DERMAdoctor Kakadu C 20% Serum Review

Today, I’ll be sharing a review on DERMAdoctor Kakadu C 20% Serum. This serum gets its main ingredient from its namesake plum which grows in Australia. To find out why vitamin C serums should be incorporated within your skincare routine, check out this article

Kakadu plums (Terminalia ferdinandiana) are known for its highest recorded concentrations of vitamin C or ascorbic acid. Presently, it tops the scale among other citrus fruits with vitamin C levels of 3.5-5.9% of its weight. What makes this green plum so extraordinary is that both its flesh and seed contain several antioxidant polyphenols.

We have previously discussed the benefits of adding vitamin C to your beauty routines. By now, we know how vitamin C performs and at what concentration levels. Also, the different derivatives available in the market and how they fare in terms of potency and action. But if you’re new to this topic and you want read more about it, follow this link here.

DERMAdoctor Kakadu C 20% Review

DERMAdoctor Kakadu C Serum
Kakadu C Serum

Active ingredients

As vitamin. C is hydrophilic, cosmeceuticals can achieve an efficient transepidermal delivery of the stable active compound by reducing the acidity of L-ascorbic acid to a pH below 3.5. As with Skinceuticals’ CE Ferulic serum, the addition of ferulic acid to the formulation aids in stabilizing the compound. Together these work synergistically to deliver a higher level of protection for your skin.

Vitamin C: type and percentage

DERMAdoctor Kakadu C 20% Serum | Active Ingredients

DERMAdoctor Kakadu 20% serum uses 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid as a stable alternative. Once applied to the skin, this bio-converts to ascorbic acid. And while this may be considered superior in terms of stability, more clinical trials are needed to ascertain its efficacy in comparison with L-ascorbic acid.

Unlike ascorbic acid, its derivatives do not oxidize quickly, meaning they have a longer shelf life. However the downside is, there’s been more research done on ascorbic acid than 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid or other vitamin C derivatives and the evidence for its benefits have been both consistent and undeniable in literature.

Another point to be noted: although the in-virto tests have shown that the derivatives have antioxidant potential, we just don’t know yet how much of the derivative converts to ascorbic acid in the skin.

Other ingredients

We have also noted the addition of two other skin-repairing ingredients (i.e. sodium hyaluronate, panthenol) and the skin protective Epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG). These ingredients help by keeping your skin hydrated and thereby, minimize the overall appearance of wrinkles.

DermaDoctor Kakadu Vitamin C Serum
DermaDoctor Kakadu Vitamin C serum

How to use?

The serum could be used twice daily without irritation. I place one drop on my forehead and on each cheek and then massage in to cleansed and toned skin every morning. It’s technically “fragrance-free” but it does have a slight medicinal scent (which is noticeable, but not bad) and feels slightly tacky until it settles. It absorbs quite nicely into the skin within a few seconds of applying it and I like how it can be layered well with other products without pilling. Again, since 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid is pH dependant (pH 4 to 5.5) the placement of it in your routine does matter.


This vitamin C serum is packed in a standard 30 mL glass dropper bottle. The color of the glass is opaque— which is a good thing when it comes to vitamin C, which oxidizes when exposed to light. Keeping your vitamin C serum in a cool, dark place can help prolong the stability of the formulation.


I hate how the price factor plays in with most of the vitamin C serums but this sits squarely within the normal range for a product of its type and effectiveness. I would consider this as a solid alternative to CE Ferulic. DERMAdoctor serum retails for about AED 570 for 30 ml, which essentially would take you through 2 months of application. Skinceuticals CE Ferulic on the hand, is priced at AED 670 for an ounce-sized bottle.

On that note, I have also found another vitamin C elixir in an oil-based formula from Shirley Conlon Organics that fits your budget fairly well and is fortified with botanical extracts. It contains Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate 10% (at the maximum recommended dose). It also combines date fruit, kakadu, rose extract, squalene and vitamin E in the formula. I would suggest this for those with dry to combination skin types. The price for an ounce-sized bottle is only AED 295.

The bottom line

The serum contains a ton of great ingredients including 20% vitamin C (Ethyl Ascorbic Acid), Ferulic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid and EGCG but it does contain alcohol and so it may not be the safest pick for sensitive skin types.

On me however, it absorbs nicely and never irritated my skin or led to any breakouts. If anything, it has actually helped clear up my skin during active breakouts. I’m using this in the morning with DERMAdoctor retinol 1% on alternate nights. But again to see actual improvement in pigmentation, you need to be consistently using it for 5 days a week.

So now lets take the final verdict. This or Skinceuticals CE Ferulic?

I would probably say, Skinceuticals because they have copious research published on its efficacy and stability testing. But if you’re looking to achieve the same effect at a lesser price (which again, is a question I’m frequently asked), the formula in DERMAdoctor Kakadu C 20% Serum is very close to Skinceuticals’ (minus the difference in the vitamin C formula).

So if I had a big event, like a wedding coming up, I would consider purchasing Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. For other times, I’d opt for DERMAdoctor or other vitamin C serums that offer the same level of antioxidant protection as CE Ferulic.


  • Williams DJ, Edwards D, Pun S, Chaliha M, Burren B, Tinggi U, Sultanbawa YFood Res Int. 2016 Nov; 89(Pt 1):237-244.
  • Konczak I, Maillot F, Dalar A. Food Chem. 2014 May 15; 151():248-56.
Sahar x

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