If I were soon to be stranded on a desert island and could only bring 3 items with me, they would be sunscreen, an oil cleanser, and Vitamin C. If you’re not already using a REAL Vitamin C serum (ie NOT this one), you should be. Lately, I’ve been using a few different serums in my rotation. This review is going to be about the one I’ve been really liking: Skin Deva’s 20% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid Serum.
Skin Deva 20% Vitamin C+E + Ferulic Acid Serum
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which effectively evens skin tone and fortifies skin cells. Our serum contains a generous amount of vitamin C extract and a 20% concentration of L-ascorbic in order to provide you with the best results in the shortest amount of time. You will find that your skin is more supple and youthful after only one application. Also included in our formula are doses of vitamin E and Ferulic Acid, which are ingredients that are known to naturally extend the shelf life of vitamin C. This wrinkle-fighting vitamin C serum has been made in the USA, is 100% cruelty-free, paraben-free and fragrance-free.
Where does it fit in your routine?
A L’Ascorbic Acid serum like this should be applied after all cleansing steps. If you use a pH adjusting toner (I don’t bother anymore because it makes no difference on my skin), apply this after the toner. Otherwise, allow your skin to dry after cleansing, apply this serum, then wait 10-15 minutes before moving on to the next step of your routine.
This serum is stored in an amber colored glass bottle with a dropper cap.
This has an unpleasant metallic scent. Unfortunately, cosmetics chemists have yet to figure out how to make L’Ascorbic Acid smell good, or even decent, but some Vitamin C serums smell worse than others. Skin Deva’s Vitamin C (in my opinion) smells worse than Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, but smells better than Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, if you’re familiar with either of those options.
Color and texture
This serum has a cloudy but clear texture. When I first received my bottle, it had no yellow in it whatsoever, which was kind of remarkable because even fresh bottles of Skinceuticals CE Ferulic have a light yellow tinge. After 2 months of non-refrigerated storage, there is a tiny amount of yellow to the serum but it’s barely noticeable.
3 months from purchase. Can be extended with refrigeration storage.
Ingredients + Why you should be using a Vitamin C+E+Ferulic Serum
Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L- Absorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Vitamin E, Polysorbate 80, Panthenol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid
CosDNA identifies Vitamin E as an acne trigger (2) and potential irritant (2).
Vitamin C does some cool things on it’s own, such as increasing collagen production, improving skin hydration, lightening hyper pigmentation, and increasing skin density while decreasing skin furrows. It’s even better when combined with Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid. Let’s look at two studies that explain why:
by Jing-Yi Lin,a M. Angelica Selim,a Christopher R. Shea,b James M. Grichnik,a Mostafa M. Omar,c Nancy A. Monteiro-Riviere,d and Sheldon R. Pinnella Durham, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Elmwood Park, New Jersey; and Raleigh, North Carolina
In many biologic systems, vitamins C and E work synergistically; when vitamin
E becomes oxidized by free radicals, it is regener- ated in the membrane by vitamin C.
In this study, researchers created the following 4 solutions, all with a pH of 3.2:
- Vehicle – no vitamin C or vitamin E
- Vitamin C – containing 15% L-ascorbic acid
- Vitamin C + E – containing 15% L-ascorbic acid + 1% dl-α-tocopherol
- Vitamin E – containing 1% dl-α-tocopherol
The researchers then applied the 4 solutions daily to the skin of white Yorkshire pigs, irradiated them under a 1000-W UV lamp that simulated solar radiation, then on the 5th day, took pictures and biopsied the skin, measuring the amount of erythema (skin reddening), sunburn cells (self-explanatory), and thymine dimer (DNA lesions) on the skin, comparing the different effects of the different solutions.
This is what they found:
- By itself, 15% L-Ascorbic Acid provides 2-fold (twice as much) antioxidant protection compared to the vehicle solution and significantly reduces erythema
- By itself, 1% dl-α-tocopherol provides 2-fold (twice as much) antioxidant protection compared to the vehicle solution
- Together, 15% L-Ascorbic Acid + 1% dl-α-tocopherol provides 4-fold antioxidant protection compared to the vehicle solution and significantly reduces erythema, more so than L-Ascorbic Acid does by itself. Also, combination 15% L-ascorbic acid and 1% -tocopherol almost completely protected against this DNA alteration.
The conclusion? #StrongerTogether
But wait, there’s more!
by Fu-Hsiung Lin, Jing-Yi Lin, Ravindra D. Gupta, Joshua A. Tournas, James A. Burch, M. Angelica Selim, Nancy A. Monteiro-Riviere, James M. Grichnik, Jan Zielinski, Sheldon R. Pinnell
Very similar set up as the previous study but your 4 test solutions have changed. This time, they are:
- Vehicle – no Vitamin C, E, or Ferulic Acid
- Ferulic Acid – containing 0.5% trans ferulic acid
- Vitamin C + E – containing 15% L-ascorbic acid + 1% DL-α-tocopherol
- Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid – containing 15% L-ascorbic acid + 1% DL-α-tocopherol + 0.5% trans ferulic acid
The result is Ferulic Acid doubles antioxidant protection. Remember how l-ascorbic acid and DL-α-tocopherol by themselves provide 2-fold antioxidant protection factor compared to the vehicle? Throw in some ferulic acid and that 2X becomes 4X. Likewise, with ferulic acid added to the 15% L-ascorbic-acid + 1% DL-α-tocopherol mix, protection increases from 4-fold to 8-fold.
To summarize what we’ve learned: Vitamin C is great. Vitamin C + Vitamin E is better. Vitamin C + Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid is best.
Skin Deva Vit CE Ferulic Serum Pros and Cons
I have to be honest with you guys. I like this product but it’s a little difficult to be enthusiastic about it. Even though I know Vitamin C is good for me, I enjoy applying vitamin C about as much as I enjoy eating broccoli. Here are my gripes around LAA serums:
- Smell. L’Ascorbic Acid (LAA) serums always smell unpleasantly metallic and/or like hotdog water
- Wait time. L’AA works best at a concentration of 20% and at a pH between 2.5 and 3.5. Applying other skincare products immediately afterwards might dilute the concentration and/or move the pH into a suboptimal range. Therefore, you have to wait, which in the mornings cuts into minutes that I could otherwise be sleeping or doing anything else.
- Constant threat of oxidation. If you’ve used L’Ascorbic Acids before, you have probably been warned to stop using when the serum has oxidized, or turns yellow (then orange, then brown). We will discuss this more later, but for now, know that oxidation is bad and aqueous (water-based) L’AA serums oxidize very easily.
Vitamin C is like sunscreen or floss. It’s a personal care staple but doesn’t really bring me joy. In fact, using it is somewhat of a chore, but I do it because it’s good for my skin. Vitamin C is purely a utilitarian product for me and Skin Deva seems to have made a product that meets my needs nicely. This serum has got a reasonable price and a no-nonsense formulation. As an added bonus, it even seems to have figured out the oxidation issue!
The advertised shelf-life of Skin Deva’s Vit C Serum is 3 months after opening, which is pretty typical of aqueous LAA serums, but I’ve had my serum for more than 3 months and it’s barely oxidized at all. As a comparison, my bottle of the super popular Korean Vit C serum OST C20 started to look orange-ish after the one month mark and even though I keep bottles of Skinceuticals in the fridge, they also gets noticeably more yellow by the week. It might not seem like a big deal but it is really nice not having to constantly worry about how yellow is too yellow before I need to pop open a new bottle.
You should probably be using a Vitamin C serum. The best Vitamin C serums have 15%+ L-Ascorbic Acid (as Vitamin C), 1% α-tocopherol (as Vitamin E), and Ferulic Acid. Most of those serums are expensive and/or temperamental, but this one from Skin Deva isn’t either of those things. Apply this daily under your sunscreen and eat your broccoli. You’ll thank me when you’re 80.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own. This post contains an affiliate links. Purchasing an item through an affiliate link does not add any cost to the customer but does help support this site’s upkeep.