From boosting collagen to fading scars and fighting inflammation, vitamin C serum and aloe vera both provide remarkable benefits for the skin. But they also have some important differences in terms of their chemical composition, effectiveness and more. So, in this article we’re going to look at vitamin C serum vs aloe vera gel, so that you can evaluate which one is best for your specific needs.
|VITAMIN C SERUM||ALOE VERA GEL|
|Fades acne scars||x||x|
|Moisturizes the skin||x (depending on the other ingredients)||x|
|Hydrates the skin||x (depending on the other ingredients)||x|
|Speeds up wound healing||x||x|
|Side effects||burning/tingling, redness, breakouts, staining of skin, darkening of pores, dryness||dermatitis, burning/tingling|
WHAT DOES VITAMIN C DO TO YOUR FACE?
Boosts Collagen Production
Vitamin C is one of the ingredients that the body requires for collagen production. In fact, this is probably why the top two layers of the skin (i.e. the epidermis and dermis) happen to have very high concentrations of vitamin C (source).
Unfortunately, vitamin C levels tend to decline with age (as does collagen production). So, topical application of vitamin C is one way of giving your skin an extra dose of this essential nutrient.
Helps Improve Acne Scars and Hyperpigmentation
Vitamin C has been shown to inhibit tyrosinase, which is an enzyme that regulates the production of our natural skin pigment, aka melanin (source). As a result of this, vitamin C can be used to treat dark spots that are caused by acne, melasma, sun spots, aging or hormonal imbalances.
Note: vitamin C serum is not meant to be abused in an effort to change one’s natural skin color. It’s simply meant to help even out skin tone in areas that have darkened (as a result of a health condition or other imbalances in the body).
Can Improve Acne
We often hear about the fact that free radicals contribute to premature aging. But did you know that they also play a role in acne? Yep, a 2016 study points out that the skin is “especially susceptible” to oxidative damage or oxidative stress (which is caused by free radicals).
And the problem with oxidative damage is that it can overload the body, thereby contributing to the development of acne.
The good thing is that antioxidants, such as vitamin C, can help because they basically neutralize free radicals. They’re basically like a fire extinguisher, helping to stop the oxidative “fire” from spreading.
Naturally Hydrates the Skin
Most vitamin C serums are made with ingredients (like hyaluronic acid and B-vitamins) that are known to boost hydration and moisture levels.
This is a good thing because vitamin C can also be drying, especially when used in the high concentrations that are present in serums.
So, when purchasing or making a vitamin C serum, it’s important to pay attention to the other ingredients. They are essential for the overall effectiveness of the serum.
Speeds Up Skin Renewal and Wound Healing
One thing that vitamin C is most known for is its ability to encourage cell renewal or cell turnover, which results in dead skin being replaced by new, healthy skin (source).
Although cell renewal is something that the skin naturally does, it can slow down with age or as a result of health issues.
Topical use of a vitamin C serum helps promote this much needed cell turnover. In this case, vitamin C is basically acting like a chemical exfoliant.
The end result? Skin has a healthier and vibrant glow. In addition, this can also help the skin heal faster from certain types of burns, such as sunburn (source).
Smooths Out Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Given that vitamin C boosts collagen production and supports cell turnover, it’s no surprise that it’s also beneficial for wrinkles and sagging skin.
WHAT DOES ALOE VERA DO TO THE FACE?
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that thrives in very dry environments. As a result it seems to hold on to every last bit of moisture and nutrients it can find. Which is great news for your skin! Here are a few of the ways in which aloe vera gel is good for the face.
Naturally Moisturizes and Hydrates the Skin
Aloe vera contains mucopolysaccharides, which are long chains of sugar molecules that help to keep water in the skin. This makes aloe a great natural alternative or replacement for conventional skin moisturizers. In addition, 99% of aloe vera gel is water. With such a high water content, aloe vera is not only excellent for moisturizing the skin, but it’s also beneficial for hydration (source).
Acts As A Natural Exfoliant
There are 8 enzymes in aloe, including:
- Alkaline phosphatase
These enzymes help to gently exfoliate the skin and give it a smoother appearance.
Helps to Fight Wrinkles
Increasing collagen production is essential for preventing and improving wrinkles. Aloe vera gel happens to stimulate fibroblasts, which are cells that make collagen and elastin.
In addition, the amino acids in aloe help to soften dry skin, which gives the skin a smoother appearance.
Speeds Up Wound Healing
One thing that science has repeatedly confirmed is that aloe vera is very effective at healing wounds quickly (source). And this is probably why many people tend to use aloe to recover from painful sunburns.
In fact, studies show that:
- patients with burn wounds that were treated with aloe healed significantly faster than those who were treated with 1% silver sulfadiazine (an antibiotic cream that is generally used for wounds).
- re-epithelialization (a necessary step in the process of wound healing) happens much faster in wounds that are treated with aloe compared to wounds that are treated with silver sulfadiazine.
Natural Remedy for Acne and Acne Scars
Aloe vera’s ability to fight inflammation, exfoliate the skin, speed up wound healing and stimulate collagen production make it very helpful for acne and acne scarring.
In addition, aloe vera contains some salicylic acid, an ingredient that is well known for fighting acne (source).
Furthermore, aloe contains about 75 different components, many of which are considered to be “active.” These components include:
- Vitamins A, C and E which are all antioxidants that help to combat acne.
- Zinc, which acts as an astringent and helps to tighten pores.
- Natural antiseptics like lupeol, cinnamon acid and of course, salicylic acid, which get rid of microbes that are contributing to acne.
Soothes Inflammatory Skin Conditions
Aside from acne, aloe vera can be helpful for other inflammatory conditions like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
In all of these cases, aloe can be used topically or it can be consumed internally (in the form of aloe juice, for example) to address inflammation.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF VITAMIN C SERUM?
Some side effects that may occur when using vitamin C serum include:
- Burning or tingling sensation when first applying it (this often goes away. If it doesn’t then stop using the serum).
- Staining of skin and darkening of pores (this is usually due to poor formulation of the serum and/or vitamin C serum that has gone bad).
- Dryness (if the serum isn’t well formulated as far as its pH or if it’s lacking complementary ingredients that boost moisture and hydration).
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF ALOE VERA?
Even though aloe is generally considered safe for topical use, some side effects that may occur include:
- Contact dermatitis, aka an allergic reaction to aloe. If you’ve never used aloe on your skin, it’s a good idea to do a patch test first before applying it all over your face.
- Burning sensation when using it on dry or sensitive skin.
RELATED QUESTIONS ABOUT VITAMIN C SERUM AND ALOE VERA GEL
Can we apply aloe vera on the face daily?
Since aloe vera gel contains mostly water, it’s very gentle on the skin and most people can use it daily. Also, it’s important to note that the best type of aloe to use every day is the type that comes from the fresh plant. If you’re using store bought aloe vera products, pay close attention to the ingredients. Some of them may contain harsh items that create adverse effects.
Can I use Vitamin C serum every day?
If you’re new to using vitamin C serums, it’s a good idea to use them every other day and then eventually transition to daily use. Do keep in mind that experts have different opinions on what time of day to use vitamin C. Some say morning (to protect the skin from environmental damage) while others say nighttime (to help the skin recover from everything it’s exposed to throughout the day). It all boils down to personal preference.
Personally I lean towards using serums at night because they’re intense, restorative treatments. It makes sense to put them on before you sleep since the skin is busy doing most of it’s renewing while we sleep.
How long does it take for aloe vera to work on dark spots?
According to one study, applying aloesin – a compound found in aloe vera – 4 times a day for 15 days leads to a 34% reduction in hyperpigmentation (source). In addition, an animal study also showed that extracts from the aloe vera leaf and the ingredient aloin, are also effective for hyperpigmentation (1, 2)
How long does it take for vitamin C serum to work?
It can take four weeks or more to start seeing results from vitamin C serum. This is because vitamin C serum impacts the overall structure or makeup of the skin. As a result, it requires consistent and long-term use to see significant changes.
DID THIS ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT VITAMIN C SERUM VS ALOE VERA GEL?
Overall, vitamin C serum and aloe vera have similar benefits for the skin. Whichever one you choose to use, quality is key.
In the case of vitamin C a well formulated serum is essential to protect your skin from vitamin C’s drying effect. Plus, vitamin C serums can also go bad quickly if they’re not packaged correctly or if the product’s pH isn’t quite right. Oh, and that pH can also affect your skin (hello dryness, redness and other allergic reactions). So, take the time to research different brands and get the best quality you can find.
As for aloe vera, the fresh plant really is the best way to use it. Luckily this doesn’t mean you have to grow it yourself. Nowadays, grocery stores sell aloe leaves, making it much more convenient for you to add this versatile plant to your natural skincare routine.
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