The 7 Best Vitamin C Serums for Pregnancy

If you’ve found yourself revamping your skincare routine during pregnancy, you’ll be happy to know that vitamin C passes the test. “Vitamin C is a safe and effective ingredient to use during pregnancy,” dermatologist Jeannette Graf told Romper. The best vitamin C serums for pregnancy will be free of retinol and hydroquinone, which are not recommended to be used during pregnancy. Dermatologist Dustin Portela echoes Dr. Graf’s advice to avoid retinol during pregnancy: “While the true risk from topical use is likely very low, we know that systemic retinol (think Accutane) can cause birth defects,” he said. Additionally, Dr. Graf recommends avoiding skincare products containing licorice root extract, as it has not yet been studied enough to consider it completely safe. “Enough research has not been done to know the exact results of licorice root extract in skincare, but ingesting licorice during pregnancy can induce early labor, so it is suggested to don’t use it,” she explains. Depending on your skin type or known allergies, you can also skip any serums (or other skincare products) that are scented. “There’s no particular reason to avoid fragrances unless someone is allergic to them,” says Dr. Portela. But Dr. Graf notes that because synthetic fragrances offer no real benefit, it’s never a bad idea to opt for a fragrance-free skincare product.

The experts

Dr. Jeannette Graf, MD, is a board-certified clinical and research dermatologist with a private practice in Great Neck, New York. A regular contributor to television, radio, and print and digital publications, Dr. Graf is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and has her own skincare line.

Dr. Dustin Portela, OD, is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologist surgeon. He has been published in several medical journals and currently practices with Treasure Valley Dermatology in Boise, Idaho.

What to Look for in a Vitamin C Serum

Dr. Portela and Dr. Graf both recommend looking for a vitamin C serum formulated with bakuchiol, which is a plant-based alternative to retinol that can boost the collagen-boosting and complexion-boosting effects of vitamin C without causing of irritation. and while being safe to use during pregnancy. Additionally, Dr. Portela suggests a vitamin C serum with hydrating hyaluronic acid and/or multitasking niacinamide, while Dr. Graf recommends vitamin E. “Vitamin C and vitamin E work to scavenge the moisture more effectively and, in turn, strengthen the skin barrier.” she says. For anyone struggling with inflammation, Dr. Graf shares that combining your vitamin C with ferulic acid could be helpful. “Using ferulic acid with your vitamin C serum during pregnancy is safe,” she says, adding that the antioxidant ingredient is derived from plant cells. “A combination of vitamin C and ferulic acid can help with skin inflammation, acne, and uneven skin tone.”

Why Are Vitamin C Serums Helpful During Pregnancy?

It’s not really surprising that your skin can go through some changes during pregnancy (you’re literally growing another human being, after all). But two of the most common skin problems that can develop during pregnancy, melasma and acne, can potentially be improved with vitamin C. Acne is certainly quite common, but if you’re unfamiliar along with melasma, it tends to occur during pregnancy due to hormonal fluctuations and will appear as darker patches of skin on the cheeks, upper lip and forehead.

“Overall, vitamin C can help achieve a healthier skin tone and even out your skin tone,” says Dr. Graf, noting that in particular, it can help reduce blemishes and blemishes. unwanted hyperpigmentation. She also adds that as we age, we lose collagen in our skin and that vitamin C can help boost our skin’s ability to produce the protein.

Dr. Portela confirms that a vitamin C serum can help prevent the development or worsening of melasma. “Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the skin against free radicals caused by ultraviolet light or environmental pollution,” he explains. “During pregnancy, [some people] experience the skin [concerns] like discoloration from melasma, which makes it especially important to protect the skin from damage,” he says, noting that you should always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen after your vitamin C serum in the morning (he recommends sticking with mineral sunscreens during pregnancy) .

Shop the Best Vitamin C Serums for Pregnancy

Press? Here are the best vitamin C serums for pregnancy:

  1. Best Vitamin C Serum Capsules: Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair 20% Vitamin C Serum Capsules
  2. Best Prestige Vitamin C Serum: IMAGE Skincare VITAL C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum
  3. Best Vitamin C Serum with Niacinamide: Wander Beauty Sight C-er Vitamin C Concentrate
  4. Best Vitamin C Serum with Bakuchiol: Celement Bakuchiol Super C Serum
  5. Best French Vitamin C Serum: Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum

1. Experts’ Choice: The Best Vitamin C Serum Capsules

Both dermatologists named these Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair 20% Vitamin C Serum capsules as one of their vitamin C serum recommendations for pregnant women. The high percentage of vitamin C can help fade unwanted hyperpigmentation and leave you with brighter, smoother skin overall. The formula is also a solid choice for acne-prone and sensitive skin, as it’s oil-free, non-comedogenic, alcohol-free, and fragrance-free. Dr. Portela points out that the individual capsules give you the perfect amount of product for just one application, so there’s no guesswork involved. Additionally, the biodegradable capsules, with their dark bronze color and airtight design, prevent the vitamin C from oxidizing due to exposure to light and air.

Other Beneficial Ingredients: Vitamin E, raspberry leaf extract Without perfume: Yes Cut: 7 capsules

2. Expert’s Pick: Best Prestige Vitamin C Serum

Dr. Graf recommends this vitamin C serum if your skin’s elasticity (or lack thereof) is your primary concern. “This product uses vitamin C to hydrate and plump the skin,” Dr. Graf says of this serum from IMAGE Skincare, which combines several forms of vitamin C with collagen-boosting peptides. A combination of hydrating ingredients like squalane and hyaluronic acid also help plump up the skin. Although free of artificial fragrance, the serum contains citrus-derived oils, which can potentially be irritating to sensitive or allergy-prone skin.

Other Beneficial Ingredients: Sweet Almond Oil, Vitamin E, Jojoba Seed Oil, Squalane, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hyaluronic Acid Without perfume: Yes Cut: 1.7oz.

3. Best Vitamin C Serum with Niacinamide

Among the many benefits of niacinamide that make it a standout for Dr. Portela is its ability to help promote a more even skin tone without the risk of irritation (which may benefit patients with melasma). Wander Beauty Sight C-er Vitamin C Concentrate combines the versatile ingredient with Vitamin C derived from Kakadu plum extract to boost its effectiveness when it comes to fading unwanted hyperpigmentation and increasing the production of collagen. While niacinamide offers its own benefits for the skin barrier, this serum also contains vitamin E, squalane and hyaluronic acid to attract moisture for an instant hydrating and plumping effect.

Other Beneficial Ingredients: Niacinamide, Squalane, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E Without perfume: Yes Cut: 1 oz.

4. Best Vitamin C Serum with Bakuchiol

Even though retinoids are a pregnancy no-no, you can still get similar benefits without any potential risk. “If you’re pregnant and want an alternative to retinol, bakuchiol has shown similar results without irritation,” says Dr. Graf. This Celement Bakuchiol Super C serum combines 18% vitamin C with 1% bakuchiol to improve skin elasticity and promote a brighter, more even complexion. It also contains vitamin E, glycerin and hyaluronic acid to nourish and hydrate your skin without being the least bit greasy.

Other Beneficial Ingredients: Glycerin, Bakuchiol, Broccoli Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E Without perfume: Yes Cut: 1 oz.

5. Best French Pharmacy Vitamin C Serum

Another vitamin C serum with vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, Vichy’s LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum is a French pharmacy classic that’s also a favorite on Amazon (it currently has over 7,000 ratings five stars). There are only 11 ingredients in this fragrance-free serum, including 15% vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid. The 0.34-ounce ($29) bottle should last you about a month, while the larger 20-milliliter ($34) size should give you over two months.

Other Beneficial Ingredients: Glycerin, Vitamin E, Hyaluronic Acid Without perfume: Yes Cut: 0.34oz.


Dr. Jeannette Graf, MDboard-certified clinical and research dermatologist with a private practice in Great Neck, New York.

Dr. Dustin Portela, DOboard-certified dermatologist and dermatological surgeon practicing with Treasure Valley Dermatology in Boise, Idaho.

Referenced studies:

Safety of Skin Care Products During Pregnancy, by Pina Bozzo, Angela Chua-Gocheco, MD, and Adrienne Einarson, RN;

What Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?, by Jacquelyn Levin, DO, and Saira B. Momin, Do;

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