Vitamin C and Your Skin: All You Need to Know

Jun. 4, 2020
Why we all should be using this powerhouse ingredient, how to apply it, and what vitamin C products to try for a serious radiance boost.
Maintaining healthy skin starts with getting to know your skin type, choosing the right ingredients for your skin concerns, and committing to a suitable routine. One of the most powerful and research-proven ingredients, recommended by dermatologists and safe for all skin types is without a doubt, vitamin C.
Our skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which stimulates collagen synthesis and provides antioxidant protection against various aggressors, such as UV-damage and pollution. As we age, the levels of vitamin C in our skin naturally decrease. This may result in uneven skin tone, loss of firmness, and dull complexion. Fortunately, the modern skincare world delivers topical solutions that can help achieve radiant and healthy skin.
Skin Benefits of Vitamin C
  • Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin with powerful antioxidant benefits for the skin when applied topically. Vitamin C:
  • brightens skin’s complexion 
  • fades age spots and sun spots 
  • smoothes fine lines and wrinkles
  • neutralizes the aging effects of free radicals, pollution, and UV radiation
  • helps wound healing and reduces the risk of scarring and infection
  • treats various inflammatory conditions, including redness
A vitamin C derivative, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, has been proven to provide hydration to the skin by decreasing transepidermal water loss and helping the skin retain moisture better.
Forms of Vitamin C
There are many forms of vitamin C in skincare, all of them offer antioxidant benefits but some work better in skincare formulations.
  • Ascorbic acid, also called L-ascorbic acid - The most well-studied and popular form of vitamin C in skincare products.  It is proven to be the purest, most stable, and effective form of vitamin C, used in products.
There are forms that are not pure vitamin C, they are usually combined with other ingredients, in order to make the vitamin C more effective. Other derivatives with proven efficacy include:
  • Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate - helps reduce the appearance of sun spots, age spots and hyperpigmentation. It also diminishes the signs of aging and boosts skin’s radiance
  • Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate - reduces inflammation and protects against DNA cell damage induced by UV exposure
  • Sodium ascorbyl phosphate
  • Ascorbyl glucoside 
The different forms of vitamin C can be combined and layered with other actives, including exfoliating acids and other vitamins.
What to Remember Before Adding Vitamin C to Your Daily Skincare Routine?
  • Sensitive to Air and Light
  • Vitamin C is extremely sensitive to air and light, and it breaks down over time if it is regularly exposed to them. In order to get the best possible results from this potent antioxidant, make sure the vitamin C product you are using is in an opaque and airtight container to help the formulation remain stable.
  • Concentration of Vitamin C
  • Another important part to consider is the form of vitamin C you would want to use. The key is to look for a stable and effective vitamin C but if you are new to the ingredient, you might want to start with a lower concentration and slowly build up a tolerance to this potent antioxidant. If you have dry and sensitive skin, a 5% concentration is less likely to be irritating. In case you suffer from severe pigmentation issues, dermatologists may recommend a concentration of 20% or even higher.
  • Vitamin C Products
  • Vitamin C can be found in serums, moisturizers, toners, face washes, masks. Naturally, leave-on products are a lot more effective than those you need to rinse. Serums are usually more concentrated than creams and that’s why often they are the preferred vehicle to go for. Additionally, the best moment to apply vitamin C topically is on a freshly cleansed face before moisturizer and sunscreen.
    Are There Any Side Effects of Using Vitamin C?
    Vitamin C is considered safe for all skin types but be cautious in case your skin is extremely sensitive or redness-prone, as you may experience minor irritation. Pairing vitamin C with other active ingredients requires your attention, as well. You can use vitamin C and retinoids on the same day but avoid applying them at the same time, as they hold similar benefits, and combining them makes them less effective. Experts suggest using vitamin C in the morning and retinoids at night.
    Vitamin C has an important role in skincare because it provides multiple skin benefits, it is essential for healthy skin and it is non-irritating.It has proven skin-brightening properties while delivering protection from the visible impact of environmental aggressors. Its ability to even out the skin tone and diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles helps sustain a radiant and youthful look to the skin.
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