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How Long Does It Take For Vitamin C To Work?

The skin changes seen with Vitamin C do not occur quickly. Vitamin C serum can take 12- 16 weeks to work on dark spots and 6 - 12 months to work on wrinkles. But it is a very good skin care ingredient and is worth the wait in most skin types.


How long it takes for Vitamin C to clear skin depends upon:

Making sure you are using products in your skin care routine to make Vitamin C work better is the only way to make Vitamin C work faster.


Learn more about how to clear skin fast in this blog.

Ascorbic acid, vitamin c

How Long Does It Take Vitamin C Serum To Work On Melasma?

Melasma is a stubborn skin condition that has dark spots on the skin. Vitamin C can take a long time to work on melasma, in fact melasma may never clear if you are only using Vitamin C to treat it.


Vitamin C is classified as a skin lightener because it has some exfoliation effects and inhibits tyrosinase, the enzyme that makes the skin pigment melanin.


But vitamin C is not the strongest tyrosinase inhibitor to lighten skin. In fact, it is not our first choice for melasma. We prefer using Vitamin C in a maintenance regimen to prevent melasma, but not to treat melasma.


You can learn more about skin care routines to treat melasma here. 


If you choose to use Vitamin C to treat melasma, this blog discusses dermatologist-approved Vitamin C serums for melasma.


You can speed up how fast Vitamin C works by following these tips:


and most importantly- use a tinted SPF of at least 15 EVERY day


Learn about Vitamin C serum to treat melasma. 

Why does it take so long for vitamin c to treat dark spots?

Why Does It Take So Long For Vitamin C To Work On Dark Spots?

How Can I Make Vitamin C Work Faster On Dark Spots?

vitamin C for wrinkles

How Long Does It Take Vitamin C To Work On Wrinkles?

Ascorbic acid helps increase collagen production but it takes at least 6- 12 months to see skin improvement.

Vitamin C will work faster on wrinkles if you are:



Although ascorbic acid will help wrinkles, the anti-aging effects of Vitamin C are not nearly as good or as fast as retinoids such as retinol.

Combine your Vitamin C with retinoids to see faster improvement of wrinkles.


Vitamin C serums are expensive, and they may not even be right for your Baumann Skin Type!

Before you waste time and money, shop for Vitamin C serums by your skin type.

These are the best Vitamin C serums:





Vitamin C is weak, unstable, and does not penetrate well into skin. There are many things that you need to do to make Vitamin C work better and faster.

Vitamin C serums are not right for everyone, so they may not work at all if they are not the right skin care product for your Baumann Skin Type®.


Make sure vitamin C serums will work on your skin issues by choosing other products in the skin care routine that will help Vitamin C serums be more effective.

I would hate for you to waste time and money using the wrong skin care products for your Baumann Skin Type!


Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

Best References and Scientific Publications on How Long It Takes Vitamin C to work:

  1. Baumann L. Antiaging Ingredients in Ch. 37 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Baumann, L. Chapters 40 and 55 in Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
  3. Correia, G., & Magina, S. (2023). Efficacy of topical vitamin C in melasma and photoaging: A systematic review. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.
  4. Fitzpatrick, R. E., & Rostan, E. F. (2002). Double‐blind, half‐face study comparing topical vitamin C and vehicle for rejuvenation of photodamage. Dermatologic surgery, 28(3), 231-236.
  5. Rattanawiwatpong, P., Wanitphakdeedecha, R., Bumrungpert, A., & Maiprasert, M. (2020). Anti‐aging and brightening effects of a topical treatment containing vitamin C, vitamin E, and raspberry leaf cell culture extract: a split‐face, randomized controlled trial. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 19(3), 671-676.
  6. Kalasho, B. D., Minokadeh, A., Zhang-Nunes, S., Zoumalan, R. A., Shemirani, N. L., Waldman, A. R., ... & Zoumalan, C. I. (2020). Evaluating the safety and efficacy of a topical formulation containing epidermal growth factor, tranexamic acid, vitamin C, arbutin, niacinamide and other ingredients as hydroquinone 4% alternatives to improve hyperpigmentation: a prospective, randomized, controlled split face study. Journal of Cosmetic Science, 71(5).
  7. Tian-Hua Xu, M. D., Chen, J. Z., Hong Li, M. D., Wu, M. D., Jia Luo, M. D., & Xing-Hua Gao, M. D. (2012). Split-face study of topical 23.8% L-ascorbic acid serum in treating photo-aged skin. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 11(1), 51-56.
  8. Murray, J. C., Burch, J. A., Streilein, R. D., Iannacchione, M. A., Hall, R. P., & Pinnell, S. R. (2008). A topical antioxidant solution containing vitamins C and E stabilized by ferulic acid provides protection for human skin against damage caused by ultraviolet irradiation. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 59(3), 418-425.
  9. Kim, S., Kim, J., Lee, Y. I., Jang, S., Song, S. Y., Lee, W. J., & Lee, J. H. (2022). Particulate matter‐induced atmospheric skin aging is aggravated by UVA and inhibited by a topical l‐ascorbic acid compound. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, 38(2), 123-131.

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