There are few skin-care ingredients that get the resounding expert seal of approval like vitamin C. Known for its brightening properties, this powerful antioxidant has been clinically proven to improve texture, appearance, and overall health of skin. If used regularly, it can also boost collagen production, improve pigmentation, brighten dull skin, and help diminish stubborn acne scars. Which is why it is always part of my skin-care arsenal and I instantly notice if I stop using it. And the best part? Anyone can easily incorporate vitamin C into their current skin-care routine and reap the benefits.
"Vitamin C is an essential addition to a skin-care routine purely because the body cannot produce it on its own," Andjelka Maravillas, makeup artist and founder of SEKKEIZU, tells POPSUGAR UK. "It is a fantastic antioxidant and works to protect, prevent, and repair the skin from daily environmental exposure and damage, so while it's totally fine to use it at night, you get a lot more out of it as a daytime ingredient."
So grab a cup of tea and get ready to learn about why vitamin c should be your new skin-care BFF. It's going to be educational.
What Is Vitamin C?
Before you pour a glass of orange juice on your face, stop! This may be the way to benefit from its immune-boosting powers, but it differs in reference to skin care. "Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that actively works on the skin in the form of L-ascorbic acid," says Dr. Ana Mansouri, a cosmetic dermatologist, and Skinceuticals expert. "A powerful and potent ingredient to improve the skin's function, slow down ageing, and protect from environmental damage."
What Are the Benefits of Using Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which protects the skin from environmental damage and prevents premature skin aging associated with UV rays and pollution. The molecules are able to penetrate deep into the skin's surface and neutralise free radicals, which are toxic to skin cells. It can also stimulate cell renewal and support new collagen synthesis, which means it will leave you with brighter, firmer skin. Another bonus is that it is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help reduce acne and rosacea. Additionally, when vitamin C is used with a broad spectrum SPF, it works in synergy to increase the power of the SPF, resulting in superior protection against atmospheric ageing.
What Types of Vitamin C Products Work Best?
Not all vitamin C products are created equal. "The concentration of vitamin C within the product is important," says Mohini Patel, Dermatica lead physical product manager. As a rough guide, the sweet spot tends to be around fifteen percent for effectiveness. "This is better tolerated for sensitive skin while still providing significant benefits," Patel says. However, five percent is best for the delicate eye area and ten percent if you have particularly dry or very sensitive skin. Formula can contain upto twenty percent but should only be used if you have advanced photo-ageing concerns.
Who Should Be Using Vitamin C?
"Contrary to popular belief, everyone can benefit from vitamin C, including individuals with sensitive skin," Patel says. Vitamin C aids in preventing and repairing loss of skin firmness while reinforcing the skin barrier and locking in hydration, which are particularly useful properties for sensitive skin. The ideal age to start introducing vitamin C is your early 20s according to Dr Saira, but people of all ages can benefit from using it.
It should be used in the morning after cleansing and should be followed by a high factor broad-spectrum SPF to double up the damage defence. Dr Saira says that vitamin C should be seen as a skin-care essential. Whether you want to prevent the onset of premature ageing, reduce skin inflammation associated with acne or rosacea, or have mature skin with aging concerns. It's an all-round skin-care hero. We're sold.
Is There Anything to Be Cautious of When Using Vitamin C?
It is important to look at the stability of a product. "It's imperative to seek out stabilised preparations of vitamin C," says Dr Saira. "Always buy products which are packaged in bottles which protect the product from sunlight. This prevents premature oxidisation of the serum and prolongs its shelf-life." In general, vitamin C serums appear as champagne or light straw-coloured liquids. If your product has a brownish discolouration then discontinue use immediately. This suggests that vitamin C has oxidised and can be harmful if applied to the skin.
"L-ascorbic acid is an exfoliating acid and without use of a high factor broad spectrum SPF, it can increase photosensitivity rendering the skin vulnerable to inflammation and sun damage," Dr Saira says. "If undergoing ablative skin treatments such as chemical peels or laser, it may be appropriate to take a short break from active products such as vitamin C or retinol to allow the skin's barrier to repair.