Is Obagi Vitamin C Serum Good? Does It Work?

OBAGI Vitamin C Serum

Obagi Vitamin C serum has worked for a lot of women globally. It has three variants of Vitamin C serum that have different percentages of L-Ascorbic Acid – 10%, 15%, and 20%, each formulated for different skin types.  

Obagi Vitamin C Serum 10 Ingredient

Owing to its no-nonsense ingredient list, Obagi Vitamin C serum 10 is most suitable for sensitive and dry skin types. It has ingredients that do not irritate or sensitize the skin. 

  • Propylene Glycol
  • Water
  • Propylene Carbonate
  • L-ascorbic acid
  • Fragrance

Propylene Glycol

It is a synthetic humectant that attracts water from the atmosphere and hydrates skin. It locks the moisture and makes skin smooth. This ingredient is a boon for dry and flaky skin.


Water acts as a solvent for the serum

Propylene Carbonate

This is a humectant with penetration-enhancing properties. It helps ingredients to get absorbed by the skin easily. It also acts as a viscosity controller and a solvent, which means it helps blend ingredients in a formulation without affecting the properties of other ingredients. 

L-ascorbic acid

A potent form of VItamin C, L-Ascorbic Acid has antioxidant properties that help fight the aging symptoms and are used to treat pigmentation. 


Obagi Vitamin C serum has a mild artificial fragrance. If you are sensitive to the aroma, you may want to give this variant a pass. 

Obagi Vitamin C Serum 15 Ingredients

As the name suggests, Obagi Vitamin C serum 15 has 15 % of L-Ascorbic Acid and is good for all skin types. The ingredients of this serum are not different from Obagi Vitamin C serum 10 except that it has ascorbyl glucoside and alcohol.

Ascorbyl Glucoside

A less potent, yet more stable form of Vitamin C, Ascorbyl Glucoside is gentler on the skin and works effectively against free radicals. It promotes brighter skin and reduces hyperpigmentation. 


Alcohol is not a good ingredient, even if it is used just as a solvent. In the long run, cosmetics containing alcohol tend to dry out the skin.

Obagi Vitamin C Serum 20 Ingredients

Obagi Vitamin C serum 20 is highly concentrated, and so it is suitable for normal to oily skin. It has a lot of new ingredients than other Vitamin C serums from the same brand lack. 

  • Ethoxydiglycol – A non-comedogenic compound that is used as a solvent.
  • Phenoxyethanol – A gentle and safe preservative. 
  • Sorbitol – A humectant that helps lock in hydration in the skin. 
  • Sodium Hyaluronate – A salt of hyaluronic acid (HA), that draws water from the air to help the skin remain hydrated for a longer period. It makes skin plump, smooth, and increases elasticity.
  • Zinc Chloride – Zinc helps calm the inflamed skin and treats skin conditions like acne and rosacea.
  • Calcium Hydroxide – It protects the skin from infections and purifies the pores.
  • Alcohol
  • Fragrance

Does Obagi Vitamin C Serum Contain Hydroquinone?

No. Obagi Vitamin C serum doesn’t contain hydroquinone. Obagi clarifying serum does have hydroquinone along with Vitamin C that works hyperpigmentation and dark spots. 

Not using hydroquinone in its Vitamin C serums, Obagi has made them more sensitive skin-friendly. Hydroquinone and Vitamin C together may cause a stinging or mild burning sensation.

Though Vitamin C works best with skin lightening agents like hydroquinone, many studies show, there are no additional benefits provided to the skin when these two are used together. 

Does Obagi Vitamin C Serum Have SPF?

No, Obagi Vitamin C serum doesn’t have any added SPF. Vitamin C itself is capable of fighting free radical damage but combining it with a broad spectrum SPF in the morning skincare routine

prevents the skin from any sun damage. 

It is always advised to pair Vitamin C with sunscreen of SPF ranging between 30 to 50 to multiply their benefits and provide maximum protection against UVB and UVA rays. 

Does Obagi Vitamin C Serum Have Retinol?

No, Obagi Vitamin C serum doesn’t contain retinol. Retinol and Vitamin C should never be mixed in a single formulation as they may do more harm than good. 

Vitamin c and retinol can be used in a single skincare routine as separate products with the right concentration. The combination of these two skincare actives tends to exaggerate some skin conditions when used in a single skincare routine so take them slowly or use them in different skincare routines.

Vitamin C can be used in the morning and night skincare routine while retinol should be used strictly in a night skincare routine.

Does Obagi Vitamin C Serum Expire?

Yes. Obagi Vitamin C serum comes with a shelf life of 3-6 months when opened and 1-3 years when unopened. 

Even though Obagi Vitamin C serums come in dark-colored bottles, it is always recommended to keep them away from sunlight and humidity. Vitamin C serums when exposed to direct sunlight become less potent and can oxidize. 

The change in color of the product is a sign that the serum has lost its potency. if it turns dark yellow or brown it’s time to stop using it.

Obagi Vitamin C Serum Side Effects

The two variants of Obagi Vitamin C serum have a pretty good amount of alcohol that has caused dehydration to many users across the globe. The serums also have added synthetic fragrance that consists of 20-22 different chemicals. 

Alcohol and artificial fragrance can cause severe damage to the skin. They can cause boils, hives and can make skin vulnerable to other infections. They also have the tendency to throw the hormonal balance off the system.

Is Obagi Vitamin C Serum Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, all the Vitamin C serums from Obagi are safe to use during pregnancy. During pregnancy, skin goes through a lot of changes, the skin becomes sensitive to the sun and there may be unevenness in your skin tone. Obagi Vitamin C serum comes in handy to combat all these skin issues with three different variants to choose from. 

Vitamin C is always a better alternative compared to all the skin-lightening agents during pregnancy. 

Is Obagi Vitamin C Serum Good For Oily Skin?

Yes, Obagi Vitamin C serum 20 is most suited for oily skin. It has non-comedogenic ingredients like ethoxydiglycol and zinc chloride that go well with oily skin types. It does have alcohol, so sensitive oily skin types should stay away. 

Obagi Vitamin C serum 10 is also a good choice if you have oily skin with little active acne, as it is much gentler on the skin. It doesn’t contain alcohol that can sensitize and aggravate the acne-prone skin more.

Is Obagi Vitamin C Serum Good For Melasma?

Obagi Vitamin C serum may treat melasma. Melasma is a skin condition identified by dark brown patches on the face. It may appear during pregnancy or due to over-exposure to sunlight. 

Obagi Vitamin C serum helps reduce discoloration but is not proven to eliminate melasma. Many types of research have shown that melasma can be treated with a Vitamin C serum combined with hydroquinone and azelaic acid, but one should always be careful while using multiple active ingredients. 

It is always advisable to ask a good dermatologist if the condition persists.

Is Obagi Vitamin C Serum Good For Dry Skin?

Yes, Obagi Vitamin C serum 10 is designed for dry and sensitive skin types. The lack of alcohol makes it the best choice amongst the three variants available. 

Vitamin C serums, in general, have the tendency to dry out the skin a little bit, so it is always recommended to use it with a good Hyaluronic Acid serum. HA and Vitamin C together protect and help the aging skin.

While using these two serums together, always use Vitamin C first followed by HA serum.

Is Obagi Vitamin C Serum Good For Eyes?

Yes, Obagi Vitamin C serum is good for the under-eye area. It helps increase collagen production and with consistent usage, it can even out the skin around under the eyes. 

It helps fade the darkness and its antioxidants properties help with wrinkles, fine lines, and crow feet. It reduces under-eye bags and makes the skin visibly brighter and firm. 

The texture of Obagi Vitamin C serum is lightweight and absorbs quickly, making it ideal to use around the eye area without leaving any greasy residue behind.

Can I Use Obagi Vitamin C Serum At Night?

Yes, you can use Obagi Vitamin C serum at night. At night, our body cells undergo a repair process, hence vitamin C gets absorbed more effectively into the skin. 

 According to many dermatologists, Vitamin C is more beneficial when used in the morning. It acts as a shield to fight environmental aggressors and sun rays throughout the day. And when followed with an SPF, it delays signs of premature aging and reduces age spots. 

Which Obagi Vitamin C Serum Should I use?

Obagi offers three types of Vitamin C serum for different skin types as explained above. If you are new to this ingredient, then Obagi Vitamin C serum 10 would be more beginner-friendly. 

If you are not new to Vitamin C then you can opt for any two variants having more than 10% L-Ascorbic Acid.

If you have sensitive skin or active acne then 10% Vitamin C serum is your savior even if your skin is friendly to a higher percentage. 

Avoid using it with exfoliating ingredients like AHAs and BHAs.

Does Obagi Vitamin C Serum Really Work?

Yes, Obagi Vitamin C serum has worked wonders on hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Many women have observed significant changes in their skin tone and texture. Obagi Vitamin C is one of the most potent serums and has reduced wrinkles and early signs of aging. 

Obagi Vitamin C serums have shown results for every age group, from the early 20s to late 50s. It is a must-have Vitamin C serum in your skincare routine if you are looking for some serious results.


Anand Srinivasan
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