s cruelty-free and made from 72% organic components. There are no parabens, either.

Other ingredients include aloe, MSM, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, and witch hazel.

TruSkin offers a 90-day money-back guarantee, which allows you to try it without risk. You don’t even need to send the bottle back to them if you’re not happy with the product.

7. TruSkin Vitamin C-Plus Super Serum

Combine the benefits of vitamin C and retinol with this serum from TruSkin. It will rejuvenate your complexion as it smooths wrinkles and lessens hyperpigmentation.

Retinol is one of the best anti-aging treatments available over-the-counter. It’s blended with niacinamide, salicylic acid, and hyaluronic acid in this product.

It might be a little strong if you have sensitive skin. Limit its use to two or three times per week.

8. CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid

The best drugstore vitamin c serum is CeraVe’s version. It’s free of artificial fragrances and parabens, and it won’t clog pores.

It’s an excellent moisturizer as it has hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides. The ceramides fortify the skin’s natural barrier against moisture loss.

Regular use should improve both your skin tone and texture.

9. Peter Thomas Roth Potent C Power Serum

This fragrance-free serum has a different type of vitamin C. It’s called THD ascorbate. This ingredient is stable, not prone to oxidizing, and it absorbs well.

It also blends well with the vitamin E and ferulic acid in the formula. Together, they repair the skin to turn back the clock.

The manufacturer suggests using it wherever it’s needed: the face, the neck, or the back of the hands.

10. Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum

Here’s another high-end serum that uses stable and easily-absorbed THD ascorbate. Sunday Riley recommends it for oily skin.

Within minutes after applying it, you should see smaller pores and a brighter tone.

11. LilyAna Naturals Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid

The best natural vitamin c serum doesn’t have parabens, artificial dyes, or fragrances. Be sure to store it in a place that’s cool and dry.

The ingredients include botanical hyaluronic acid, MSM, aloe, vitamin E, jojoba, gotu kola, wild geranium, and dandelion. These will help with and dry circles, scars, fine lines, and blemishes.

12. Ebanel Vitamin C Serum for Face with Hyaluronic Acid 20%

Ebanel uses liposomal technology to help the serum penetrate deeply. Yes, it has a medicinal odor as there’s no artificial fragrance.

Enjoy it every day as they recommend finishing it within three months to avoid spoilage.

It corrects dark spots and diminishes redness with ferulic acid, vitamin B5, and vitamin E. At the same time, it promotes the production of collagen and elastin to plump the skin.

13. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum with Konjac Root, Hyaluronic Acid, and Ferulic Acid

If you spend time reading labels as I do, it can be frustrating to find a product without a lot of chemicals. Even something like serum may come with preservatives, artificial fragrances, and silicone.

But Mad Hippie’s product contains only safe and natural ingredients. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) gives the serum a number 1 rating for a shallow hazard to health.

It has a form of vitamin C that absorbs well but doesn’t tend to spoil easily. It’s called sodium ascorbyl phosphate.

Moreover, it’s fortified with vitamin E, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, and botanical extracts.

If it doesn’t work well enough for you, the company offers a refund.

14. InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid & Vit E

InstaNatural points out that their serum doesn’t just fight signs of aging. It also treats acne by unclogging pores.

The rich hydration from hyaluronic acid hydrates without making the skin oilier. At the same time, vitamin C and E plus ferulic acid repair damage like hyperpigmentation.

15. Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Dry Skin Cocktail

Have you ever heard of Arctic Cloudberry? It’s a fruit that contains more vitamin C than an orange does.

Lumene uses this fruit as a source of vitamin C for the serum. Therefore, it’s free of parabens, dyes, mineral oil, and formaldehyde.

16. Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

If your skin is too sensitive for regular vitamin C serums, try this one from Mario Badescu. It has 7.5% ascorbic acid alongside hyaluronic acid.

Although it’s mild, users say that their under-eye circles have faded, and their complexion looks more radiant.

It’s made for all skin types.

Other ingredients include cucumber and ginseng extracts, collagen, aloe, and lavender oil.

17. KLAIRS Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

This serum has the mildest concentration of vitamin C – only 5%. If it still gives you trouble, you can get used to it by adding a couple of drops to your normal face moisturizer for a few days.

If you have allergies, be sure to read the label, as there are many other components in the bottle. Plant extracts and peptides make up some of the lists.

18. Eve Hansen Vitamin C Serum

Firm your skin and fade discoloration with vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and a host of other ingredients in this serum. It’s a vegan formula that’s made in the USA and free of parabens and phthalates.

If you glance at the label, you might notice an ingredient called acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer. Then you might wonder what something with such a chemical name is doing in a “natural” serum.

Not to worry, it’s a thickening agent and an emulsifier that’s common in cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group rates it a 1 for low hazard (4).

19. Amara Organics Vitamin C Serum

There is a proprietary kind of vitamin C called STAY-C 50 in this serum. It doesn’t oxidize easily, and it absorbs quickly into the skin. The body can use it without problems.

It also has hyaluronic acid and vitamin E.

As the manufacturer’s name would indicate, they don’t include chemicals like artificial dyes, fragrances, or parabens.

20. Vitamin C Serum for the Face by Go Radiance

If you use a lot of vitamin C serum, this brand offers a deal. Their bottle is twice the size of competitors.

Furthermore, it has a 2-year shelf life.

The blend features 72% organic ingredients, including an amino complex and hyaluronic acid.

21. Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Eye Serum

Erase crow’s feet and dark circles with this eye serum. It won’t make your eyes burn or your skin sting. And you can get results even if you only use it once a day. 

22. Vitamin C serum 22 by serumtologie

The serum 22 name comes from the fact that it has 22% vitamin C. That’s one of the highest concentrations we found during our reviews.

But it’s not just vitamin C inside. There are also ferulic acid, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid—pretty much standard fare.

Happily, it’s free of petrochemicals, dyes, perfumes, parabens, and phthalates.

23. Claire-ity 25% Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E

The serum with the highest amount of vitamin C has to be this one. With witch hazel and rosemary, it shrinks pores and reduces oiliness.

And with hyaluronic acid and aloe, it adds plenty of hydration.

The company offers a 90-day satisfaction guarantee.


Pamper your acne-prone skin with the best vitamin C serums.

Over time, you’ll be impressed with how much your complexion improves.

Your skin will be softer, younger, and more radiant.

If you discovered a serum today that you love using, tell us about it in the comments below.


1. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C by Alexander J Michels, published September 2011, accessed December 12, 2019

2. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C by Alexander J Michels, published September 2011, accessed December 12, 2019

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20367669 by Woolery-Lloyd H., et al., accessed December 12, 2019

4. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredients/700138-ACRYLATES;;_C10-30_ALKYL_ACRYLATE_CROSSPOLYMER accessed December 13, 2019

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