Vitamin C Cream or Serum; Which is Better?

There are a lot of vitamin C skin care products out there – a lot might wonder which is better: vitamin C cream or serum?

Role of Vitamin C for the Skin

Vitamin C also referred to as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an organic compound that has antioxidant effects in the body including the skin. The skin plays an important role in the metabolism of the body. First, it has synthetic functions in which case it is involved in the formation of vitamin D which is essential in musculosketal development. Secondly it has a barrier function against ultraviolet rays of the sun and infective agents and finally it functions as an excretory organ.

It is the excretory function that is of concern to us. During metabolism the body produces certain substances called free radical as a result of incompletely broken down gases such as oxygen and hydrogen sulphide. These are then excreted by the skin via minute pores. In addition, the ultraviolet radiations lead to formation of more reactive oxygen metabolites.

The active ingredients in vitamin C work by neutralizing the free radicals such as hydrogen peroxide, super oxygen and nitrites. These substances if not cleared from the skin can lead to the skin drying, wrinkling, scarring and developing acne. This will make someone appear more aged than they actually are.

Vitamin C Cream or Serum

For the upper mentioned reasons, vitamin C has been incorporated in many beauty products such as creams and serum. These two products work the same way by neutralizing, conditioning and moisturizing the skin but the outcomes are quite different for a keen observer and/or user.

There are many forms of vitamin C in both the two products; ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate, ascorbyl palmate, MAP (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate), SAP (sodium ascorbyl phosphate) and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate. These substances are present in different proportion in each of these 2 products: vitamin C cream or serum.

Vitamin C Cream or Serum – differences between the 2 type of products

When speaking of vitamin C cream or serum, some people might consider them to be the same thing. They are wrong because according to manufactures there are essential differences between the two. In terms of composition, vitamin C serum is rich in the following forms of Vitamin C: L-ascorbate, ascorbyl palmate and lower concentrations of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.

On the other hand, vitamin C cream is composed of predominantly of L-ascorbate with glycerin, Aloe Vera as well as vitamin A and C. Both of these products contain between 3 and 10% vitamin C but some can have as much as 20% of vitamin C. The relative differences in composition are responsible for the little disparity in the outcomes of their use. Moreover, those who have used both the two might have noticed some advantages and disadvantages of each product. So, when thinking what to select between vitamin C cream or serum, just consider the pros and cons of each.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Vitamin C cream


– Vitamin C cream has lower concentrations of L-ascorbate and therefore more stable. This results in lesser chances of skin irritation.

– Vitamin C cream usually has longer shelf life. This is because of the lower concentration of the unstable vitamin C.

– Such products are cheaper compared to their serum components and they can easily be made from natural sources at home.

– Contains other substances such as vitamin E and B3, Aloe Vera and glycerin all of which make it gentler for the skin.
– Vitamin C cream is more moisturizing than the serum


– Vitamin C cream can cause some tingling sensation on the skin following application which if severe can cause itchiness and skin redness.

– Does not penetrate the skin adequately as is the case with vitamin C serum and therefore takes longer to produce effect.

Advantages and disadvantages of vitamin C serum


– Vitamin C serum is more effective as an anti-aging agent compared to vitamin C cream because it penetrates the skin deeply.

– It rejuvenates the skin and removes wrinkles faster than the cream. This leaves the skin radiant after just a few applications.


– Since the serum is more concentrated than the cream it is therefore unstable. This means that it can cause skin irritation when applied.

– Has a shorter shelf life because the higher concentration of vitamins oxidizes faster.

– Some could argue that vitamin C serum products are more expensive and cannot be prepared at home.

So, what to select between vitamin C cream or serum?

Considering the information above, it is evident that both of these products have some advantages and disadvantages. The best vitamin C skin care product for you is the one that your body responds to faster and in a safe manner.

Do you usually go for vitamin C cream or serum; what other pros and cons do you know when thinking of vitamin c cream or serum?

Photo Credits:
Vitamin C via photopin (license)

9 thoughts on “Vitamin C Cream or Serum; Which is Better?

  • February 25, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    My wife usually uses vitamin C cream ….she says that it’s better for long term usage.

    great post by the way…:)

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