Sensitive Skin and Vitamin C Don't Always Mix—Here's What to Try Instead


(Image credit: @michellerosedrumm)

Although I love writing and learning about beauty, I won't pretend to be an expert on all skin types—that's what I turn to the pros for. What I can do, though, is speak about my experience with sensitive, acne-prone skin. If you also have it, then you know what a giant pain in the you-know-what it can be. My skin has generally tolerated dermatologist-loved ingredients like vitamin C pretty well, but I know that that's not the case for everyone. If you do tend to react to high concentrations of the ingredient, then you've come to the right place. You can still receive the benefits of this powerful brightening agent without the irritation.

You may want to try a facial oil that contains vitamin C-rich ingredients or one that has ascorbic acid at a lower concentration (10% or less) than some serums. I also want to note that that doesn't mean you can't use a vitamin C serum at all if you have sensitive skin—derms have a few tips in that regard. "While those with sensitive skin can still consider vitamin C oils, those with sensitive skin should try to avoid heavy fragrance as this can be irritating on the skin," says board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD. "Oils may help to nourish and soften the skin, especially if containing ingredients like squalane. Other considerations when using vitamin C with sensitive skin are the type of vitamin C and the concentration. Certain types of vitamin c such as pure L-ascorbic acid may be more irritating on the skin and often higher concentrations of vitamin C may be more irritating as well, while more stable formulations like THD ascorbate may be preferred for sensitive skin as they are less irritating."

According to board-certified dermatologist Brendan Camp, MD, vitamin C oils may also be helpful for those who have dry or dehydrated skin since they can provide a heftier dose of moisture. Whatever your skin type, combining vitamin C and skin-nourishing oils can be beneficial. If you're interested in trying one out for yourself, keep scrolling. Derms shared a few of their top picks and I threw in a few of my own favorites.


(Image credit: @jeannine.roxas)

Up Next: Sensitive Skin Doesn't Always Like Vitamin C—These 15 Serums Are Derm-Approved

Shawna Hudson
Associate Beauty Editor

Shawna Hudson has worked in editorial for over six years, with experience covering entertainment, fashion, culture, celebrities, and her favorite topic of all, beauty. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a degree in journalism and has written for other publications such as Bustle, The Zoe Report, Byrdie, Elite Daily, Mane Addicts, and more. She is currently an associate beauty editor at Who What Wear and hopes to continue feeding her (completely out-of-control) beauty obsession as long as she can. Stay up to date on her latest finds on Instagram @shawnasimonee.