Vitamin C for Skin Lightening: The Most Effective Ways to Use It

The quest for whiter, silky skin is a slow and expensive process for most people. Pricey creams with all sorts of high tech ingredients are all the rage these days, but could the real secret to effective skin whitening lie in humble, everyday Vitamin C? The short answer is yes. 

We already know of multiple Vitamin C benefits for skin lightening that may outperform other, more expensive ingredients. After Vitamin C’s role in acne prevention and collagen production and its amazing antioxidant properties turns out there’s more to this Vitamin’s secret powers. 

Read on to find out what Vitamin C can do for your skin and how it makes it lighter! Hint: it's a multitasking Vitamin!

Vitamin C Benefits for Skin Lightening

You may also spot Vitamin C on labels by the name of ascorbic acid. Either way, this is a potent antioxidant and a key ingredient in forming collagen, the main building-block protein in your body. For this reason, Vitamin C is crucial in repairing damage to the skin cells. Multiple clinical studies over the last decade have demonstrated how the skin heals faster and scars less when exposed to Vitamin C.

Skincare products with vitamin C applied on the face in the right concentration have a huge impact on its condition. First of all, they work smoothly and give it a shine, repair damage caused by the sun and protect it from the sun’s adverse effects. They also have moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and anti-acne effects.

With its great popularity in cosmetics for years on end, we now understand how Vitamin C helps maintain smooth and supple skin. But how does Vitamin C whiten skin? You have several reasons why to use Vitamin C for skin lightening.

Direct Vitamin C Skin Brightening Action

Vitamin C benefits for skin lightening range from immediate to indirect ones. Directly, it helps lighten skin by inhibiting the production of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which participates in the production of melanin pigments near the hair follicles. The fewer melanin your body produces, the lighter your skin is.

Vitamin C Maintains Bright Skin by Lowering UV Radiation Damage

Vitamin C also helps protect the skin from damage caused by sun exposure. When someone stays exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight, reactive oxygen species (ROS) start to form, aggravating skin damage. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C works to neutralize the impact of ROS. Laboratory studies confirm this effect, showing that topical application of Vitamin C on the skin reduced the rate of sunburns by as much as 60%!

At the same time, it also helps keep the so-called ‘free radicals’ at bay. Free radicals are waste atoms made up of a single electron, produced in the daily cell metabolism. They freely roam around looking for another electron to pair up and eventually, they steal an electron from another stable molecule. This results in damage to healthy cells, which shows as skin aging, discoloration and other changes in the skin tone. The UV radiation from the sun encourages more free radicals.

What’s more, sun exposure lowers the overall levels of Vitamin C in your body. So, the topical application of Vitamin C on your face when exposed to the sun is very important. Vitamin C can work in tandem with sunscreen to protect the skin from UVB-caused damage and more free radicals as it neutralizes them right away.  

Bear in mind though, that a Vitamin C serum shouldn’t be used in place of a sunscreen! While Vitamin C regulates the damage caused by your skin’s exposure to the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, it won’t absorb UVA and UVB radiation. The Vitamin C benefits for skin lightening can only come forward better if you take proper care to provide your skin with broad-spectrum protection from the sun. Daily sunscreen application or using a moisturizer with an SPF is a must for maintaining bright skin. Never leave the house without proper sun protection, because the secret to permanent skin lightening might be simpler than you think.  

Vitamin C and Glutathione Production

But those aren’t all of the Vitamin C benefits for skin lightening. Besides doing the job on its own, this helpful Vitamin also supports other helpful buddies to stay in the game. Basically, Vitamin C boosts the production of another important antioxidant – glutathione, or one of the most important ingredients used for skin whitening.

Glutathione is a popular ingredient in skin whitening because it balances the darker and lighter pigments that are present in our skin. It does so by lowering overall melanin production in the body as well as changing the metabolic pathway of melanin from synthesizing dark pigmented melanin (eumelanin) to creating light-pigmented melanin (phaeomelanin).

The result? The more glutathione present in your body, the lighter your skin is. So what role does Vitamin C play in all this? Simple. Vitamin C has the all-important ability to regenerate glutathione from oxidation. With higher doses of Vitamin C, you can boost glutathione production in your body and help ensure that the extra glutathione you provide doesn't get destroyed.

How to Use Vitamin C for Skin Lightening: 3 Best Options

We come to the next logical question: how does one get enough Vitamin C to maintain a significant effect on skin whitening? 

So many ways. Read on as we list them!

Eat Vitamin C-Rich Foods

Hands down the easiest way to get ample amounts of Vitamin C on a daily basis is to simply consume more foods that are rich in this wonderful Vitamin!

Our bodies cannot produce Vitamin C on its own, but luckily there is an abundance of sources for Vitamin C rich foods, and they’re not just limited to citrus fruits either. Fruits such as strawberries, papaya, kiwi and blueberries are rich in Vitamin C as well.

Some other great Vitamin C sources include some vegetables, such as bell peppers, dark leafy greens, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. One thing to keep in mind though is that Vitamin C in food is sensitive to heat. To get the maximum dose, don’t cook them too much and avoid reheating multiple times.

The best way to get ample Vitamin C in your daily diet? Juicing…


vitamin c for skin lightening

The best thing about juicing is how easy it makes getting Vitamins and nutrients from fresh fruits and veggies.

And Vitamin C is an easy example of this. Know how much Vitamin C is in one orange? Around 70mg. 

Now easy is it to get your daily fill of Vitamin C for skin lightening with a glass of orange juice that you make with 5 delicious oranges? 

That is the beauty of juicing - it's so incredibly easy.

And you don't even need a full-on, expensive juicer to get the benefits. Since you'll mostly be juicing citrus fruits, you can opt for a less expensive citrus juicer. 

The best part? You can't overdose on Vitamins you get from real foods 

However, even if you eat Vitamin C rich foods in every meal, it might not be enough to give you the needed daily dose of 1,000 - 3,000 mg of Vitamin C daily. This is where the next tip comes in handy...

Take Vitamin C Pills for Skin Lightening

The healthy amount of Vitamin C for you is highly dependent on your age, weight, and gender. As a general guideline, men need a minimum of 100mg a day, while women can get by with 75mg/day which can increase if they are on their period, pregnant or breastfeeding. While there is no such thing as too much Vitamin C, 3000mg is the recommended cap for most adults since that is the maximum that an average body can absorb.

To maximize the amount of Vitamin C for your body, it is recommended that you take supplements of 500mg - 1000mg in two doses. Start with 500mg, and work your way up as long as you don’t feel any side effects. Keep in mind that Vitamin C is best taken on an empty stomach.

If you're taking Vitamin C pills for skin lightening, it's best if you choose a supplement that also contains glutathione (or collagen, if you're looking for anti-aging effects) to get the best, fastest results. 

Here are our top picks...


vitamin c pills for skin

This is probably our favorite of all the Vitamin C pills for skin lightening. Why? Simply because it works. 

Which is not surprising considering its potent ingredients: for every scoop, you get 2000mg of liposomal glutathione and liposomal Vitamin C. 

Super easy to take it and incredibly effective. 


vitamin c pills for skin

The Relumins Ultimate Whitening Set is the perfect blend of glutathione and Vitamin C. 

In each Glutathione Complex pill, you'll find 1650mg of glutathione along with supportive ingredients like Alpha Lipoic Acid, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, Milk Thistle, Green Tea Extract, Rosehips, Quercetin, and several other skin and health boosters that help increase the results of glutathione.

Their Vitamin C Max pills are equally well endowed with Vitamin C, Calcium, Quercetin, and various citrus bioflavonoids. 


vitamin c pills for skin

Ivory Caps is the most affordable option you can get for another great 2-for-1 deal. 

Their glutathione pills contain a potent blend of glutathione, l-cysteine​ (the amino acid that actually changes the metabolic pathway of melanin from dark pigment to light pigment) as well as antioxidants and flavanoids to boost glutathione's efficacy.

The Vitamin C pills are just as great, with each one containing 1000mg of Vitamin C along with other effective skin lightening ingredients like niacinamide and bearberry extract.

Use Vitamin C in Your Beauty Regimen

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just drink a glass of juice to strengthen and lighten the skin or give it the much-expected glow. It turns out that Vitamin C taken orally has very little effect on the condition of your complexion. That is why dermatologists recommend also applying it directly onto the skin. 

It turns out that Vitamin C for topical application is absorbed by the skin up to 20 percent better than the one from oral supplementation. Vitamin C skin lightening is most often fast and visible when using it topically.

So, don’t wait any longer and get down to choosing cosmetics that contain Vitamin C. However, we should mention that ascorbic acid is very sensitive to oxidation. Remember, therefore, that it should be enclosed in appropriate carriers (for ex. capsules) or other similar types of packaging. Only in this way it has the chance to penetrate through the stratum corneum of the skin and get into the deeper layers of the epidermis.

Aside from lightening your skin overall, Vitamin C also helps lighten dark spots and other forms of hyperpigmentation and improves the texture and suppleness of the skin.

When looking for products, 10% is the minimum concentration if you want to see a marked difference, with some serums having as much as 25% to speed up the process. When shopping for a serum, you will often see Vitamin C mixed with either ferulic acid or hyaluronic acid to aid with skin absorption so the good stuff gets to your skin, quick.

So, basically, to get an additional boost of Vitamin C, make sure it’s not just your pantry that’s chock-full of Vitamin C products but your vanity as well. The fastest way to see a direct impact on your skin is to apply Vitamin C topically. In fact, topical application is usually preferred by dermatologists.

Here are our top picks...


vitamin c for skin lightening

This Vitamin C serum is a skin lightening powerhouse - it's got 20% Vitamin C for maximum effectiveness combined with 10% Hyaluronic Acid and other skin boosting googies like Ferulic Acid, Arginine, Horsetail Plant Extract, Gotu Kola Extract and many more. 

We especially love how it's packaged in an airless bottle to prevent oxidation, which Vitamin C is very prone to. ​

Oh, and no worries if you're acne prone - this serum moisturizes with non-pore clogging ingredients like aloe vera and jojoba oil. As for effectiveness, nearly 10,000 users have found it to work for everything from sun spots to melasma. Read user reviews here!


vitamin c for skin lightening

Want a great, super effective Vitamin C serum for half the price? You'll want to check out Amara Organic's Vitamin C serum. 

It's a potent blend of 20% Vitamin C combined with 10% Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E.

The best part? It contains STAY-C® 50, a uniquely stable and bio-available form of Vitamin C that's clinically proven to deliver powerful anti-aging results.

It's also great for acne prone skin gentle enough for sensitive skin. Read user reviews here!

If you prefer to go the DIY with a serum, you can mix L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C powder which can be found in most health stores) with glycerine or aloe vera gel to form a paste. Start with a mixture with a ratio of 1:4 of Vitamin C to water, and work your way up, as long as you don’t notice any skin irritations.

In terms of storage, keep your serum in an amber glass bottle with dropper applicator to minimize light exposure and oxidation. Try to make a fresh paste every 3-4 days to maximize effectivity.

If you want to go even more natural or are in the market for a quick fix, there are options that make use of lemon juice that can effectively lighten and brighten skin, albeit temporarily.

Lemon juice or lemon essential oils are high in Vitamin C and citric acid, one of the best alpha hydroxy acids that aid in skin exfoliation. Furthermore, lemon is also an antibacterial, and this can be effective when you want to lighten scars caused by acne since lemon kills the skin-darkening bacteria from acne.

If you have sensitive skin, be extra careful when using lemon, and perform a patch test first to make sure it will not cause redness. As with any potent serums, make sure to stay away from sun exposure or apply liberal doses of SPF immediately after your treatment to avoid phytophotodermatitis or skin irritations caused by reactions to sunlight.

Some ways you can use lemon are to mix it with sugar and egg white for a scrub or you can simply squeeze out the juice and dilute with water to use as a toner, it makes for a refreshing face mist too (just make sure that it doesn’t get into your eyes). The skin whitening effect from regular use of fresh lemon treatments can take around 2-3 months to make a noticeable difference.


Vitamin C skin whitening is really a thing. This super-vitamin contributes to a brighter complexion in multiple ways.

The best way to make the most out of Vitamin C for skin lightening is to use a comprehensive topical treatment: a whole series of Vitamin C skincare products, mainly a day cream, a serum and a night cream. Not only would this make for an effective skin lightening, but it can also provide gentle exfoliation, as well as protection against the harmful UV rays.

It’s best to use a specific Vitamin C line every day for best results. Apply the serum on cleansed skin and allow it to absorb, and then rub the face cream for the day. In the evening, the treatment should be repeated using night cream.

The treatment should be periodically performed (every other month, or every six months) for several weeks (for ex. 3 weeks). It’s especially beneficial to start a Vitamin C treatment when you notice that a lot of factors affecting your skin badly are present in your life, such as: poor diet, excessive stress, external pollution, and so on.

When choosing cosmetics, attention should be paid to the content of Vitamin C so that it does not exceed 10% of the active ingredients of the preparation.

Finally, Vitamin C skin whitening can’t be maintained forever and can get reversed, so the use of such a treatment and repeating it from time to time will help you keep improving the appearance and quality of the skin and eliminate discoloration.