Vitamin C: one of the superheroes of skincare.
I could dive right in and ramble on about vitamin C in my typical fashion, but I actually want to structure the information as it’s a pretty important topic when it comes to skincare. I’d be pretty surprised if you’ve not heard of the wonder-nutrient in skincare by now, so you may already know a fair amount about it. But read on and see if there’s something you didn’t know!
So I’ve been doing some research over time and learning about lots of different things during my skincare journey, and I want to share that with any other skincare lovers out there. So without further delay…
Also known as:
- Ascorbic Acid
- L-Ascorbic Acid
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
It has many different scary sounding names, indicative of the form of the antioxidant – the most popular and active being L-ascorbic acid.
What is it?
Vitamin C, or one of the other names it goes by, is an antioxidant that provides a plethora of benefits to the human body, not just the skin.
The nutrient is essential for tissue repair, however it isn’t something we produce ourselves and therefore we have to find ways of getting this onto our skin (and into our bodies, but that’s not the focus for today).
We can ingest vitamin C to benefit from it, but it’s far more effective when applied topically. 20 times more effective, in fact! No – you’re not meant to just rub half an orange onto your face… there’s loads of amazing products out there to use instead!
What are the benefits?
One of the most popular and appreciated benefits is that it is brightening. This is perfect for people with hyperpigmentation and discolouration, as it evens out skin tone without altering the rest of your skin.
It promotes collagen and elastin production, tackling fine lines and giving a more youthful complexion by plumping the skin and keeping it firm.
As touched upon in the into, it aids the skin’s regeneration process to repair damage. It has been identified as reducing damaged caused previously by UV rays, and being more effective in preventing damage (when used with SPF, of course).
It neutralises free radicals, such as pollution and UV rays. This is particularly beneficial for someone who lives or spends a lot of time in big towns/cities as damage from pollution is so easily missed! This neutralising of free radicals is key for preventing premature aging.
Things to be aware of:
It has been found that vitamin C is incompatible with, or can cause irritation when used with certain products:
- Retinol (although it can be used with retinol, it is advised not to use them together)
There are multiple products out there for applying the nutrient to our skin, but allegedly serum is the best method. However, this doesn’t meant to say you shouldn’t use cleansers, moisturisers and other products containing vitamin C (on the basis it’s in conjunction with compatible products/components! See above). If you’re not used to it, start gently with a low dose and build up to a higher dose as it can cause some irritation. I’ve been using the Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop serum and Beautypie Superdose Vitamin C Oxygen Boosting Moisturiser which I’ve found to get on with well.
Further to the above, it can be irritating to sensitive skin in general.
It can be quite unstable and oxidises easily when exposed to air and light, so it must be stored properly to avoid deterioration. The most obvious sign that it has gone bad is discolouration. A lot of brands are using appropriate packaging (aka dark packaging, and ideally a pump as opposed to a dropper to prevent air exposure for the rest of the product), but this is usually for higher end – and thus higher price – products. As most of us can’t afford to fork out high-end prices, we just need the awareness and understanding of how to keep and use the products we have. You can see an example of oxidised vitamin C serum below – two of my products (one unopened, one opened for a while and exposed to light) are very different colours. The yellow/orangey colour is oxidisation:
So that’s the knowledge I’ve gained about vitamin C so far in a nutshell! I hope you enjoyed reading this post, whether you’re a skincare expert or just starting out.
As usual I’ll finish off by saying I am not an expert, and the above information has been found online by me. Always consult an aesthetician or dermatologist for advice on skincare concerns so you can get the most suitable guidance for your skin.