In nutrition as well as in skin science, vitamin C is a multi-tasking miracle worker when it comes to supporting your health inside and out. As a high-quality ingredient in serums, cleansers, and other products it has the power to make your skin appear healthier, fresher, and more youthful.
If vitamin C is not yet part of your daily skincare routine, here are plenty of reasons to give it a try.
Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C in skincare helps prevent and reverse skin aging through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also essential in the creation and repair of damaged parts of your skin. Vitamin C helps build collagen and elastin – essential for resilient skin – and supports DNA repair.
Moreover, it is instrumental in repairing the skin’s lipid barrier, which speeds up wound healing. Plus, there is some evidence that this nutrient may lower your risk of developing skin cancer. Let’s take a closer look at each of these functions.
a) Glowing Skin
Adding vitamin C as an active ingredient to your skincare regime gives you a healthy glow. This is because vitamin C is mildly exfoliating and improves the overall appearance of your skin tone.
b) Boosted Collagen and Elastin Production
As we know, collagen and elastin are the keys to youthful-looking skin. Both are structural dermal fibers our skin needs to retain its plump, fresh look and elasticity. Our body produces both naturally, but as we age, production slows down. Fine lines and wrinkles appear as a consequence. Vitamin C encourages your body to produce more of both fibers, helping your skin look younger and become more resistant.
c) Naturally Anti-Inflammatory
In addition, vitamin C in skincare brings natural anti-inflammatory properties to any products it is used in. This is good news for anyone suffering from rosacea, acne, or other skin conditions closely linked to inflammation. When applied regularly, these skincare products reduce unsightly redness and help the skin heal.
d) A Natural Antioxidant
Every day, our skin is exposed to damaging free radicals from different kinds of environmental pollution. Dust, ultraviolet rays, visible blue light, smoke, and other particles can all wreak havoc with the health and appearance of your skin. As a natural antioxidant, vitamin C helps keep the number of free radicals under control and supports the body’s efforts to repair DNA damaged by those attackers.
e) Evens Skin Tone
Who doesn’t love an even, healthy, glowing skin tone? However, most of us are starting to see brown spots on our skin as we age or the effects of sun damage. Vitamin C to the rescue!
Interestingly, skincare products containing this nutrient as an active ingredient has the capacity to reduce the transfer of brown pigment known as melanin from pigment-producing cells called melanocytes to the surrounding skin cells, which are called keratinocytes. As fewer pigments reach the surrounding cells, brown spots lighten and can even disappear over time.
f) Promotes Wound Healing
Let’s be honest – none of us go through life without cuts and bruises and acquiring a few scars. However, unsightly scars can be detrimental to your self-confidence. Vitamin C helps wounds heal faster and reduces the formation of raised scars. As an active ingredient in skincare products, vitamin C increases the speed at which fibroblasts multiply. These are a type of cell that secretes collagen, one of the major fibers needed for tissue remodeling and cell survival. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated just how effective vitamin C is in supporting wound healing.
A Closer Look At The Science
Compared to other vitamins in skincare, vitamin C is relatively well researched. That means skin scientists have accumulated a good amount of knowledge to determine this miracle worker really is one of the best vitamins for your skin. Many skincare products contain active ingredients claiming to reverse the signs of aging. In the case of vitamin C, scientific studies have clearly demonstrated that this ingredient can improve those signs. Several studies went beyond considering improved physical appearance, which is notoriously hard to measure. Instead, they chose objective measures of collagen deposition in the skin and calculated wrinkle depth. Both improved when vitamin C was added to a person’s skincare routine.
Additionally, fibroblasts (cells responsible for producing collagen) are dependent on vitamin C to do their job. Scientists have collected plenty of in-vitro, i.e. laboratory-generated, data to clearly show this dependency. When fibroblasts don’t have enough vitamin C, they cannot produce enough collagen. As a result, your skin’s collagen/elastin balance suffers, and signs of aging become more visible.
The outer layer of your skin, the epidermis, consists mostly of cells called keratinocytes. Apart from their role in supporting wound healing, they also act as a protector against sun damage. Skin keratinocytes can accumulate high concentrations of vitamin C and store them. Together with vitamin E, this ability helps protect the skin from the worst effects of UV radiation. Scientists have shown this capacity through lab-based studies with cultured cells, and their findings have been supported by information from both animal and human studies.
Consider Your Nutrition
Whilst we are focusing on vitamin C as an active ingredient in skincare, it is worth digressing for a minute to consider nutrition. Inevitably, what you eat has a noticeable effect on the appearance of your skin. Several studies have proven a connection between good skin health and the participant’s fruit and vegetable intake. Whilst there is not yet enough data to prove beyond doubt that vitamin C is responsible for this effect, one thing is clear: eating fruits and vegetable raises your intake of vitamin C. Making sure you get enough vitamins from your diet will benefit the appearance of your skin.
Different Forms of Vitamin C and Which One to Choose
Let’s get back to vitamin C in skincare products, though. Not all products boating vitamin C as an active ingredient were created equal, and not all are suitable for each skin type. Today’s skincare products contain different forms of vitamin C, and all of them have their strengths and weaknesses. Below, we have included some of our favorites, but please don’t hesitate to reach out for more advice.
Considerations for Choosing Vitamin C-Based Skincare
Start by considering the type of vitamin C used in the product. At the risk of turning this article into a bit of a chemistry lesson, here are a few different forms you may come across: L-ascorbic acid, THDA – tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, MAP – magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, or calcium ascorbate are only some of the options.
Also, the pH of the product also has a role to play. According to current studies, a pH below 4 works best for water-based vitamin C products. Another factor is the concentration of vitamin C in the product you are using. If your skin is sensitive and prone to react to new additions to your skincare regime, it may be a good idea to start with a lower concentration. You can always increase it as your skin becomes used to vitamin C.
Our Favorite Products
Skincare is a very personal choice, and there is rarely a product that is the perfect solution for everyone. Before we share some of our favorite products containing vitamin C in scientific skincare solutions with you, let’s take a look at when best to apply these.
In our experience, vitamin C works best when applied during the day, perhaps as part of your morning skincare routine. Remember some of the benefits we talked about at the beginning of this article? They included UV protection and reduced inflammation.
During the day, you will be exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, so that’s when your skin needs to be protected the most by antioxidants like vitamin C, combined with a high-quality sunscreen. Inflammatory skin conditions like acne or rosacea are closely linked to environmental irritants and pollutants. Again, you will be much more exposed to those during the day than the night. Making vitamin C in skincare part of your morning routine gives you the best level of protection.
After using a high-quality vitamin C serum consistently for about three weeks, your skin will build an “antioxidant reservoir”.
This reservoir helps protect the skin 24/7, and the results will be visible around the clock. – Marie Bertrand
Check Out Marie’s Favorite Vitamin C Skincare Products
Favorite Vitamin C Serums with L-ascorbic acid
Each of these serums works best for a particular skin type. All contain L-ascorbic acid, one of the most effective vitamin C derivatives. These are true miracle workers for your skin.
- Serum for Dry skin: SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic
- Serum for Normal to combination skin (non acne-prone): SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF
- Serum for acne-prone skin: SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF
Favorite Vitamin C Serum with THDA
Vitamin C in the form of THDA has similar benefits to L-ascorbic acid but is a more stable ingredient in your skincare products.
- Serum/Lotion for all skin types: Aliquote Skin Advanced Youth Complex
Favorite Vitamin C Cleanser and Toner
Cleansing and toning are part of most people’s skincare routine. You can make them work harder for you by using vitamin C-based skincare products.
- Cleanser for all skin types: DermaQuest C Infusion Cleanser is a powerful cleanser delivering vitamin C to your skin in the form of THDA.
- Toner for all skin types: Aliquote Skin HydraGlow Mist is a toning spray featuring vitamin C in the form of MAP.
Combining Vitamin C with Other Skincare Products
Vitamin C in skincare products combines well with several other active ingredients.
Ferulic acid, for example, helps stabilize vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid, making it less susceptible to direct sunlight and heat. It basically extends the life and effectiveness of your vitamin C serum.
This vitamin also works well with vitamin E. Both ingredients help protect the skin from UV damage, but they are preventing different kinds of UV damage, making them more effective in combination than they are individually. Combining all three of the above pretty much triples the protective power.
Furthermore, vitamin C serums also make a great base for sunscreen. Whilst they can’t replace sunscreen, they do increase its effectiveness.
Be careful when mixing vitamin C with products containing retinol, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid. Whilst all are powerful skincare products, applying them directly on top of each other can lead to redness and irritation. If you would like to use both or more, consider using one in the morning and another at night, following a thorough cleansing routine.
Lastly, it’s hard to go wrong when adding vitamin C to your skincare routine. As a multi-tasking active ingredient, it can help even out your skin tone and minimize redness caused by inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea. Plus, as a natural antioxidant, it protects your skin from UV damage and free radicals. In addition, vitamin C has been shown to speed up wound healing and minimize scarring. If you’d like glowing, fresher, and younger-looking skin within only a few weeks, give our favorites a try today!