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When it comes to serums, there’s something undeniably satisfying about seeing the effects right after application. Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Treatment Serum ($45) offers just that. With five forms of vitamin C for brightness, guava extract for protection against free-radical damage, and tranexamic acid to chip away at redness over time, the formula is potent, to say the least. But though it packs a major punch, it is formulated particularly for those with sensitive skin.

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Vitamin C serums have a history of causing irritation in sensitive skin types due to the fact that the pH levels of L-ascorbic acid (one of the most potent and widely-used forms of vitamin C) is lower, or more acidic, than those of your skin. This, derms say, explains any dryness or itching you might experience post-application. To combat the issue, they recommend looking for a formula that pairs a stabilized vitamin C with nourishing vitamin E.

What’s more, because the Glow Recipe formula contains, not only vitamin C and E, it’s actually incredibly versatile for a variety of skin issues. Dullness, acne, texture, and redness are all targeted via five different forms of vitamin C for maximum effect. And thanks to dual-encapsulation technology, this vitamin C is encapsulated in both water and oil, which makes it more stable, more gentle, and more easily absorbed deeply into skin.

Kiran Mian, DO, a medical and aesthetic Dermatologist at Flatiron Family Medical, highlights other key ingredients in the formula, like vitamin E, which “helps with its absorption,” and niacinamide, which she calls “a powerhouse ingredient that decreases inflammation while brightening the skin—the perfect pair with ascorbic acid.” It’s also got tranexamic acid in the mix, a gentle AHA that reduces the appearance of dark spots and redness over time.

Overapplication as a result of pure excitement for the product is understandable, but maintaining a once-per-day routine is best for those experimenting with vitamin C for the first time.  “I recommend using other acids on alternating days, or using vitamin C in the morning and retinoid at night,” she says. Pair it with a glycerin-rich moisturizer, and Dr. Mian says you’ll reap the benefits of both ingredients. If the results are anything like the hundreds of five-star reviews the product has earned, your only regret will be not discovering this sensitive-skin friendly vitamin C serum sooner.

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