Are Other Vitamin CE Ferulic Serums As Effective as Skinceuticals?: Cosmetics Solutions, Timeless, Skinmedica Compared

Ingredients, Skin Care
Vitamin CE Ferulic Serums As Effective as Skinceuticals-Cosmetics Solutions-Timeless-Skinmedica Compared

Ever since Dr. Sheldon Pinnell discovered vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid could stimulate the production of collagen in the skin in 1992, vitamin C skin care has been popular.  Dr. Pinnell was instrumental in the development of Cellex-C and later founded Skinceuticals.

The ingredients within its best-selling product, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($118.99,, were found to boost sun protection when applied under sunscreen by four-fold, as published in the American Journal of Dermatology in 2005.

Despite the fact Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is patented (US patent number: 20050154054), several alternative products now exist. This is because the patent explicitly only includes vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid between a pH of 2.5 and 3.0, whereas the alternatives include tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate or magnesium ascorbyl palmitate and/or a slightly higher pH.

[Read more: What are the Best Vitamin CE Serums?]

Pinnell’s arguments: Time-tested?

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

One reason Dr. Pinnell argues it is still best to buy Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is because a pH of 3.5 or lower is required for optimal activity (Dermatologic Surgery), and his patent requires no CE Ferulic serum to have a pH between 2.5 and 3.0 (Patent 20050154054). However, a quick pH test demonstrates that most of the competitive serums have a pH between 3.0 and 3.5 – low enough to be effective, but not so low so as to violate the patent. This includes the popular Cosmetics Solutions CE Ferulic Combination Treatment ($39.95,, which contains the same exact assortment of ingredients as Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, but in concentrations that result in a slightly higher (and non-patent-violating) pH.



Dr. Pinnell has also stated that he believes only L-ascorbic acid is effective, as  other forms of vitamin C cannot be converted into L-ascorbic acid in any meaningful amount (Dermatologic Surgery). However, even without conversion to L-ascorbic acid, several popular derivatives of vitamin C, including tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and magnesium ascorbyl palmitate, have been shown to have a few distinct effects of their own:

[Read More: How the Vitamin C in the FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serums Benefits Your Skin]

How Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (AKA Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate) and Magnesium Ascorbyl Palmitate Compare to L-ascorbic Acid

In one study from Skin Research and Technology in 2008, all three forms of vitamin C were found to enhance moisture content in the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin) after a 4-week period of daily applications.

However, L-ascorbic acid (the original form of vitamin C found in Skinceuticals CE Ferulic) was the only form that prevented water loss (TEWL) from the skin.




Timeless CE Serum

Magnesium ascorbyl palmitate (found in Timeless Vitamin C+E Serum, shown above, $24.95) penetrated the skin most deeply in the same study, as it was found to cause alterations in skin’s viscoelastic-to-elastic ratio.

SkinMedica Vitamin CE Complex



In favor of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (found in SkinMedica Skin Complex, $64.97, is the fact tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate has been shown to be more efficient in entering skin cells than L-ascorbic acid (Clinics in Dermatology) and, like magnesium ascorbyl palmitate, penetrates the skin more deeply than L-ascorbic acid (Dermatologic Surgery).

Why Timeless Vitamin C+E Serum or Skinceuticals CE Ferulic are the Best

I personally prefer the alcohol-based delivery system of Timeless Vitamin C+E Serum or Skinceuticals CE Ferulic over the silicone-based SkinMedica Skin Complex, because the alcohol helps the ingredients penetrate the skin more deeply.  The fact that alcohol can be drying and inflammatory to the skin is combatted by the highly hydrating and antioxidant power of vitamin C in either form.

Now when it comes down to Timeless Vitamin C+E Serum ($24.95, with 20% combined L-ascorbic acid and magnesium ascorbyl palmitate or Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($118.95, with 15% L-ascorbic acid, I would say the major consideration is, clearly, price.

Although magnesium ascorbyl palmitate in the Timeless Vitamin C+E Serumhas been found to penetrate the skin more deeply than L-ascorbic acid in the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic (Skin Research and Technology), L-ascorbic acid still has been proven to stimulate collagen production (Journal of Investigative Dermatology), even if it doesn’t penetrate the skin as deeply as magnesium ascorbyl palmitate.  What’s more, L-ascorbic acid has been found to prevent water loss from the skin better than magnesium ascorbyl palmitate (Skin Research and Technology).  So, if money is not a concern, play it safe with the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic.  However, if you’d like to save a quick $90, Timeless Vitamin C+E Serum is definitely worth the extra bit of drying to the skin.

What about Cosmetics Solutions CE Ferulic Combination Treatment?

Cosmetic Skin Solutions CE Serum


When it comes to Cosmetics Solutions CE Ferulic Combination Treatment or Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, I have a similar opinion: The ingredients list (and concentration of active ingredients) is exactly the same. Skinceuticals CE Ferulic has the better, more optimized pH, so if you can afford it, stick with the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. Yet for the slight amount of difference, Cosmetics Solutions CE Ferulic Combination Treatment will still give you most of the benefits of Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, though may be slightly more drying and slightly less exfoliating (due to the higher pH).

As for the Timeless Vitamin C+E Serum with magnesium ascorbyl palmitate and L-ascorbic acid versus the Cosmetics Solutions CE Ferulic Combination Treatment with L-ascorbic acid, I like the Timeless Vitamin C+E Serum. For one, it’s $15 cheaper, which means after 8 bottles, you’ve saved enough for an entire bottle of Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. For another, I’ve tried both and just happen to like the Timeless Vitamin C+E Serum better, but I do reckon this is more of a personal opinion and less of a science-based one.

[Read More: Introducing the New FutureDerm Vitamin CE Serum]

Bottom line

If you’re pinching pennies, Timeless Vitamin C+E Serum will get you 95% of the benefits of Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, and for a much lower cost (same with the Cosmetics Solutions CE Ferulic). Skinceuticals CE Ferulic still has the best pH of any serum on the market, though, so it’s still worth it if you’re a wealthy perfectionist who only wants “the best.”

[Read more: What are the Best Vitamin C Serums?]

Ingredients in Skinceuticals CE FerulicWater, Ethoxydiglycol, L-ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Alpha Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate

Ingredients in SkinMedica Skin ComplexCyclopentasiloxane, Ascorbic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Polysilicone 11, Phytantriol, Ethoxydiglycol, Bisabolol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol

Ingredients in Timeless Vitamin C+E SerumWater, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Alpha Tocopherol, Polysorbate 80, Panthenol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Fragrance

Ingredients in Cosmetics Solutions CE Ferulic Combination TreatmentAqua(water), EthoxydiglycolL-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Alpha Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate.

Looking for the best skin care? FutureDerm is committed to having its customers find — and create — the best skin care for their individual skin type, concern, and based on your ingredient preferences. Learn more by visiting the FutureDerm shop!


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  • Niharika Mishra

    Should Skin Ceuticals Ferulic CE be refrigerated? How long does it last before it goes bad if it does?

    • I refrigerate my Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, but it isn’t necessary. The basic rule of thumb for vitamin C serums is that you want to use them within 60 days of opening, or else they start to oxidize and you can see it in the form of a change in color, an unusual smell, or even crystallization at the bottom of the container (!). If you don’t open it, most skincare products are bacterial and fungal tested for up to 2 years of shelf life.

  • Swetha

    Hi Nicki.. I have been looking for vit c serum and read ur blog abt Timeless ce+Ferulic acid serum. I ordered it and it has been 10days since I started using it.. So far I like the way my skn feels.. Wat I observed is my skin feels bright and soft (i ise the serim at night) in the morning but once I wash my face ny skin looks just normal.. Is this brightening effect just there when the serum is on the face?
    Also coukd u pls help me with a good chemical peel?(my skin is normal-oily in d t-zone but no break out with Timeless) My skin tone is dusky.. Any suggestion to improve my skin tone wud be greatly appreciated.. Thanks for the wonderful post ??

  • Anabel

    Best review i have read…ever! thank you so much for your in depth analysis backed with science!!! looove this site.

    • Nicki Zevola

      So glad you like it!

  • grace

    hi Nicki – I know this article is old so I hope you seen this comment but i’m wondering what you think of mixing a product like Obagi Exoderm (with phytic acid) that’s supposed to break up copper, with a product like Neova day therapy spf 30 that’s supposed to support collagen growth with the copper? It seems women like the Exoderm for the exfoliating effects but Neova is highly rated too. I’d like to firm my skin but also increase the blood flow as my color is not good. Im confused about copper. Is it good for collaggen growth or is it bad for the skin? I’ve heard both. Thanks!

  • mindi foster

    How do you think Paula’s Choice C15 booster compares to Skinceuticals CE Ferulic?

    • Nicki Zevola

      I like the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic better because it has a lighter texture, without the heavy sodium hyaluronate and castor oil in the Paula’s Choice C15 Booster. That said, if you have dry skin, you may benefit from these ingredients. Hope this helps!

  • sarai

    i am a 41 year old mother of four from israel with semi-oily skin which is in good condition (or at least i would like to think so! lol).
    and i have to thank Cellex-c (along with a few other staples in my skin care routine) that contributed to the excellent state my skin is at my age. i always get compliments on my skin and this product has alot to do with the glow i feel my skin has.
    i have tried all vit-c serums. i tried skinceuticals,skinmedica,obagi (also the Rx line),IS Cinical,PTR, Etc..
    you name it,i tried it!
    The Only one i miss and go back to is the “advanced c serum” by Cellex-c!
    i just Love It! – i try others, but then always come back to this one because of the super glowing radiant skin it gives me.

    listin…..dont expect “Miricales”.
    a good vit-c serum is only ONE “superstar” ingredient in the battle against aging skin.

    it is only one of a few crucial “bombs” that fight against aging.
    but it is an important one and NOT all vit-c serum are equals (and no…percentage of L-ascorbic is NOT what makes a vit-c serum more powerfull).
    in order for a vit-c serum to do work its magic…..
    it needs to have (first and foremost) a SUPERB “delivery mechanism”.
    that delivery system will take the l-ascorbic acid Deep into the skin….
    and that is exactly why i think CELLEX-C is Superior to all others.
    they are a Pioneer in Vit-C Skin Care and i Can definitely feel the deference!

    you see ,in the past, the Cellex-C formulations were concidered superior antioxidant serums compared with those of Skinceuticals (for example) because they contained more diverse antioxidant combinations, however both companys now feature “broad-spectrum” antioxidants.

    Skinceuticals claim their most photoprotective antioxidants are “CE Ferulic” and Phloretin CF (i tried the CE Ferulic,it was nice,but not “Great”).

    Cellex-C claims that their superior antioxidant is this Advanced-C Serum.

    Further complicating matters, IS Clinical claims that their “Super Serum Advance+” is superior, and Obagi says that even one of their 10% Vitamin C serums(tried it…really nice and better then skinceuticals) readily outperforms Skinceuticals 20% vit-c serum.

    Cellex-C uses tyrosine, zinc and bioflavonoids in their Vitamin C Serums whereas no Skinceuticals Serums contain tyrosine and only some contain zinc.
    (BTW: The use of tyrosine is protected by a Cellex-C patent).

    Medical literature states that when tyrosine is combined with ascorbic acid (vit-c) it helps to promote regeneration of new connective tissue through the stimulation of fibroblasts enabling them to create more collagen.

    while a A study that was co-authored by Skinceuticals cheif medical director Dr. Sheldon Pinnell (Rest his soul in peace) holds that zinc is an important and neglected antioxidant for skin.

    Zinc has been shown to help support increased collagen turnover stimulated by ascorbic acid — it is an essential component of collagenase, which is required to dismantle old, defective and stiffened collagen in order for new collagen to be constructed.

    so If more types of antioxidants are better than less, it could be that Cellex-C Advanced C Serum is the most optimal antioxidant (because it contains five diverse antioxidants (l-ascorbic acid, zinc, resveratrol, pycnogenol and L-ergothioneine) and also contains tyrosine, as opposed to Skinceuticals “CE Ferulic” which contains three antioxidants (ascorbic acid, ferulic acid and Vitamin E) without tyrosine or zinc.

    however Skinceuticals “CE Ferulic” has been shown to provide a remarkable 8x endogenous photoprotection (no studies into the photoprotection offered by Cellex-C Vitamin C Serums have been published).

    There are many grounds on which to consider whos “the best” and I do not believe you will ever find a brand which is “best” on all fields.

    just do your own comparative study by using Cellex-C Advanced-C Serum for at least 4 months and then switching to Skinceuticals CE Ferulic for another 4 months.

    from My personal impression?
    the “CE Ferulic” was a whole lot less firming and powerfull compared to the Cellex-C “Advanced-C Serum”.
    i truly believe that as a vit-c serum….the cellex-c is Far Superior to all others (i have tried).

    but like i said….its Only One superstar of a few that combat aging and wrinkiled skin.

    remember to use it in conjunction with a few other superpowers:
    1- Retinoids! (Rx Tretinoin or over the counter retinol based creams).
    2- L-ascorbic acid serum (vit-c serums of your choice).
    3- Glycolic acid products (Chemical Exfoliating products from the AHA groups).
    4- and try to use one Top notch ultra advanced New-Age product which contains lots of peptides and grouth factors.
    5- **Sunscreen** (most important **Prevention** step).

    use all five crucial superstars and you are fighting aging (topically) in the best way you can (in this current day and age).

    i did them ALL…i did the Whooole trip from high-end ultra “lux” brands (such as La-prairie,La-mer,Natura Bisse,Revive,cle de peau) and all the way “down” to the “Physician Strength” brands (Skinmedica,Skinceuticals,Obagi-Nu Derm program,IS Clinical,MD Forte,Vivite…Gosh im sure i forgot some! lol).
    today…..i stay away from “lux” brands (except for makeup and stuff).

    my regimen

    Morning routine…….

    cleanse with Obagi “gentle cleanser” and wipe face dry.
    Peter thomas roth “un-wrinkle peel pads” (use on dry face,leave on 2-3 min,rinse only with water).
    La prairie “cellular mineral face exfoliator” (on damp skin right after washing of the PTR peel pads).
    Tone with Obagi “nu-derm toner”
    then i use in this order (but wait 2-3 min after each product to let sink in).
    Cellex-c “advance C serum” (4-5 drops – and not near eyes).
    Skinmedica “TNS Essential Serum” (A-M-A-Z-I-N-G stuff – one full pump all over face).
    Md Forte “skin rejuvination eye cream” (great retinol and glycolic acid based strong eye cream)
    Obagi Exfoderm forte all over my face (not near eyes)
    skinceuticals “eye balm” for some extra eye skin hydration (needs to go on top of the md forte eye cream)
    Zo skin “oclipse sunscreen & primer spf30” (the Best and most AMAZING sunscreen in the world).
    *Tip: i have an oily T-zone and i dont use (or need) a moisturizer on top of all the things i use.
    but…if you would like a very lightweight daytime moisturizer that you want to put on top of the TNS serum (and underneath your sunscreen) i will suggest a wonderfull oil free lightweight one called “cellex-c sea silk moisturizer”.

    *Note: for hyperpigmentation issues you will need to use the RX doctor prescribed “hydroquinone”.
    i suggest you use it in a easier form such as a Liquid serum that contains hydroquinone.
    a liquid hydroquinone in a form of a serum that i know and used is from the “OBAGI RX-C System”.
    its an obagi’s RX doctor prescribed only line (but you can get it also online from different vendors who sell it without a medical doctor prescription).
    the product is a serum that combines 10 L-ascorbic acid (Vit-c) Plus 4% medical grade hydroquinone.
    so you get a vit-c serum and hydroquinone all in one liqid easy to use form.
    you can use it instead of the cellex-c vit-c serum in the daytime.
    i suggest you use it daily for a short period of three months…and then use it 1-2 times a week (and on the rest of the days go ahead and use the cellex-c serum).
    the product is called “obagi c clarifying serum”.

    Evning routine:
    cleanse with Obagi “gentle cleanser”.
    Tone with obagi
    Skinmedica TNS Essential Serum (1 full pump for whole face – you can use it under eyes too)
    Tretinoin cream (i use the obagi 0.5% tretinoin cream – about 1 inch cream for my whole face – this can be prescribed by a doctor or you can fine some online retailers that sell it online without a prescription)
    Skinceuticals “eye balm” (for dryness of under eye skin),
    and if you want or need some good emoliant moisturizer on your face at night ( i dont) then i suggest you use either the.. “skinmedica replenish hydrating cream” ,or the “skinmedica dermal repair cream” or even a good basic moisturizng cream like the Cerave “pm moisturizer” (which is very light in texture).

    *i also Love the Dermalogica “multi-vitamin power recovery masque” for twice a week “pampering” treatment.
    im not into facial “masks” normally (i find them kindda useless) but i love this mask and i use at as a “pick me up” mask on long night or when i fly and my skin dosent look its best.
    its a beauty mask for me and its the ONLY one i ever will use and repurchase.

    *for lip care i exfoliate lips with a usual lip exfoliator (from all the ones i have tried….the most comfortable one for me was the “paula’s choice lip exfoliant”.
    i moisturize my lips with the “Treat lip balm” – this lip balm is sooo good! its the BEST one i found from tens and tens i have used. plus it REALLY moisturizes from WITHIN the lipid cells and its not your typical lip balm that just “sits” on the lips and once it rubs off…your back to square one. i think the Glycerin and coconut oil is what really makes the difference on this one.

    Good luck!
    Sarai from israel 🙂

  • elondon

    The timeless serum C+E is useless. Ascorbic to have ability to penetrate and be active has to be incorporated into formulation with ph no more than 3.5 where at such low ph MAP is not stable and undergoes oxidation process.

  • Valerie

    My understanding of the patent is that it is all encompassing and covers a PH of 3.5 and under – which is the max ph that vit C is stable at. It also seems to include various form of vitamin e.

    I don’t understand how such a patent can be upheld – It’s not so unique. Combining cinnamic acid derivatives with anti-oxidants has been done for some time. Benzoin resin, for example, in any victorian treatment.


    • Nicki Zevola

      @Valerie – Patents in skin care and cosmetics are, in my experience, hard to be upheld by anyone but very large, profitable skin care and cosmetics companies. Holding a patent on one chemical that offers a certain performance attribute or physical property to a product can often easily be mimicked by another chemical with a distinct enough pH, chemical structure, or viability where it is not a patent infraction. I’m not a patent attorney by any means, but I do think you’re onto something — I’ve noticed this too!

  • alison

    How does Sanitas compare?

  • Patty

    I use CE Ferulic daily, I love it. However, it turns brown after sometime. Is it still effective?

    • Nicki Zevola

      No, I’ll go on the record and say that it isn’t. At that point, the vitamin C has oxidized, and a lot of the antioxidant potential is gone.

  • liz

    I now use Generic CE Ferulic and it is as effective as before. My doctor recommended CE Ferulic and I found the Generic form. I buy it off of Amazon called ActivFerulox. works well and it appears fresh.

  • Brian

    I’ve looked into all of your recommendations, but these dupe serums say they are not appropriate for oily skin types due to the Vit E content. I guess they’re going on the idea that Vit E clogs pores? Are there any dupes that would be ok for oily/acne-prone skin types?

    • Nicki Zevola

      Vitamin E does not clog pores, but it is quite hydrating. If you have oily/acne-prone skin, I would recommend the original Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, which is pretty lightweight. You can find sample bottles online cheap.

  • laura

    Is there anything i can add to the Timeless to lower the ph?

    • Nicki Zevola

      @Laura – I generally don’t recommend messing with serums to lower the pH. You generally have to consider the ability of a product to absorb within the skin, the ability for the ingredients to stay in the solution (they can clump together, come out of solution, make a real mess) — I wouldn’t recommend it!

  • Erin

    Do you have a recommendation for an eye cream comparable to the Skinceuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex?

    • Nicki Zevola

      Comparable in what way, efficacy or price? In terms of efficacy, I like the YBF Correct Eye Cream a lot. (They’re not currently an advertiser, I am not being paid in any way to say that!) In terms of price, it’s hard to find the ingredients in Skinceuticals AGE Complex at a lower price. I would say to use your face serum in the eye area, followed by a rich drugstore eye cream, like L’Oreal Revitalift. Hope that helps.

  • Erin

    I am so happy I found this review/comparison! I was just at my dermatologist’s office and the aesthetician recommended the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic and A.G.E. eye cream (they carry it) for my skin care concerns/goals. The price is too high for my budget for the C E, but I bought the eye cream. Wish I had done my research though; I found the eye cream at a reputable Amazon vendor for $30 less. She gave me one sample size of the C E and I used it this morning and really like it, so I went online to research it. Based on your review, I decided to order the Timeless version. I hope I like it as well; you can’t beat the price!

  • JennB

    Timeless has changed it’s formula. It no longer contains Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate. Although it stated in the ingredients on the website, on the bottle I bought does not contain Sodium Hyaluronate either. I have just started using it and have no complaints so far.

    Thanks for the great article!

  • Madeline

    Do you know what the pH is of Young Pharm CEGA 30+FERULIC serum is? What are your thoughts in Young’s version?

  • Catarina

    Thank you for your answer. I am still wondering if a water reduced base (e.g. Ethanol and water) would have more advantages regarding the stability of vitamin C and packed in an airless dispenser.

    TEA can cause skin irritation and allergies. But what bothers me more is that it may contain carcinogenic nitrosamines.

  • @Grace – Sorry! I just saw this comment now!

    Once vitamin C is oxidized, it turns into dehydroascorbic acid. Some of this will be converted back to L-ascorbic acid within your skin, but most of it will remain inactive. However, there is little or no evidence to support the idea vitamin C in this form becomes prooxidant and could damage your skin.

    For more:

    Hope this helps,

  • @Catarina – Vitamin E is fat soluble, but it is soluble in a mixture of water and alcohol. Alcohol has both polar and non-polar ends, which enables it to be a solvent for a variety of materials. And yes, you’re right – vitamin C is stabilized by vitamin E and ferulic acid in this serum.

    Why do you not like TEA? Curious.

  • Catarina

    I am not sure I understand the ingredients. Vitamin E is fat soluable isn’t it? So how does it dissolve in the water and alcohol based solution? And Vitamin C itself is stabilisized only by the two other antioxidants, do I understand that right?

    I do not like the triethanolamine I must say…

  • Grace

    Hi Nicki! I’ve just purchased a bottle of the Skinceuticals phloretin serum but it appears to be a very pale yellow colour. Is it alright to use it?

  • Kala

    Hi Nikki I love your site and I got the c+e feurilic from skinceutical and I used it for a week and my skin broke out really badly. Cystic acne – is this normal. My skin is pretty clear and I have never had this problem before. I am upset since I wanted to add vitamin c to my routine

  • @Hi Jennifer! So the philosophy booster powder is in fact an excellent product as well, if you don’t mind mixing it! I love it as well, the only caveat is the cream does not penetrate the skin as well as an alcohol- based serum, but if you are getting results from it, by all means, stick with it! Does this help?

  • Jennifer

    I use the vitamin c powder from philosophy. I mix it with my moisturizer. Any information about this brand?

  • @Jen – You’re very welcome! 🙂

  • Jen

    Thank you for posting this! I have been debating about what Vitamin C serum to choose because the Skinceutical version is a bit out of my price range right now. It’s nice to know that I can still find a serum without compromising my budget!

  • @Ginger – I tend to like the serums without the silicone or the gel base better, because they penetrate into the skin more readily. Hope this helps!

    @Lunaeva – I like the Lovely Skin product because it contains salicyclic acid, which is a superb idea. On the other hand, it is a cream, so the ingredients do not penetrate into the skin as well as they do in an alcohol-based formulation. I’m also wary of the claim that their 7% Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is equivalent to 30% L-ascorbic acid. While Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is certainly more photostable than L-ascorbic acid, I’d be interested to see their data proving the former’s effects are more substantial on the skin. That said, I think the Lovely Skin is a solid product, and I think you’d get great results from it.

  • Lunaeva

    What about LovelySkin’s Vitamin C&E + Ferulic Serum? I’d love to see a comparison between it and the skinceuticals version.

  • Very interesting review! I’d love to hear your thoughts on two other brands who make cheaper C serums: NuFountain have LAA ones (one with ferrulic) and a MAP one (it also has niacinamide), and Silk Naturals have several MAP ones (with white tea and tamarind extracts too). NuFountain use silicone and gel bases, the Silk Naturals serums are water-based. (I’m not affiliated to either!)

  • Becky

    How does the mad hippie skin care line compare to skinceuticals? It has a vitamin c + e + Ferulic acid but the vitamin c is called stay-c 50.

  • Jessica

    I hear wonderful things about Skinceuticals, but haven’t made the plunge yet. I’m currently using brand MUAC (makeup artist’s choice) C&E formula, and wondering if you had any thoughts on that brand or how it compares?

    Here is the ingredient list: purified water, aminopropyl ascorbyl phosphate, ethoxydiglycol, hydroeyethylcellulose, sodium hyaluronic, polysorbate 20, tocopheryl acetate, propylene glycol, orange peel extract, benazyl alcohol, methylisothiazolinone


  • @Dawn – I like to use vitamin C/E serums in the morning, because they are proven to boost sun protection when used under sunscreen. Also, vitamin C serums tend to be acidic, making them somewhat incompatible with more basic retinol creams (retinol undergoes esterification at pH 6.8). So I would keep vitamin C/E serums to the morning, though there’s no harm done if you use them twice daily. Hope this helps!

  • Dawn

    Do you use these morning and night?

  • Nan

    My apologies to Cosmetic Solutions, Nicky and all above. The product I’ve been grabbing from the fridge has been an old Skinceuticals Serum 15, not the new Cosmetic Solutions CE+, which is still nice and clear. Mea culpa.

    Since I’m on the subject, I’d like to report that the Serum 15 was brown when I purchased it and the spa where I purchased it insisted it was fine that way. btw, the package copy on the Serum 15 also says it’s okay if product is brown. Wow. What a way to avoid returns.

  • @Neena J – What other products are you using? Typically L-ascorbic acid is altogether not that drying, although the alcohol in the serum (used as a delivery system) can make it so. You might want to try switching to a hydrating moisturizer with sunscreen and foundation, like Dr. Jart++ BB Cream SPF 45. I would also advise that you make sure none of your cleansers/makeup contain potentially drying ingredients, like salicyclic acid or alpha hydroxy acids, unless you have acne-prone skin. Let me know!

  • @Ria – The ferulic acid in Skinceuticals CE Ferulic (and the other products) is designed to fight oxidation.

  • @Peggy – So glad you love the CE Ferulic for day and the PTR Retinol Fusion for night! Me too! 🙂

  • @Janette – Retinyl palmitate “controversy”…oh, don’t get me started on that… :-). But, to answer your question, retinyl palmitate is a derivative of vitamin A attached to a fatty acid. Vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid, so these are completely distinct. As far as day vs. night application, studies have shown vitamins C and E in conjunction can boost sun protection, so I love, love, LOVE these for daytime use under sunscreen! Hope this helps.

  • @Eva – I’ll have to look into the Topix Citrix product; thanks for the heads-up!

  • @tanveer – Thanks for reminding me about the Kiehl’s, I’ll have to read into that!

  • @Nan – That is unacceptable! Do you have your receipt? I would certainly return that bottle and try again. Let me know if this happens again!

  • Nan

    Enjoyed the review and, after reading it, ordered the Cosmetics Solution product as an alternative to the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. I like the feel of it on my skin. However, in less than a week the serum has gone from clear to brown. That is unacceptable. I did put it in the refrigerator when I first started using it as that was how I kept my previous Skinceuticals serum clear. Could it be that the refrigeration has the reverse effect on the Cosmetics Solution serum? Ah well, $39 down the tube is not as painful as $110.

  • Thanks for the wonderful comparision! I was wondering if you have heard of Keihl’s Vit C Concentrate and how do you feel it fares? That’s the only vit c prdt we get in India, so I thght i’d ask.. Thanks! 😀

  • CC

    Great review! Just wondering if you have ever encountered the Avalon Organics Vitamin C serum before, and if so, what do you think of it? Thanks so much.

  • NeenaJ

    I really enjoyed reading this article. My skin has been going through a terrible dry spell which I suspect has a lot to do with central heating at my office and home (at least I can have a humidifier at home). Is the LAA worth the short term dryness for the long-term (4 weeks) payoff?

    Is there anything specific I can use in combination to quell the drying effects? Thanks for any advise!

  • Ria

    Great article! I’ve always learnt that an optimal pH is necessary – it’s nice to have it confirmed!

    Just wondering though, what about storage? Because ascorbic acid is notoriously unstable – I know it rapidly oxidises. Does the Skinceuticals CE+Ferulic have ingredients that prevent this oxidation? I know the vitamin E and ferulic is supposed to help with that, but to what extent? Also, Skinceuticals products may sit on shelves for months if not years, so how does the vitamin c hold up that then? Anyway, I’d love any tips on storage and prolonging the efficacy of my product!

  • Peggy

    Thank you so much for this article. I have been waiting for you to write this. I love your blog, my absolute fav. on skincare. I have used the Cosmetic Skin Solutions C+Ferluic in the past and liked it. I’m currently using NuFountain. I’m wondering if you are familiar with them or what you think of their products if you are. I’m very excited to try the Timeless serum once I run out of what I’m using now. Thanks again for this great article and your site. Thanks to your recommendation I’m using the PTR Retinol Fusion at night with Vit. C during the day and am loving the results! Keep up the great work.

  • Janette

    Thanks so much for your fascinating article! It’s exciting to read about the beneficial effects of these vitamin C serums.

    Do you think any of the concerns/controversy about the safety of the antioxidant VitA/retinyl palmite might apply to the Vit C? Are these two vitamins similar in their actions?

    (If so, is applying at night better or would we just lose the fourfold increase in sun protection?)

    Thank you!

  • I’ll be sure to look into this, Eva, thanks for letting me know!
    I’ll publish what I find in a post soon…

  • Eva

    How do you think these compare the the Topix Citrix 20% serum with Growth Factor? I learned about this on Dr. Bailey’s blog. Would love to hear your insight.

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