Vitamin C has been increasingly popular within the beauty industry for some time now, with an even higher surge in recent months. Why so popular? It has been tried and tested. It is efficacious and it has a low-risk profile. And we are finding better delivery systems to maintain this delicate antioxidant’s efficacy. What does it do? Vitamin C has been proven to improve discoloration, even skin tone, protect skin from free radicals while promoting collagen synthesis, making it a powerhouse antioxidant ingredient, suitable for most skin type.
Why use Vitamin C? Well, who doesn’t want a boost of collagen synthesis to help keep skin looking firm and young? Vitamin C protects against free radicals and UV radiation, and therefore helps to diminish premature ageing. And if you haven’t already been convinced, it effectively fades dark spots and brightens the skin.
When should we use Vitamin C? Even though signs of aging and pigmentation might not appear until you are into your twenties and thirties, it is good to start using Vitamin C in your 20’s. If you have brown spots from sun exposure, loss of skin elasticity, and inflamed/red skin – Vitamin C may be a great option.
What to look for in a Vitamin C? Finding the right concentration is also important. A concentration between 3-10% will be effective in an L-ascorbic Acid or Ascorbic Acid form. Vitamin C can break down in UV light and lessen its potency depending on its delivery system, so it is recommended that packaging is sealed and kept in a dark environment. A potency of 10-20% is a powerhouse treatment but as the percentage increases, so can the side effects.
Vitamin C rich products are available in many different forms such as serums, moisturisers, and cleansers. A serum is water-based, which makes it lightweight and quickly absorbed into the skin and therefore the best choice for the delivery of topical active ingredients. Serums are also a concentrated way to get anti-aging ingredients into the skin which can then be layered with other products overtop. Vitamin C can be combined with other anti-aging ingredients, such as UV damage fighting antioxidant Vitamin E or hyaluronic acid, which penetrates the dermis boosting the elasticity and hydration of the skin. The protective barrier on the skin locks in moisture, which gives the skin a youthful appearance. It is also often combined with Ferulic Acid, a powerful antioxidant that combats free radicals in your skin.
How to use: It is recommended that you apply your serum/cream in the morning to prevent damage to the skin during the day with sunscreen overtop. Application once a day is satisfactory, however I recommend twice daily application. When using Vitamin C, it is important to consider that the vitamin is formulated at a low pH, which can be irritating to the skin and cause flaking. These side effects can be avoided by using the product properly. So, it is recommended that you do not start off using the strongest serum you can find, instead work up to it in small doses.
What to watch out for? Active ingredients in skincare have different purposes, and using them at the same time in high concentrations my result in irritation. It is best to avoid Retinol, Glycolic, Salicylic and Lactic Acid when using Vitamin C or to gradually implement these actives one at a time to produce less visible skin irritation. Exposure to light and air can denature the active ingredients in Vitamin C products and render them useless. For this reason, skincare professionals recommend using topical Vitamin C serums that are packaged in airtight containers.
Overall, Vitamin C is one ingredient most people can benefit from and I cannot recommend it more highly.