The 5 Best Vitamin C Serums for Sensitive Skin (2024 Review)

written by: Tom Qiao
last update: January 3, 2023

Having a vitamin C serum in your routine can help with brightening, hydrating, anti-aging, and protecting your skin (Pullar, 2017). However, most formulations may be too potent for sensitive skin. […]

Having a vitamin C serum in your routine can help with brightening, hydrating, anti-aging, and protecting your skin (Pullar, 2017). However, most formulations may be too potent for sensitive skin.

And so, in this article, we rounded up five vitamin C serums with gentle and non-irritating formulations. We also broke down their ingredients so that you know which one would work best on your sensitive skin.

Read on to find out more!

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What Is The Best Vitamin C Serum for Sensitive Skin?

Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Editor’s Choice: cocokind Vitamin C Serum with Sea Grape Caviar
  2. Best Drugstore Brand: Avène A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defense Serum
  3. Best Clean Beauty Brand: DERMA E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum
  4. Best for Dark Spots: Neogen Dermalogy Real Vita C Serum
  5. Best for Redness: Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

And of course, there’s the vitamin C, which comes in the form of sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP). It is less potent than other forms of vitamin C, making it safe for sensitive skin types. Nonetheless, it is just as beneficial as it fights free radicals, improves skin texture, and boosts collagen production (Byrdie)

According to cocokind’s website, this vitamin C serum has a pH of 5.0-5.5, which aligns with our skin’s natural pH range. This makes it less irritating than serums that use l-ascorbic acid, since those require an acidic pH (<3.5) for skin penetration (Pinnell, 2001).

Our Verdict: pH-balanced and fragrance-free, the cocokind vitamin C serum with sea grape caviar, hyaluronic acid, and SAP is a great brightening serum for sensitive skin!

 And although no one complained of an adverse reaction from this serum, just keep in mind that it contains fragrance.

Our Verdict: A gentle vitamin C serum from a trusted brand for sensitive skin, Avène A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defense Serum ticks all the right spots with its performance.

All these ingredients point to the product’s soothing abilities, making it great for dry and sensitive skin types.

Just be careful since several buyers complained about receiving expired or fake serums.

Our Verdict: Free your skin from dark spots and irritation with DERMA E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum and its 100% cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and altogether gentle formula!

These include:

  • Vitamin E: has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Panthenol: attracts moisture to the skin and strengthens the skin barrier
  • Collagen: smoothes wrinkles and keeps the skin plump
  • Hyaluronic Acid: increases skin elasticity

Thus, the Neogen Vitamin C Serum is great for all skin types -- even those with sensitive and acne prone skin. 

But if you’d rather not risk the possibility of skin irritation, you can also consider goodal Green Tangerine Vita C Dark Spot Serum+. It uses 70% green tangerine water from Jeju Island, a natural source of vitamin C. 

I personally use this serum, and it faded dark spots and brightened my acne prone skin after two weeks of regular use. It’s also free from fragrance, parabens, mineral oil, and alcohol, making it appropriate for sensitive skin.

Our Verdict: Experience a powerful (yet non-irritating!) dose of vitamin C with Neogen Dermalogy Real Vita C Serum and its Vita C Acerola-plex, SAP, citrus fruits, antioxidants, and hydrators!

It also contains:

  • Cucumber: soothes skin and preserves the skin barrier
  • Ginseng: reduces redness and puffiness
  • Hyaluronic Acid: increases skin moisture and reduces wrinkles and fine lines
  • Soluble Collagen: gives the skin a firm and youthful texture
  • Lavender Oil: reduces discoloration and fights acne

The lavender oil may irritate skin types with essential oil sensitivities though, so be mindful of that one.

Our Verdict: Expensive but effective, Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum soothes and brightens the skin with THD, 3-O-C, cucumber, ginseng, hyaluronic acid, and collagen!

Article written by Tom Qiao
Tom is the founder and editor of TheDermDetective.com where he applies his decades of personal experience with skincare problems like acne and acne scarring to provide readers with practical advice and product recommendations.

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