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The Vitamin C Serum That Convinced Me to Hold Off on Botox


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There comes a time in every woman’s life when the inevitable signs of aging begin to take hold. For me, that time came last year. With every photo I took, I began to notice the series of fine lines that were settling into the areas around my eyes seemingly overnight. Though I had always imagined I would be prepared for this — wrinkles are a natural part of life, after all — the lines I was seeing on my face incited a deep-seated panic I can’t even begin to describe. I felt haggard. I felt tired. I felt, well, old.

Disheartened by the new picture of myself that was forming right in front of my face, I began to contemplate Botox — the injection of a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin that has the power to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by paralyzing the muscles that lie beneath them.

 “I’ve been doing it for years,” my best friend assured me. “It doesn’t even hurt!” claimed another.

Despite their votes of confidence, however, I was hesitant to pull the trigger. Now, don’t get me wrong — I’m not opposed to such a cosmetic treatment. If it’s something that makes you feel better and you have enough disposable income to afford it, by all means, have at it! But botox is a commitment. It doesn’t last forever. After roughly three to six months, those same lines and wrinkles you paid to rid yourself of will begin to reappear. Sure, they may be less severe, according to WebMD, as those paralyzed muscles will begin to shrink, but they’ll be there, just the same.

For me, it seemed like a lot of doctor appointments I could do without, and frankly, a lot of cash I’d prefer to keep in my pocket — a typical Botox session can cost anywhere from $500 to $800 a session (gulp!), depending on your individual needs. Plus, I’d heard that a vitamin C serum could be just as effective at making my skin look youthful.

While the procedure is generally considered safe (it’s the most common minimally invasive procedure performed by plastic surgeons, with its numbers steadily on the rise), there were also some health risks to be taken into account, ranging from mild pain to gallbladder dysfunction.

Still, as normal as my newfound wrinkles might be, I wasn’t willing to idly sit back and watch as crow’s feet and laugh lines took up residence on my face. (Not yet, anyway!) That’s right around the time I saw SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic serum (Buy on SkinCeuticals, $166) pop up on a friend’s Instagram.

I had heard of this miracle vitamin C serum before from other bloggers I follow — according to the hype, this stuff, though somewhat pricey, was worth every penny for those seeking real anti-aging results. This particular post, however, had videographic proof that shook me to my core.

In the clip, two halves of an apple were exposed to elements, like sun and air pollutants, that can prematurely age our skin. After turning predictably brown, one half of the apple was doused in an application of the SkinCeuticals serum. Miraculously, over a period of roughly 20 minutes or so, the brown spots began to fade away.

“Whoa,” I thought. “Maybe there is something to this stuff. If it can do that to an apple … what can it do for my face?”

According to the website, the secret to this serum’s patented formula is its 15 percent of pure vitamin C (aka L-ascorbic acid), 1 percent of vitamin E, and .5 percent of ferulic acid. Together, they work to neutralize free radicals from the sun’s harmful rays, infrared radiation, and ozone pollution, for up to 72 hours after application, all of which can lead to accelerated aging.

Even more convincing? A 16-week clinical study conducted by brand of 50 men and women between the ages of 40 and 60 also claimed to show a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, improve skin firmness, and brighten complexion when applied — exactly the type of results I was looking for.

Naturally, I had to try this vitamin C serum for myself. For the better part of a month, I followed the instructions on the bottle and applied four to five drops each morning to my face and neck area.

SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic

vitamin C serum

Buy on SkinCeuticals ($166)

Why we like it:

  • Minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • Brightens complexion
  • Plumps and firms skin
  • Helps fade dark spots

While its slightly pungent smell took a little bit of getting used to, I quickly found myself an addict. Each time I slathered this vitamin C serum on, paying particular attention to my under-eye area, I felt like I was suiting my skin up in armor for the long day ahead.

If you ask me now, I would say that I was: I really do feel as though it guarded my skin against the elements — possibly enough to even reverse some signs of aging. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but after several weeks, I feel like my fine lines are somehow less noticeable than they were before. My makeup isn’t caking around my peepers quite the same way, and while my “problem” spots are still visible, to be sure, I find I’m really having to really seek out those areas that looked so prominent in the mirror before.

What’s more, despite the harsh winter’s cold that has seemingly permanently moved in over my home in Chicago, my complexion is far more vibrant than it has been in years past. It’s not dull. It’s not flaky. Instead, with this serum and a little bit of moisturizer, I feel like I’m putting my best face forward to the world.

Which brings us to the million dollar question: Did I make the right decision? For me, right now, I would say yes. While it’s true that this (or any vitamin C serum, really), might not be quite as effective as Botox at removing signs of aging, it’s been effective enough to put the thought on the back burner.

For me, that makes those bloggers right — it is worth every penny of its $166 price tag … and then some.

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