Vitamin C skin sensitivity is fairly common, despite the lauded antioxidant’s reputation as the reigning champion in free radical defense and anti-aging superpowers. It’s one of the most effective anti-aging skincare actives you can use, whether you’re looking to fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation, improve firmness, soften fine lines, or brighten up a dull, sallow tone. Not only does Vitamin C help reverse the signs of aging, but it also functions as a barrier, shielding the skin from environmental aggressors like smoke and pollution, thereby helping to prevent photoaging.

However, while it may be one of the most transformative topical antioxidants available, it’s also one of the most high maintenance. Allergic reactions to C-infused skincare products are fairly common, often resulting in red bumps and itchy skin after application, and it’s also one of the more difficult ingredients to tolerate if you suffer from rosacea or simply have highly reactive, sensitive skin. Vitamin C is also notoriously difficult to stabilize and can be impacted a wide range of variables that can render your serum virtually useless without even knowing it.

Because of its less-than-stellar shelf life, many Vitamin C products are suspended in silicone bases, which is a common culprit for triggering breakouts and clogged pores. Fortunately, there are plenty of formulas capable of brightening, smoothing and fading, but that are far less aggressive than their conventional counterparts.

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