Vitamin C in skincare has been around long enough that most people know it’s supposed to be “good”. But what’s “good” about it? How does it actually work? And what products are best for your individual concerns? The following article will answer those questions and arm you with the knowledge to have brighter, less dull, and healthier skin.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (also known as L-Ascorbic Acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that is available in select foods (mainly citrus fruits and some vegetables). Unlike other vitamins, humans are unable to produce Vitamin C on their own, therefore it is a necessary part of everyone’s diet.
Benefits of Vitamin C In the Body
VItamin C is an important antioxidant; helping to neutralize free radicals and protect against infections. Vitamin C is also needed to help create collagen in the skin. This is an essential component of connective tissue in the body, and assists with wound healing (it’s also what helps skin to look less wrinkled!).
If there are Vitamin C deficiencies in the diet, it can lead to scurvy. Symptoms include anemia, exhaustion, spontaneous bleeding, open wounds, pain in the limbs, swelling, and sometimes loss of teeth… yikes. It’s commonly associated with sailors hundreds of years ago, but can still happen today.
Benefits of Vitamin C On the Skin
According to the National Institute of Health, normal skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which supports important functions, stimulating collagen synthesis and assisting in antioxidant protection against UV-induced photo-damage.
So, it makes sense that putting Vitamin C on the skin topically can help with concerns like fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots caused by the sun, and free radical protection.
And before you start thinking “Hey, can’t I just slice and orange and rub it on my face for help with collagen production?!?”... no. There is a difference between edible and topical Vitamin C. The body absorbs products differently and needs different delivery systems to remain stable and effective.
Top Concerns Addressed by Vitamin C
If the following skin concerns are something you’re concerned with, Vitamin C is a good go-to ingredient:
- Fine lines & wrinkles
- Dark spots caused by the sun
- Protection against pollution (smog, UV-induced damage)
- Dull skin
- Dry skin
How to Find Vitamin C on a Skin Care Product Label
As mentioned above, Vitamin C is also called L-ascorbic acid. In skin care products, it is more common to see derivatives of Vitamin C, which are salts (water-soluble) or esters (oil-soluble) of Ascorbic Acid. This allows the products to stay more stable and absorb more readily in to the skin.
A skin care product will never list the word “Vitamin” on the ingredient list without the formal chemical name (INCI). To find a Vitamin C ingredient on a label, look for the word “ascorbyl” or “ascorbate.” Here are some examples of what is normally seen on INCI’s:
- Ascorbic Acid (L-Ascorbic Acid)
- Ascorbyl Palmitate
- Sodium Ascorbate
- Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP)
- Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THDA) (also denoted Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate)
- Ascorbyl Glucoside
- Ascorbyl Glucosamine
- Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate
Types of Skincare Products that Contain Vitamin C
Vitamin C is such a popular ingredient, you can find it in most skincare products from cleansers to serums to creams.
Cleansers that contain Vitamin C are a good option for individuals that want to wash off a day’s worth of dirt and pollution buildup, while giving their skin the boost of free radical fighting power from Vitamin C.
Another option for free radical protection during the day is a toner infused with Vitamin C. A simple spritz will help protect skin from environmental pollutants any time, any place.
FYI - due to the limited contact on the skin, cleansers and toners will not do a proper job addressing concerns like dark spots.
To help treat fine lines and wrinkles, dull skin, and dark spots caused by UV-damage, serums containing Vitamin C are a good option. Serums contain more concentrated ingredients, are able to penetrate deeper, and stay on the skin longer, therefore truly treating a skin concern. This video highlights a specific Vitamin C Serum (if you want to learn more).
There are also Vitamin C booster products that offer a super-concentrated dose of Vitamin C and are meant to be used to enhance other serums. Think of a booster like a super-powered serum; they offer powerful active ingredients, and therefore are not meant to be used 365 days a year. Learn more about specific booster products here.
If dry skin is a concern, pairing a Vitamin C Serum with a Hyaluronic Acid Serum can offer great brightening PLUS hydration. Both active ingredients work well together to combat dull skin and add a boost hydration. They can be layered, and morning and evening is recommended.
Need a refresher on how great hyaluronic acid is? Check this out.
Moisturizers that contain Vitamin C are also a great option for dry and dull skin. The antioxidants provide free radical protection, moisture for dry skin, and help support collagen production. Learn more here.
Click here for a refresher on hydration vs. moisture for the skin.
A great option to try multiple Vitamin C products (and save a little money) is to try a kit. Options like this provide multiple products to tackle multiple concerns that Vitamin C can fully help address.
How to Boost the Effectiveness of Vitamin C Products
- Use a dermaroller to microneedle the skin to help see the results of Vitamin C products quicker. Microneedling the skin allows products to penetrate deeper into the skin, therefore results are seen quicker. Here are 5 reasons microneedling a beauty game changer.
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen DAILY. UV-induced damage causes dark spots and fine lines and wrinkles. The more skin is protected and future damage is prevented, the better products will work to address present concerns.
- Follow a full skincare routine. Bad habits like not washing your face at night, or not applying serums and moisturizers on a regular basis only make current skin concerns worse. Take care of your skin every day, not just on special occasions.
There’s a reason Vitamin C is one of the most popular skincare ingredients - it works! Whether you want to address dark spots, dullness, fine lines, or just protect against environmental damage, there’s a Vitamin C product for you!
Vitiume c day cream ,, can I use that with hynotic acid and work it in with my red light laser messaging facial