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Should You Use Vitamin C Serum With Light Therapy?

A bottle of serum next to an orange slice represents the relationship between vitamin C serum and red light therapy.


You may only get one chance to do most things in life — making a stellar first impression, arranging the perfect proposal, or seeing your favorite band on their farewell tour.

Other times, not only are you afforded a do-over, you can continue to improve for the rest of your life. This is the case for your skin and skincare routine.

Skin has the amazing ability to heal and regenerate. Skin regeneration and cell turnover occur naturally, and the right treatments promote this process, leading to smoother, clearer skin.

Two treatment options to achieve these results include vitamin C serum and red light therapy. But should you use vitamin C serum and red light therapy together?

Before we answer this question, let’s take a closer look at the details of each treatment option.


What Is Light Therapy?

While it’s been around for decades, light therapy has only become mainstream in the past few years. You may have noticed some buzz around this treatment option for a wide variety of skin conditions.

Light therapy works by penetrating through the layers of your skin to stimulate your cells — more specifically, the powerhouse of your cells, the mitochondria. Your cells absorb energy from the various wavelengths of light to produce multiple benefits, such as:

Light therapy may even lead to a release of endorphins, which reduce pain and stress. 

Healing Benefits of Red Light Therapy

The skin-healing benefits listed above come from a combination of light wavelengths. One of these wavelengths is red light, which can be used on its own and has a few skin-healing benefits other wavelengths don’t.

Two of the primary benefits of red light therapy are heightened collagen generation and improved blood flow. Together, these benefits help your skin heal from wounds — everything from injuries to surgical scars to canker sores. They also provide an excellent means of strengthening the skin, reducing signs of aging, and treating acne and other common skin conditions, like psoriasis and eczema. 

How Vitamin C Fits In

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals and environmental damage, including damage caused by UV radiation from the sun. Because of this protection, a vitamin C serum is an excellent way to fight premature aging, and because it’s anti-inflammatory, it works well to heal acne-prone skin.

Together, vitamin C serum and red light therapy are an excellent combination. Red light therapy enhances the skin-rejuvenating effects of vitamin C by increasing blood flow to the skin and boosting collagen production.

In most cases, a vitamin C serum is safe and effective to use either before or after your red light therapy session.

What Does the Science Say?

Clinical studies have demonstrated that vitamin C reduces oxidative stress, which refers to the imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals in your body. Plus, as a powerful antioxidant, topical vitamin C may be an effective way to treat hyperpigmentation and signs of aging and promote tissue healing.

While vitamin C effectively treats a variety of skin issues, dermatologists are still researching the best delivery methods and formulations for topical serums.


How to Use Vitamin C With Red Light Therapy

Interested in using vitamin C serum and red light therapy in tandem?

First, choose a high-quality vitamin C serum. Here are a few tips for finding the best one:

  • Look for packaging that protects the serum against exposure to light and air, which can cause the serum to degrade more quickly. High-quality serums come in dark-colored, airtight containers.
  • Test the consistency and absorbency of the vitamin C serum. The best serums won’t leave a greasy residue behind. They are lightweight formulas that absorb easily into the skin.
  • Find a serum that includes L-ascorbic acid and has a pH level between three and four.
  • Pay close attention to the concentration of vitamin C in the serum. Aim for a concentration of at least 10%, but lower than 20%. Anything higher than that can be irritating to your skin and may do more harm than good.

When using a vitamin C serum and red light therapy home device together, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for each product.

Before using any new skincare product, conduct an allergy test on a small area to make sure you don’t experience an adverse reaction. If you notice any redness, swelling, irritation, or pain, stop using the product and do not apply it to a larger area of skin. 

If you’re suffering from a chronic skin condition such as severe and frequent acne breakouts, consult your dermatologist before using a new skincare product.

Infographic: Should You Use Vitamin C Serum With Light Therapy?

Vitamin C Serum and Red Light Therapy: Final Thoughts

It’s perfectly safe to use a vitamin C serum and red light therapy together. In fact, the myriad benefits of vitamin C are likely to enhance the skin-healing effects of red light therapy, and vice versa.

Any serum you choose to use alongside light therapy should be a high-quality product that tackles the skin issues you care about most, such as hydration, protection, or healing.

Taking care of your skin can give you the confidence you need to step into the world and show everyone just how amazing you are! 

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