7 Best Vitamin C Serums for Hyperpigmentation (2022 ✅)

49Shares
We earn a commission if you buy through our links at no additional cost to you.

Discover the best vitamin C serums for hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and melasma.
Overall, our top recommendation is Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Serum.

In this article, we've rounded up the best vitamin C serums for hyperpigmentation, including dark spots, melasma, age spots, sun damage, and uneven skin tone.

But that's not all! We explain the science behind each product and why we recommend it so you know what you're getting for your cold hard cash. #SolvingSkinMysteries

Grab your favorite melanin inhibitor and let's get started!

Our Top Picks
Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector
  • Save

Editor's Choice: Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Serum
Simple, effective, and affordable, this 15% pure vitamin C serum is almost identical to SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic for a fraction of the price.
▷ Check Price     ▷ Full Review

La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum
  • Save

Best Drugstore Brand: La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum
French luxury brand La Roche-Posay doesn't disappoint with this 10% vitamin C serum featuring hyaluronic acid, neurosensine, salicylic acid, and thermal spring water.
▷ Check Price     ▷ Full Review

IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser
  • Save

Best Professional Brand: IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum
While an apple a day keeps the doctor away, Vital C a day keeps signs of aging at bay with vitamin C, vitamin E, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and loads of antioxidants.
▷ Check Price     ▷ Full Review

TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Facial Serum
  • Save

Most Popular Pick: TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Facial Serum
With 87K+ reviews and counting, this $20 vitamin C serum is by far the most popular but uses a vitamin C derivative (SAP) instead of pure vitamin C (L-AA).
▷ Check Price     ▷ Full Review

Meladerm
  • Save

Best for Dark Spots & Melasma: Meladerm by Civant Skin Care
Fight hyperpigmentation with an all-star team of vitamin C plus 12 world-class brightening agents like bearberry, kojic acid, licorice root, and azelaic acid, all in a hydroquinone-free formula that's been continuously perfected for over 20 years.
▷ Check Price     ▷ Full Review

ISDIN Flavo-C Ultraglican Daily Antioxidant Serum
  • Save

Best for Fine Lines & Wrinkles: ISDIN Flavo-C Ultraglican Daily Antioxidant Serum
Defy the laws of aging with this bestselling anti-aging ampoule that combines vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and UltraGlycans (proteoglycans) in one powerful formula.
▷ Check Price     ▷ Full Review

Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
  • Save

Best for Sensitive Skin: Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
Refresh your sensitive skin with a gentle formula of 5% vitamin C at a milder pH along with skin soothers like centella asiatica, amino acids, peptides, and tea extracts.
▷ Check Price     ▷ Full Review

RELATED:

What Is The Best Vitamin C Serum for Hyperpigmentation?

Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Editor’s Choice: Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Serum
  2. Best Drugstore Brand: La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum
  3. Best Professional Brand: IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum
  4. Most Popular Pick: TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Facial Serum
  5. Best for Dark Spots & Melasma: Meladerm by Civant Skin Care
  6. Best for Fine Lines & Wrinkles: ISDIN Flavo-C Ultraglican Daily Antioxidant Serum
  7. Best for Sensitive Skin: Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector
  • Save
1
EDITOR'S CHOICE

Vichy Liftactiv 
Vitamin C Serum

Sold @ 
Shop Now

Best For:

✅ Brighter Skin
✅ Smoother Skin
✅ Dark Spots
✅ Uneven Skin Tone

Key Ingredients:

⭐ 15% Pure Vitamin C
⭐ Vitamin E
⭐ Pine Bark Extract
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid

Key Features:

👍 0.34 oz / 10 mL
👍 Only 11 Ingredients
👍 Allergy Tested
👍 Paraben-Free
👍 Fragrance-Free
👍 7,000+ Reviews
👍 Extremely Affordable!

Are you struggling with dark spots or uneven skin tone?

Let Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum actively lift away your skin worries with a powerful potion of 15% pure vitamin C, vitamin E, pine bark extract, and hyaluronic acid.

This formula is almost identical to SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (the godfather of vitamin C serums); the main difference is that Vichy uses pine bark extract instead of ferulic acid.

That means you get to enjoy a world-class formulation for a fraction of the price! (SkinCeuticals retails for $166 😮)

Both feature 15% pure vitamin C (a.k.a. L-ascorbic acid), which is the most effective type of vitamin C as your body can use it directly without any conversion (Pinnell, 2001).

Both feature vitamin E, a complimentary antioxidant that helps stabilize L-ascorbic acid to extend its shelf life and shield your skin from free radical damage (Traber, 2011).

And both have very simple ingredient lists (Vichy at 11 and SkinCeuticals at 12) with no additives or fragrances (however, only SkinCeuticals is alcohol-free).

Now, for the differences:

  • Vichy uses pinus pinaster bark extract (a.k.a. Pycnogenol), rich in plant antioxidants and derived from French Maritime pine trees, instead of 0.5% ferulic acid
  • Vichy uses hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, a lower molecular weight and "chopped up" version of its bigger brother, hyaluronic acid, instead of sodium hyaluronate
  • Vichy is miles more affordable at $28.50 for 0.34 oz ($84 per oz) versus SkinCeuticals at $166 for 1 oz (twice the price!) plus the smaller bottle size limits vitamin C oxidation

Unfortunately, Vichy doesn't disclose the pH (one customer said it's 2.5) whereas SkinCeuticals is formulated at a pH between 2.0-3.5, in line with the Duke Antioxidant Patent.

Nonetheless, I'd bet that Vichy is using a pH below 3.5 since research has shown it's required for L-ascorbic acid to effectively penetrate your skin barrier (Pinnell, 2001).

Our Verdict: With over 7K+ reviews, Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Serum is our Editor's Choice because it's simple, effective, and affordable for everyone! Featuring 15% pure vitamin C, vitamin E, pine bark extract, and hyaluronic acid, this popular vitamin C serum is almost identical to the world-class SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic for a fraction of the price.

Shop Now
La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum
  • Save
2
BEST DRUGSTORE BRAND

La Roche-Posay 
Vitamin C Serum

Sold @ 
Shop Now

Best For:

✅ Lack of Radiance
✅ Fine Lines & Wrinkles
✅ Uneven Skin Texture
✅ Acne-Prone Skin
✅ Sensitive Skin

Key Ingredients:

⭐ 10% Pure Vitamin C
⭐ Vitamin E
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid
⭐ Neurosensine
⭐ Salicylic Acid
⭐ Thermal Spring Water

Key Features:

👍 1.0 oz / 30 mL
👍 Allergy Tested
👍 Paraben-Free
👍 Oil-Free
👍 Non-Comedogenic
👍 3,000+ Reviews
👍 Very Affordable!

From the hot springs of La Roche-Posay, France, comes a luxury drugstore brand that we all know and love!

With bestsellers in every skincare category, it's no surprise that La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum made our list.

Featuring 10% pure vitamin C (a.k.a. L-ascorbic acid), vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, and neurosensine (dipeptide), this multi-tasking formula is vraiment parfait for brightening, smoothing, hydrating, and soothing.

Studies have shown that 10-20% L-ascorbic acid is the optimal concentration for skin penetration (Pinnell, 2001).

At 10% L-AA, La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum meets these minimum requirements, but is best suited for lack of radiance, fine lines, mild wrinkles, and sensitive skin.

Vitamin E stabilizes L-Ascorbic Acid to form a synergistic antioxidant network that protects your skin from UV-induced photodamage and environmental pollution.

Meanwhile, hyaluronic acid "plumps up" your skin by holding up to 1,000x its own weight in H2O molecules (Sutherland, 1998) while neurosensine relieves rosacea symptoms like redness and sensitivity (Seite, 2013).

Finally, salicylic acid clears blemishes and unclog pores while thermal spring water, rich in minerals like selenium, soothes sensitive skin and quenches dry skin (Seite, 2013).

On the other hand, La Roche-Posay is not alcohol- or fragrance-free and uses 30 ingredients (including silicones) compared to only 11 for Vichy and 12 for SkinCeuticals.

Our Verdict: Why travel to France when you can have La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum with 10% pure vitamin C, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, neurosensine, salicylic acid, and spring water in the palm of your hand (or face) for only $40 an oz, making it a bonafide bargain!

Shop Now
IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum
  • Save
3
BEST PROFESSIONAL BRAND

IMAGE Skincare 
Vital C Hydrating 
Anti-Aging Serum

Sold @ 
Shop Now

Best For:

✅ Age Spots
✅ Discoloration
✅ Fine Lines & Wrinkles
✅ Dull, Dry, or Aging Skin

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Vitamin C Complex
⭐ Vitamin E
⭐ Peptide Complex
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid
⭐ Antioxidant Blend

Key Features:

👍 1.7 oz / 50 mL
👍 4 Types of Vitamin C
👍 Paraben-Free
👍 Fragrance-Free
👍 1,000+ Reviews
👍 Excellent Value for Money

You know it's VITAL to keep your body and skin full of vitamins and antioxidants to keep growing and glowing.

(yup, start peeling those oranges!)

But when you're living your best (read: busy) life, you need IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum.

This professional quality vitamin C seum is like a complete multi-vitamin for your skin with 4 types of vitamin C, vitamin E, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants.

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but Vital C everyday keeps your skin soft, smooth, and bright!

4 types of vitamin C, including L-ascorbic acid, join forces for one purpose: to diminish age spots, fade discoloration, and revitalize dull, dry, or aging skin.

Meanwhile, peptides including palmitoyl oligopeptide (part of MATRIXYL® 3000) and acetyl hexapeptide-3 (Argireline®) smooth fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production and supplying its building blocks.

Hyaluronic acid restores moisture to dehydrated skin while an antioxidant blend of grape seed, algae, green tea, and Indian gooseberry extract nourishes and protects your skin.

All of these ingredients are kept safe in an opaque bottle that limits light and air exposure, which helps preserve the potency of antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea.

IMAGE Skincare retails for $75 for 1.7 oz ($44 per oz), on par with La Roche-Posay ($40 per oz), but provides better value than Vichy ($84 per oz) and SkinCeuticals ($166 per oz).

While IMAGE Skincare uses 4 types of vitamin C, the actual percentage is not disclosed, making it difficult to determine its relative effectiveness, especially as it uses 3 vitamin C derivatives.

In addition, Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum includes a whopping 79 ingredients compared to only 30 for La Roche-Posay, 11 for Vichy, and 12 for SkinCeuticals.

Having said that, there's plenty of amazing ingredients in there (you get a lot for what you pay!) but if you have allergies or sensitive skin, I recommend reviewing the ingredient list first.

Our Verdict: An apple a day keeps the doctor away but Vital C once a day keeps signs of aging at bay with a complete multi-vitamin complex of vitamin C, vitamin E, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants like grape seed and green tea.

Shop Now
TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Facial Serum
  • Save
4
MOST POPULAR PICK

TruSkin Naturals 
Vitamin C Facial Serum

Shop Now

Best For:

✅ Brighter Skin
✅ Smoother Skin
✅ Hyperpigmentation
✅ Uneven Skin Tone
✅ Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Vitamin C Derivative (SAP)
⭐ MSM
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid
⭐ Vitamin E
⭐ Botanical Extracts

Key Features:

👍 1 oz / 30 mL
👍 Paraben-Free
👍 Fragrance-Free
👍 Certified Cruelty-Free
👍 Made in the USA
👍 87,000+ Reviews!!!
👍 90-Day Guarantee
👍 Extremely Affordable

With 87,000+ reviews (and counting), TruSkin Naturals is by far the most popular vitamin C serum ever!

This $20 vitamin C serum is formulated, manufactured, and bottled in the USA for maximum freshness and comes with an industry-leading 90-day money back guarantee.

Instead of L-ascorbic acid, TruSkin Naturals uses sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP), a common vitamin C derivative.

While SAP is more stable and offers a longer shelf life, studies show that SAP is less effective than L-AA as it must first be converted into L-AA by your body (Stamford, 2012).

One study found that at least 10x the concentration of SAP was required to match the effects of L-AA for stimulating collagen production (Geesin, 1993).

Nonetheless, at this price point, most vitamin C serums on the market use vitamin C derivatives like SAP (Vichy is a noteworthy exception that still uses 15% L-AA).

While SAP helps brighten dark spots, MSM (organic sulfur) prevents collagen breakdown, reduces inflammation, and detoxifies your skin by increasing cell wall permeability.

Moreover, MSM requires plenty of vitamin C to function, making SAP the perfect (dance) partner! (Era Organics)

Hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and botanicals like aloe vera, gotu kola, horsetail, dandelion, and geranium round out this formula with their hydrating and soothing properties.

With 87,000+ reviews and a $20 price tag, it's hard not to recommend TruSkin Naturals.

However, it's not as potent as my earlier recommendations (SAP is not as effective as L-AA) and the actual concentration of vitamin C is not disclosed, either.

For about $10 more, Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum is an outstanding budget option as well with 15% L-AA instead of SAP (just keep in mind it's a 0.34 oz bottle size).

TruSkin Naturals Coupon: Save 10% using discount code TRUSKIN when you shop directly at TruSkin Naturals and get free shipping in the US on orders over $30. I highly recommend their Day Night Duo with a full size Vitamin C Facial Serum and Retinol Facial Serum for $35.

Our Verdict: With 87K+ reviews, TruSkin Naturals is truly the most popular vitamin C serum on Earth (and maybe Mars, too) with sodium ascorbyl phosphate, MSM, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and botanical extracts, to keep your skin smooth, youthful, and glowing!

Shop Now
Meladerm
  • Save
5
BEST FOR DARK SPOTS & MELASMA

Meladerm by 
Civant Skin Care

Shop Now

Best For:

✅ Dark Spots
✅ Melasma
✅ Age Spots
✅ Sun Damage
✅ Uneven Skin Tone

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Bearberry
⭐ Emblica Fruit
⭐ Kojic Acid
⭐ Lemon
⭐ Licorice Root
⭐ Vitamin B3
⭐ Vitamin C
⭐ White Mulberry
⭐ Alpha Arbutin
⭐ Azelaic Acid
⭐ GigaWhite™
⭐ SymWhite®
⭐ Sepiwhite™

Key Features:

👍 1.7 oz / 50 mL
👍 13+ Active Ingredients
👍 Cruelty-Free & Vegan
👍 Hydroquinone-Free
👍 Paraben-Free
👍 Fragrance-Free
👍 Made in the USA
👍 Money Back Guarantee

You know that vitamin C is a powerful brightening agent, but did you know it's even better when combined with fellow melanin inhibitors like bearberry (beta arbutin), emblica fruit (Indian gooseberry), and kojic acid?

Meladerm by Civant Skin Care combines over a dozen world-class dark spot correctors into a scientifically proven formula that's been perfected for over 20 years now.

The result?

A seriously potent, yet hydroquinone-free, skin lightening serum that helps "lift away" severe hyperpigmentation such as melasma, age spots, sun damage, and more.

Meladerm achieves these results by tackling dark spots at their root - overactive melanin production - with 13 different melanin inhibitors:

  • Bearberry: derived from the Uva Ursi plant, bearberry (a.k.a. beta arbutin) is a natural derivative of hydroquinone that has demonstrated clinical efficacy in treating melasma patients (Hollinger, 2018)
  • Emblica Fruit: derived from Indian gooseberry, studies show it's as effective as 2% and 4% hydroquinone when used with licorice root and belides, or with kojic acid and glycolic acid, respectively (Costa, 2010 and Draelos, 2010)
  • Kojic Acid: another fungus-derived compound that reduces melanin production, often used in conjuction with 2% hydroquinone (Hollinger, 2018)
  • Lemon: effective in small concentrations, lemon contains trace amounts of vitamin C and the alpha hydroxy acid, citric acid (Healthline)
  • Licorice Root: a staple in skin lightening circles, licorice root contains glabridin and liquiritin, both compounds that reduce melanin production and uneven skin tone (Yokota, 1998 and Hollinger, 2018)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide): this popular and powerful brightening agent prevents melanin from reaching the upper levels of your skin by interrupting melanosome transfer (Hollinger, 2018)
  • Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate): this popular vitamin C derivative helps brighten and protect your skin while also stimulating collagen production.
Meladerm with Box
  • Save
  • White Mulberry: derived from dried mulberry leaves, one study found 75% mulberry extract provided significant improvements in melasma patients (Alvin, 2011)
  • Alpha Arbutin: a chemically modified version of bearberry (beta arbutin) that's even more effective based on a company-sponsored study (Civant Skin Care)
  • Azelaic Acid: a fungus-derived compound that inhibits tyrosinase, especially in highly active melanocytes. In other words, your new BFF for uneven skin tone! (Hollinger, 2018)

In addition, Meladerm features a number of trademarked ingredients, including:

  • GigaWhite™: a proprietary blend of 7 organically Swiss alpine plants that were selected for their melanin inhibiting properties (LotionCrafter)
  • SymWhite®: an antioxidant derived from pine tree bark that helps brighten your skin without the side effects of harsh ingredients (SpecialChem)
  • Sepiwhite™: derived from phenylalanine, this compound inhibits melanin synthesis from the hypothalamus according to the manufacturer (LotionCrafter)

Overall, Meladerm is an excellent option if your regular vitamin C serum isn't delivering results.

It's a bit expensive at $54 for 1 oz but if you buy the popular 2 pack option, it's only $42 per oz, which is right in-line with La Roche-Posay at $40 per oz.

Our Verdict: Harness the power of vitamin C and a dozen more brighteners with Meladerm, a scientifically proven skin lightening serum with no hydroquinone, parabens, or fragrances to treat and prevent severe hyperpigmentation like melasma, age spots, and uneven tone.

Shop Now
ISDIN Flavo-C Ultraglican Daily Antioxidant Serum
  • Save
6
BEST FOR FINE LINES & WRINKLES

ISDIN 
Flavo-C Ultraglican 
Daily Antioxidant Serum

Sold @ 
Shop Now

Best For:

✅ Fine Lines
✅ Wrinkles
✅ Enhanced Elasticity
✅ Enhanced Firmness

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Pure Vitamin C
⭐ Vitamin E
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid
⭐ UltraGlycans

Key Features:

👍 2 mL Ampoule
👍 10 or 30 Count
👍 Maximum Freshness
👍 Resealable Cap
👍 Non-Comedogenic
👍 1,000+ Reviews
👍 Makes the Perfect Gift!

Whether you're shopping for yourself or someone else, ISDIN Flavo-C Ultraglican is the perfect gift!

Impress your recipient with Barcelona-based ISDIN's innovative ampoule technology which maximizes ingredient freshness by preventing air exposure.

Each 2 mL ampoule can be used twice and includes a resealable cap. ISDIN recommends warming up the liquid in your hands before applying to your face and neck.

The usual suspects - pure vitamin C, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid - are all present, plus a special guest UltraGlycans, which ISDIN describes as an "innovative combination of proteoglycans and pre-proteoglycans".

Proteoglycans are essential to the proper functioning of skin tissue and serve many functions including hydration, structural support, and cell communication (Martiderm).

Long overshadowed by collagen and hyaluronic acid, researchers are starting to understand the importance of proteoglycans in the extracellular matrix (ECM) for promoting skin elasticity and firmness (Smith, 2015). 

That's why I recommend ISDIN Flavo-C Ultraglican for fine lines and wrinkles as it combines 3 powerful anti-aging ingredients - vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and proteoglycans - to repair damaged skin structures and promote collagen growth for brighter & smoother skin.

On the other hand, it's a bit pricey at 10 ampoules (2 mL each) for $38 (about $57 per oz) and the actual concentration of vitamin C is not disclosed, either.

However, this isn't completely unreasonable when you consider the additional manufacturing and packacing costs of ampoules compared to traditional glass bottles.

Our Verdict: Cheaper than a dermatologist visit, ISDIN Flavo-C Ultraglican uses state-of-the-art UltraGlycans (proteoglycans and pre-proteoglycans), vitamin C, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid to restore healthy, radiant, and bouncy skin with less noticeable wrinkles and fine lines.

Shop Now
Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
  • Save
7
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN

Dear, Klairs 
Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

Shop Now

Best For:

✅ Sensitive Skin

Key Ingredients:

⭐ 5% Pure Vitamin C
⭐ Centella Asiatica
⭐ Fruit Extracts
⭐ Amino Acids
⭐ Peptides
⭐ Tea Extracts

Key Features:

👍 1.18 oz / 35 mL
👍 1 Million Units Sold
👍 Gentle Formula
👍 Alcohol-Free
👍 Fragrance-Free
👍 5,000+ Reviews
👍 Extremely Affordable!

For sensitive skin types, you need a gentle formula that's easy on your skin but still tough on pigmentation.

The bestselling Korean brand Dear, Klairs has the solution with Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop featuring 5% L-AA and an assortment of skin soothers like centella asiatica.

5% L-AA at a pH of 3.81 (Sokoglam) does not meet the minimum requirements for an effective vitamin C serum (e.g. 10-20% L-AA at pH < 3.5) (Pinnell, 2001).

However, it's precisely because of its low concentration and less acidic pH that Klairs is perfect for sensitive skin (or as a booster for your daily face serum).

The number of ingredients is higher than I'd like to see (45) but the formula is alcohol- and fragrance-free (unfortunately, it's not oil-free due to lavender oil).

There's no need for alarm, however, as most of these ingredients soothe skin, like centella asiatica (tiger grass) which helps restore your skin barrier (Bylka, 2013).

RELATED:

Meanwhile, amino acids like lysine and proline and peptides like sh-olgopeptide-1 help your skin rebuild both dermal and epidermal skin tissue for a smoother-looking complexion.

Finally, two types of tea extract (camellia sinensis callus culture and theanine) lets your face "keep calm and carry on", no matter how crazy your day (or night) gets!

Our Verdict: With over 1 million units sold, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop by Wishtrend is a blockbuster Korean vitamin C serum that's perfect for sensitive skin types as it uses 5% L-AA and includes skin soothers like centella asiatica, amino acids, peptides, and tea extracts.

Shop Now

Save to Pinterest

Best Vitamin C Serum for Hyperpigmentation - Pinterest
  • Save
  • Save
49 Shares
49 Shares 5.4K views
49 Shares
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram
Share via