Ways to Combat Acne with Vitamin C

By dalila navarro | 01/18/23

Learn how Vitamin C can be used to improve acne-prone skin

Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition that may cause pimples and oily skin. In North America, up to 50% of adolescents and 15–30% of adults experience symptoms like inflammation, redness, swelling, and sometimes pustules, which are inflamed bumps that contain pus. 


In addition to breakouts, acne leaves many people with post-inflammatory scars and skin damage. However, research has shown that vitamin C may help treat several of these conditions.

What causes acne? 

There are several risk factors for acne including hormone imbalances, age, genetics, hygiene and bacteria. Certain strains of the common skin bacterium Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) may trigger acne. 


Figuring out the underlying causes for acne is an important part of treating the problem and should be handled by a dermatologist. Similarly, an esthetician may be able to assist in the treatment of the acne itself as well as the hyperpigmentation and scarring that can be left behind as a result of breakouts. 


There are several methods to treating acne - from changes in diet to topical treatments like serums and creams, finding the right method for your specific skin type can drastically change your skin’s appearance. Since many people tend to feel subconscious about the appearance of their skin when they have a breakout, finding the right treatment can also be a confidence booster.

Vitamin C can be used to treat acne

Scientifically known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a common ingredient in topical acne treatments for many reasons. Since your body doesn’t produce it, you must get it through your diet or apply it topically. Ayurvedic diets are typically high in nutrients because they rely on whole foods and fresh vegetables. Here are a few foods that are rich in vitamin C that you may want to consider adding to your diet to help improve your skin:


  • Citrus fruits - kiwi,oranges, lemons, grapefruits
  • Cruciferous vegetables - broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Bell Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

This powerful antioxidant fights skin-damaging free radicals, aids in cell turnover, strengthens the skin barrier and boosts collagen which helps heal hyperpigmentation and scarring. Because it helps skin cells regenerate, Vitamin C is often used to brighten and even skin tone, leading to a clear and balanced complexion.  


Acne is a highly inflammatory condition that can be exacerbated by environmental stressors. Research indicates that Vitamin C reduces swelling and redness related to acne. In a 12-week study of 50 participants, 61% who used a lotion containing Vitamin C experienced significant improvement in acne lesions. 

Vitamin C improves the look of dark spots and scars

When it comes to acne breakouts, there can be a lot of superficial damage that happens when we scratch or pick at pimples. Hyperpigmentation in the form of dark spots and scarring are two major issues for people who deal with acne or have dealt with acne in the past.  After a breakout, it's important to give your skin time to heal. Acne scars can range from minor to severe. Prolonged acne and physical manip like picking or squeezing increase the likelihood of discoloration and scarring. 

Vitamin C treats acne scarring and darks spots by increasing skin’s ability to produce collagen, a protein that is vital for your skin’s structure and wound healing. Vitamin C also interferes with tyrosinase, a chemical responsible for melanin production, which decreases the likelihood of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. 

How to prevent scarring and dark spots after an acne breakout

  1. Cleanse the area with a gentle cleanser that has anti-inflammatory properties
  2. Apply a serum that contains Vitamin C, we recommend our Anti-Aging Power Serum. In clinical trials, 86% of participants said their skin was overall brighter and 77% said their complexion was more even-toned.
  3. Lock in moisture with a light moisturizer with soothing properties that won’t clog pores.