DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face - Dr. Axe

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DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face


Vitamin C serum for the face - Dr. Axe

Skincare is so important, so no wonder there’s such a plethora of products out there to choose from — including in our natural foods grocery stores. As a result, it’s pretty confusing, too, with all of the choices on the market. But if you haven’t tried vitamin C, such as a DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face, you may be missing out some big skin benefits.

While we know that eating vitamin C–rich foods like citrus fruits, berries and dark leafy greens (such as kale) can definitely heal inside the body, making vitamin C as part of your daily skin regimen can heal from outside-in as well! Vitamin C provides repair and growth of the skin tissue. It also contains amazing and powerful antioxidants that can protect the skin from damaging free radicals.

How Vitamin C Works for Youthful Skin

Vitamin C is one of nature’s amazing and naturally occurring antioxidants in nature. While plants can synthesize the vitamin C into useful form, our bodies cannot because we are missing the enzyme L-glucono-gamma lactone oxidase that is required for the synthesis of vitamin C.

That is why we have to obtain our vitamin C from citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, papaya and vegetables, like leafy greens and broccoli. Sailors knew this having carried vitamin C-rich foods during their travels to help them avoid scurvy and other diseases. Eating forms of vitamin C is definitely crucial in good health, but absorption of it is limited.

Therefore, applying a DIY vitamin C serum topically can be of great benefit to the skin and can become a part of your natural skin care routine. (1)


Related: Alpha Arbutin Benefits for Skin + How to Use It


1. Prevents Changes Due to Photoaging

Because vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, it’s a great option to treat and prevent effects of photoaging. A study of 19  patients between the ages of 36 and 72 years who had Fitzpatrick skin types I, II and III, and mild to moderately photodamaged facial skin were assessed.

The study showed significant improvements by about 68–74 percent improvement in their skin after three months of use of ascorbic acid application. The review showed significant improvement in fine wrinkles, texture and skin tone of photodamaged skin. (2)

2. Reduces Hyperpigmentation

Though hyperpigmentation is relatively harmless, it can cause those unsightly dark spots on the skin, especially the face and hands. Basically, patches of skin appear darker in color. This happens when there is an excess of melanin that creates deposits in the skin.

You may have heard of age or “liver” spots. These are the visible signs of hyperpigmentation and typically caused by damaging sun exposure. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps brighten the skin through what is called tyrosinase inhibitors. These little inhibitors help prevent the development of excessive amounts of melanin. (3)

3. Provides Essential Collagen Support

Vitamin C helps develop healthy collagen by teaming up with certain enzymes that are responsible for the effectiveness of collagen molecules. As such, it helps provide support for connective tissue plus the healing of wounds and blemishes on the skin.

Additionally, vitamin C plays a role in collagen synthesis by enhancing the collagen “gene expression” and overall regulation of collagen synthesis. Scurvy, as mentioned above, is due to impaired collagen synthesis — or the result of too little vitamin C. While scurvy is not heard of as much today, it brings awareness to the power of a DIY vitamin C serum for the skin and the importance of collagen support. (4)

Related: What Is Ferulic Acid? Benefits for Skin & Beyond

Homemade Vitamin C Serum

Using a small bowl and a whisk, combine the vitamin C powder and filtered water. Blend well. As mentioned, the vitamin C can help brighten the skin and provide more youthful looking appearance. It can fade age spots and improve elasticity!

Now, add the aloe and blend again. Aloe vera has long been known for its amazing skin benefits. In fact, the ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality.” Today, it’s still used to treat various skin conditions, wounds and burns, and even eczema and psoriasis.

Once you have added the aloe, add the vitamin E oil and the frankincense oil until everything is completely mixed together. Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an amazing antioxidant. When combined with vitamin C and the rest of these ingredients, it becomes even more powerful! The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) described the process of neutralizing free radicals using vitamin E. These free radicals can cause damage to cells and may even add to the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The ODS goes on to explain that the anti-inflammatory benefits it possesses can inhibit platelet aggregation and provide a boost to the immune system. (6)

Frankincense is one of my all-time favorite essential oils. This ingredient tops off the amazing DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face due to its ageless properties. It can help reduce acne, eliminate and even prevent wrinkles, and help tighten skin, especially in those saggy spots like just above the jaw line and under the eyes!

Now that all ingredients have been blended, use a funnel to transfer the serum into a dark bottle. It is best to keep it away from bright light and the sun. Using a dark amber bottle can help, and you can keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks.

The best way to use this DIY vitamin C serum for the face is just before bed. Wash your face with this homemade face wash, then use a my DIY rosewater toner. Allow the face to dry, then make sure to gently shake the serum bottle just before use and apply a small amount of my DIY Vitamin C Serum. Again, allow it to dry and top it off with this DIY lavender and coconut oil moisturizer.

Note: The Vitamin C Serum should only be used at night to avoid exposure to the sun. Make sure to cleanse the skin the next morning before applying sunscreen and makeup.


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DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face

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  • Author: Dr. Josh Axe
  • Total Time: 10 min
  • Yield: 30 uses 1x


If you haven’t tried a DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face, you may be missing out some big skin benefits. Learn how to make it yourself.


  • 1 teaspoon GMO-free vitamin C powder
  • 1 teaspoon filtered or purified water
  • 1½ tablespoons aloe vera gel
  • ⅛ teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 5 drops frankincense essential oil


  1. Using a bowl and a whisk, blend vitamin C powder and filtered water.
  2. Add the aloe vera gel. Blend again.
  3. Add the vitamin E oil and frankincense. Mix all ingredients until well blended.
  4. Using a funnel, transfer the serum into small amber bottle to help reduce light exposure.
  5. Apply at night, making sure to remove in the morning since it can cause sensitivity when exposed to the sun.
  6. Finally, add some facial moisturizer, such as our DIY lavender and coconut oil moisturizer.
  7. You may want to start with every other night to make sure your skin responds well. Results are usually noticeable within a few weeks and up to 3 months.


The Vitamin C Serum should only be used at night to avoid exposure to the sun. Make sure to cleanse the skin the next morning before applying sunscreen and makeup.

The mixture should remain shelf-stable for up to 2 months.

  • Method: Mixing

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  1. Charmaine on

    Hi Dr , is not important to make the vit c serum to PH 3 – 4 by adding baking soda? PLs advice the formula

  2. Crystal on

    Hi michelle. I stay away from chemicals as much as possible too. You can find on Pinterest or YouTube how to make your own mom toxic sunscreen and if you don’t want to make it o to search sunscreen and they will tell you what is good and bad brand.

  3. Regina Mecco on

    I have a vitamin C powder with bioflavanoids. Is that ok to use or should I use plain ascorbic acid?
    Also I have liposomal C. Could I blend it with a fat, like tallow, and use it as a moisturizer?

  4. Evey on

    I mixed ascorbic powder with a Magnesium bicarbonate To make DHA
    or The vitamin c form of dehydroascorbic acid. I use this immediately to gently dab my face, chest, arms with cotton pad. I drink the rest of the mix, about 3 ounces. It’s fabulous.

  5. Anjli on

    Hi. Can , vitamin C powder , used in above serum , considered as natural? Or is this a synthetic ingredient ? . Please guide me.

    • Amelia on

      Some skins aren’t compatible with coconut oil. I use it daily but my skin has to be semi wet for it to absorb. I don’t break out or have issues, my skin is very hydrated (bouncy) & soft. So depends on the person I guess.

  6. Shannon on

    My vitamin c will not dissolve. I bought two different brand and neither work. Followed steps to a T. Is there something I am missing?

  7. Bonnie on

    I love this DIYSerum .It really makes a big difference in your skin .It Evens out skin tone and helps smooth out your skin .Be consistent and wear Sunscreen Daily .You will love this

  8. Andrea Sutton on

    You are incorrect. Vitamin C serum is actually best when used in the morning as it prevents damage from free radicals and also is super good with combating sun damage.
    It’s vitamin A that should be used in the evening.

  9. Walter Wehmann on

    Final product should be about pH 3 to be effective (penetrate skin and not degrade Vit C). As mixed, it is likely too acidic (pH < 3), and damaging to your skin barrier. Get pH test strips and add baking soda to decrease acidity.

  10. Cyn on

    Is water essential? I prefer an option that doesn’t require an anhydrous base? *(Your recipe doesn’t include that option and I fear spoilage)

    • Cyn on

      We only drink high alkaline water (pH of 9+), but I’m skipping the water in this recipe because it won’t be stable for very long without an anhydrous base. So, I’m adding a little avocado oil and avocado butter instead.

  11. Gina on

    Thank you for your vitamin c recipe. Im confused that you say it should be applied at night. As most cosmetic companies on the internet are insisiting it should be applied in the morning?
    Please can you explain if its important day or night.
    Kind regards

  12. Gerry on

    Dr. Axe:
    I’ve been using the Vitamin C serum at night and love it. I’m wondering because I’m in my seventies and my skin is drier, should I use a moisturizer on top of this?

  13. Gerry on

    I have used any of your recipes for skincare. I’ve liked many, although results are slow sine I am in my 70’s I’m sure it will take time.
    I would like to know I
    F you have any recommendations for eye puffiness. Id love to try it. I’d like to blame my genes but I don’t think that’ll work.

  14. Deborah Durham on

    I was under impression if one used water for Vit C solution. it will dissolve but upon applying to face it recrystallizes and then it is too big to actually be absorbed into skin. Could someone clarify?

  15. JenQ on

    Dee Dee Hill, I just made this serum last night, and added in Leucidal, which is a cosmetic preservative that I purchased on Amazon. I’m keeping the serum in a bathroom drawer in a vacuum pump bottle so it’s not exposed to air, and I’m going to watch it and see how it lasts. I’ll be happy to keep you updated if you like.

  16. Dee Dee Hill on

    I cannot wait to try your Vitamin C Serum recipe. I would like to know how many weeks or months is the serum good for. And is there away to extend the shelf life w/ a natural preservative? Thank you



  18. Donna McKinney on

    Why can’t you use ascorbic acid on your face is it not the same thing as L- ascorbicacid? And can ascorbic acid if applied to your face damage it?

    • Steve Young on

      Always use a Non-GMO Vitamin-C POWDER and there are several natural forms available here:

      Some forms of Ascorbic acid are derived from gmo corn.

  19. Maria on

    Hello :)
    I have a mixture of essential oils that I learned how to do it from you guys :) to target wrinkles! Can I apply this vitamin c recipe before my misture? Thanks :)

  20. Matilda Lorenzo on

    Hi! I’m an esthetician. I’ve been on the hunt for an all natural organic L-ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C powder). Do you have a brand that you can recommend that is not synthetic and is all natural?

  21. Linda on

    I made my recipe with vit c ester( ascorbyl palmitate). Is this the vit c the type referred to in the recipe? I also increased the recipe proportionately, so I could have a larger amount. I backed out the Aloe Vera gel, it is too sticky for my tastes, but added borage oil, sweet almond oil instead, they r very good carrier oils for the skin, and some emulsifying wax to blend water and oils and xanthum gum for a little thickener. It has all made a very usable nightly serum for the face.

  22. Coleen Goree on

    I was thinking as i read the comments that I will try using camu camu and acerola powdered for the vitamin c. Maybe some rosehip powder as well since these are all very good sources of vit c.

  23. Heidi on

    Hi all.
    On my Vitamin C powder package it says L-Ascorbic Acid so I guess it is the real deal.
    My problem is it takes a long time for it to dissolve in water.
    I tried with warm water and that helped the process along, but will this destroy the Vitamin C?
    Also, can this serum be used around the eyes, or is it strictly for face and body?
    Greeting from sunny Spain.

  24. karenna on

    there are many types of vitamin c powder… what are you recommending…

    sodium ascorbate powder,
    some other ascorbate,
    ester C
    or just plain ole ascorbic acid powder??


  25. Anita Kanadia on

    Please advise when vitamin C powder supposed to be gritty when mixed with Vitamin E and Aloe Vera? Please advise.

  26. Viola Balolong on

    Dr Axe,
    Do you have DIY formulation with the following Vitamin C ,Vitamin E,Hyaluronic acid,Aloe Vera and ferulic acid.

  27. KPD on

    what can I replace aloe vera gel with? (I’m allergic to preservatives, and every brand of aloe vera gel has) water and oil can’t mix together.

    • Carmella on

      I use rosewater in place of the purified water. I apply this in the morning as advised by my dermatologist & also 100 SPF. PM skincare includes Tretinoin & not vitamin C!

  28. Prashant on

    Hi, I’m a bit confused about recommendation for when to use Vit C serum. Every other beauty website recommends using Vit C serum in the morning followed by moisutirzer. Is there a reason why everyone else is recommending usage during the day, while you recommend at night? Thanks, Prashant

  29. Jessica Elizabetg Sage on

    So I understand the 1 tsp of vitamin c powder; only thing is, every variety of powdered vitamin c has different MG content p/ tsp! I wish she had listed the type she uses so we know how many MG goes into her serum 😭

  30. E on

    Mine came out watery, pure liquid. I didnt add the essential oil bc before, I had an allergic reaction. Extremely sensitive to Frankencense. And the aloe, some would not blend and stayed as chunks, so I kept it as is, and applied is as a liquid.

  31. Vee on

    Hey Dr. Axe.
    I follow your your advices religiously. I like your wisdom and knowledge about healing with natural ingredients.

    Regarding vitamic C serum diy recipe, I have few questions, I’ll be thankful to you if you answer them, as I’m suffering from dermal melasma and I really wanna make this serum without any confusion and difficulty.

    According to my research, water soluble vit C serum does not enter the lipid based barriers of the skin. So what ingredient make this vit C fat soluble?
    Vitamin E or Frankincense oil?

    And if Frankincense oil is not available, can I use any oil in it? Like pure olive oil or coconut oil or black seed oil?
    Or can I omitt frankincense or any oil completely?

    Last question are vitamin E oil and Vitamin E capsule same thing?

    Looking forward to your valuable response.

  32. Stayc on

    Fantastic face serum. I add rosehip oil and primrose oils to this serum recipe. I use tanning beds a few months out the year (yes, I know they’re not good), and this serum has been the only thing that keeps my face from drying out; whereas, even using my rosehip and primrose oils alone do not work this well.

    • E on

      How did you get a serum texture? Mine came out watery. I just applied it as is. And I skipped the essential oil bc I’m sensitive to it. Any suggestions on texture? Thanks!

  33. Brigitta Feinberg on

    Where do you get the vitamin c powder and the vitamin E oil? And can I use Alo Vera gel from my own Alo Vera plant? Thanks for the recipes, Dr. Axe. Would it be possible to add info about where to purchase Vitamin E oil and vitamin C powder and those types of “ingredients”. I am German and usually you could find those items and other chemicals in drugstores — I don’t think that it is the same here in the United States. Thanks again!
    If anyone can answer my question, that would be great also.

    • Tosha on

      Hi Brigitta, all the ingredients are available on and for aloe vera gel I think homemade aloe vera gel can be used instead of readymade one.
      Hope its useful.

    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      The recommended percentage of ascorbic acid is 8–10 percent. For anyone with sensitive skin or rosacea, the recommendation is about 2–5 percent. Be sure to consult your dermatologist about recommendations as amounts may vary based on your condition. Avoid completely if you’re allergic.

  34. Reham on

    Hi Dr. Axe

    thanks for your generous in shearing with us many beneficial knowledge.

    Regarding the Vim C serum is it safe to use it under and on the eye area?

    by saying (GMO-free vitamin C powder) do you mean ascorbic acid? as i found this one here

    • Dan on

      If I were you I’d use the vit c from the synergy company—it’s recommended by Morley Robbins of the magnesium advocacy group who is very particular about purity in vit c products.

  35. Shirley Stevenson on

    I am going to try making this serum since it is all natural. :-) The only Vitamin C that I have purchased that is supposed to be all natural is Eve Hansen Vitamin C Serum 100% Fresh & Radiant. It did not irritate my skin at all, and it is only $11.99 on Amazon. Also 100% pure has some real good all natural products including Vitamin C serum, but the downside is that there products are not inexpensive.

    Also, I don’t see why you can’t use Rose Water instead of purified water. Also Water and Oil like Coconut Oil do no mix very well for the person asking about adding oil to the serum.

    • Shirley Stevenson on

      By the way, 100% Pure is all Certified 100% Organic. If you decide to try 100% Pure use the discount code BACA15OFF (this will save you some money).

    • ToniAnn on

      Hello. Rick. I was just looking at Vitamin C for skin care as my husband had a fall and I was thinking topical vitamin c would be beneficial for healing.
      I came across this article which talks about slowly increasing the vitamin c % to avoid irritation like burning etc. I found it very informative in conjuntion with Dr. Axe’s article.
      I hope you and your wife have success.

    • ToniAnn on

      ooops… I forgot to attach the link. So sorry

      • Erin on

        The best research to read is the NIH clinical studies available online. If you don’t have time for that, you can trust the maker of PAULA is correct when dispelling this and other myths about vitamin C, AHAs, and Retinol. Skinceuticals founder discovered the action of ascorbic acid and patented the stabilized serum with Ferulic Acid at a PH lower than 3. This is where you begin the research on this topic.

  36. Uma Ramesh on

    Hi Dr. Axe,

    Thanks for the great recipe, I have one question, can we make Vitamin C serum using Ascorbic acid with witch hazel rose water(it has rose water, aloevera and glycerine). I have acne prone skin. Below is the link in for rose water which I mentioned.


  37. Maggie on


    Could someone tell me if the Aloe Vera gel needs to be fresh from a plant? And if so, then does the serum need to be refrigerated? Will fresh aloe Vera gel go bad if it’s not refrigerated?

    Thanks, Maggie

  38. suzie on

    rosehip oil would be a good addition if you have drier skin. It is definitely good for scars. serums are also generally applied before moisturizers, in this case, oil. This liquid would evaporate like a serum due to the water content–i think.

    i’m familiar with many C serums on Amazon. I have not been able to find a pure serum without preservatives and extras like emulsifiers and fillers. I find it mysterious many bestselling serums are in a clear bottle; vit C is notorious for oxidising in light. hence many C products are separate powders to manually mix with a liquid. Now that people found out about bulk Vit. C it’s probably not necessary to blow $90 on a “pure” vit C powder.

    i’m also curious what form of Vit C. Ascorbic? The consensus has varied over time; one person says ascorbic is the worst, others say ascorbic is fine, others say Vit C cannot be absorbed through skin to increase collagen but can have a brightening effect.

    I would love to know if it’s possible to make larger amounts of this with natural preservatives, and which ones are safest.

    Thanks for the informative (and ad-free) experience!

  39. Vitamin C Serum Fan on

    I used to make my own Vitamin C Serum, but then found one on Amazon that’s just as good as SkinCeuticals Vitamin C E Ferulic Acid Serum (maybe even better!). The brand is Bombshell Bathtime, Vitamin C E Ferulic and Hyaluronic Acid Serum, plus it contains Vitamins B3 and B5 and it’s got a low pH of 2.6-2.9 so it’s really potent. The serum is an orange color but it’s because of the mixture of Vitamin C and B3, not because it’s oxidised. I’ve been using it for over a month and I’ve noticed my skin getting so much clearer and brighter. I think it’s the best Vitamin C Serum anyone will find under $25.

      • Cheri Berry on

        I googled Bombshell Bathtime Vit C serum on Amazon. It is listed Vitamin C E Ferulic with Hyaluronic acid Serum $18,95

      • Olivia on

        It’s been there for a while. Maybe they went out of stock when you searched for it. I’ve been using it for several months now. It’s been keeping my skin looking healthier, especially now with summer coming up.

    • Sally Seaver on

      I would encourage you to read ALL the ingredients of Bombshell Bathtime for your own sake! For example the ingredient Ethoxydiglycol causes a number of problems including hormonal dysfunction, birth defects, cancer & more!

      • Olivia on

        The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel found that acute, subchronic, and chronic oral toxicity studies indicated a low order of toxicity for these glycols (of which Ethoxydiglycol is one). Results of parenteral injection, inhalation, and acute and subchronic cutaneous toxicity studies likewise supported a low order of toxicity. I think that those problems would only arise in the case of very large amounts of use. In skincare, such a small amount is used that it wouldn’t cause any side effects.

    • clulu on

      coconut oil is extremely drying for some people, its not for everybody. i think only people w/ truly oily skin or normal skin can tolerate it. acne-prone skin (which is actually dry and dehydrated not oily like we all have been taught). i used it for years and my skin is like a desert today. be careful!

      essential oils can be used on skin some of them but it depends on many factors. u should try it on ur arm to see if u can tolerate it. if u have sensitive skin, u must test it first. some oils can be ingested as well, but for u have to research or ask a naturopath or something dont just take willy-nilly! they can cause serious problems, even miscarriage, so again be careful w/ everything u put in ur mouth and body. if u do it the right was essential oils are extremely healthy and some cure cancer

    • Alicia on

      I use coconut oil and essential oils everyday and have been for years now. Coconut oil is my go-to moisturizer and Frankensense is amazing! I promise, its great for your skin

    • Alicia Tisdale on

      Coconut oil has been my go to, all over moisturizer for almost r years and its amazing. I have used essential oils on body and face as well. Grapefruit oil, Frankensense oil, especially. The benefits by far ard better than creams and cleansers with chemicals. Chemicals do NOT belong on or in our bodies.

    • Candace on

      Coconut oil is wonderful on the face, it moisturizes and make your skin feel wonderful!! Since your comment was made a year ago, perhaps you should revisit the use of it……….

  40. Rachel on

    Thank you so much for the above. When you say vitamin C powder, what are you talking about exactly? Asorbic acid? What are your thoughts about asorbic acid, as I’ve heard that it might not be so good? Is it possible to get plant based vitamin C powder and would you advice it for the above, or is it not strong enough, etc.?

    • Dan on

      Use “the synergy company” vitamin c—rec’d by Morley Robbins of the magnesium advocacy group and he’s very particular about not using ascorbic acid.

      • Linda Reynolds on

        no, for your face it is actually better….also better for uti’s in dogs and people!

      • Tiff on

        The measurements are listed at the bottom of the article before this comment area…maybe they fixed it before I read your comment

    • T on


      1 teaspoon GMO-free vitamin C powder
      1 teaspoon filtered or purified water
      1½ tablespoons aloe vera gel
      ⅛ teaspoon vitamin E oil
      5 drops frankincense essential oil

      You must have looked over them.

      : )

      • Leigh on

        The only Vitamin C powder I can find is the drinkable one that is effervescent in water..Can this be used to make the Vitamin C serum?

        p.s The Vitamin C powder is orange flavoured as well as an orange color?

      • Nicole on

        Oh my god ! Thank you! I was saying the same thing , how is it that I am looking at the ingredients with measurements and everyone is asking what are the measurements!

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