Vitamin C as a Skin Care Product 101
While some skin care ingredients are shrouded in obscurity, others are much more familiar—one of the latter being vitamin C. It’s so ubiquitous in brightening products and treatments that whether you’re just dabbling in skin care or you’re the friend everyone texts for advice, we’re willing to bet you’ve heard of the powerful antioxidant.
But if you have yet to incorporate a vitamin C product into your skin routine, allow us to convince you of the many reasons why you should. Ahead, we share all the need-to-know details about vitamin C, including its benefits and the most effective ways to use it!
Vitamin C: A Top Skin Care Ingredient
TYPE OF INGREDIENT: Antioxidant
MAIN BENEFITS: Protects against free radical damage, evens skin tone, and promotes collagen production.
WHO SHOULD USE IT: Vitamin C is not recommended for those with extremely sensitive skin and can be problematic for those with oily skin.
HOW OFTEN CAN YOU USE IT: It’s recommended using vitamin C daily or every other day.
WORKS WELL WITH: Vitamin C works well with complementing antioxidants like, vitamin E and ferulic acid, which will boost the efficacy and stability of the molecule.
DON’T USE WITH: Avoid it using with benzoyl peroxide, which can oxidize the vitamin C and make it useless very quickly. Also avoid using it with other acids, which may cause excessive skin irritation, especially if used daily. And lastly, don’t it use with retinol, which can make the vitamin C more unstable and less likely to penetrate the skin.
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body, including the skin, but we cannot produce it on our own. The powerful antioxidant is found naturally in fruits and vegetables and commonly produced synthetically in skincare products, such as moisturizers, toners, and, most often, serums.
The first form of vitamin C worth mentioning is the pure form, L-ascorbic acid. This is the most biologically active and well-studied form of vitamin C, but there are also several vitamin C derivatives, such as:
- Sodium ascorbyl phosphate
- Ascorbyl palmitate
- Retinyl ascorbate
- Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate
- Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
These derivatives are not pure vitamin C, rather they are combined with other ingredients, which might help to keep the vitamin C stable. So when these derivatives come in contact with the skin, they release the pure vitamin C onto the skin. For example, if a product contains 10 percent of one of these derivatives, they might only release 3 percent of pure vitamin C on the skin. The variants mostly differ in their hydrophilicity (their ability to easily dissolve in water) and pH.
Vitamin C is also very reactive and easily loses its antioxidant properties when exposed to heat, light, air, and other chemicals. To prevent it from oxidizing and deactivating, use vitamin C products that come in air-tight, opaque packages and store them in a cool, dark environment. If your product has turned brown, it’s best to toss it and replace it with a new bottle, as this change in color indicates that the formula has oxidized and is no longer effective.
Benefits of Vitamin C for Skin
Vitamin C is an impressive skincare ingredient that is shown to be effective in the following areas:
- Protects against environmental stressors: As an antioxidant, one of vitamin C’s main functions is protecting the skin. Normal cellular processes, as well as environmental insults like ultraviolet light and pollution, create free radicals in the skin. Free radicals are inherently unstable molecules that damage cells, promoting skin dullness, wrinkles, and even cancers. By scavenging these free radicals, vitamin C protects the skin, keeping it healthy and improving visible signs of aging.
- Promotes collagen production: Vitamin C also plays an important role in collagen synthesis. Collagen gives our skin support and structure, and as it degrades with age, we begin to notice wrinkles and lines. Vitamin C is a necessary cofactor for building collagen bundles, without which this process halts.
- Lightens brown spots: Vitamin C is also helpful in lightening unwanted brown spots or decreasing brown discoloration by blocking the pathway of pigment synthesis.
Side Effects of Vitamin C
Generally, vitamin C is safe for daily use. However, in high concentrations, it can be irritating, especially if mixed with other acids. Those with extremely sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate it, and in which case, should avoid it. Many vitamin C products are also oily, which can be problematic for those with oily skin, so we recommend consulting your aesthetician or dermatologist to find a brand or product that is best suited for your skin type.
How to Use It
One highly debated topic when it comes to vitamin C is what time of the day is best for application. While some argue that morning is best for protecting the skin, others are in favor of night time when the skin’s vitamin C is most depleted. Consistency is most important, whether you decide to apply it in the morning or before bed, but avoid using it at the same time as benzoyl peroxide, retinol, and other acids. It’s suggested using it daily or every other day, and if you’re using a serum (the most common vehicle for vitamin C), apply it after cleansing.
Botanica Day Spa Services
With these helpful tips and detailed aspects of vitamin C as a skin care product, it’s important to maintain the health of your skin. Come into Botanica Day Spa for a revitalizing facial and consult with our amazing team of aestheticians to learn the best skin care products and routine specifically for your skin concerns!
Call us today at 727-441-1711 to book your facial and see the transformation your skin will have!