Vitamin C is mainly known for its health benefits for your body, with a range of supplements used around the world to fend off colds and flu. However, Vitamin C can also work wonders for your skin. Over the last couple of years, the beneficial of effects of using Vitamin C in skincare treatment have really come to the fore as a way to help to smooth, brighten and replenish skin.
In this article we’re going to talk about the benefits of adding Vitamin C-based products to your skin care routine, the different types of Vitamin C and how you should use them.
Why is Vitamin C Important for Your Skin?
Vitamin C belongs to an important group of antioxidants that fight the free radicals that age your skin. Studies have shown topical Vitamin C, in the form of L-ascorbic acid, can help improve sun protection, repair sun-damaged skin, stimulate collagen-building, reduce fine lines and potentially reduce discoloration of the skin. It will also boost your skin’s luminosity and smooth out skin tones. Basically, it does everything you could want from a skincare product.
While products with a high concentration of Vitamin C tend to produce the most striking results, those with lower concentrations can still have a powerful effect on your skin. The higher strengths tend to be for more beneficial for those with specific concerns. But having lower strength moisturisers, toners and serums can still help to replenish skin in significant ways and can be used alongside other beneficial ingredients like retinol.
Research has shown that Vitamin C concentrations even as low as 0.6% still provide antioxidant and anti-aging benefits to skin. So, depending on what you’re trying to achieve with a Vitamin C product, you may be fine with a regular-strength product to smooth, brighten and replenish your skin.
Your best bet is to talk to your skincare professional and set out what you’re trying to achieve with your skin. They will then be able to help you decide on the products to suit you and your skin.
What are the Types of Vitamin C?
Vitamin C in skincare products comes in a lot of different forms. However, there’s one type that stands head and shoulders above the others – L-ascorbic acid, more commonly known simply as ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid has the most research behind it and its benefits and is the go-to type for many skincare professionals.
When formulated correctly, ascorbic acid helps create younger-looking, more even skin while slowly removing the signs of sun spots. Ascorbic acid also helps your skin’s surface to defend itself from external stressors and fend off photo-ageing.
Many companies offer a cosmeceutical containing Vitamin C, but it’s important for you to know that not all Vitamin C products are created equal. Obagi’s C formulation, for example, has been clinically proven to deliver more ascorbic acid into the skin which remains there for longer than other Vitamin C skin care products. So do some research online or talk to a skincare specialist before choosing the right formula for you.
You should also be aware that when antioxidants are exposed to light and air too frequently they can breakdown. So, where possible, you should look for products that come in air-tight and opaque packaging or are single-use, individually wrapped products.
Although ascorbic acid is definitely an outstanding form of Vitamin C, there are other types that have a lot of research to back up their skin-boosting claims. This includes sodium ascorbyl phosphate, retinyl ascorbate and ascorbyl glucoside, amongst many others. All of these are worthy of your attention, especially when included in a superior moisturizer, serum, or toner.
What’s the best way to use Vitamin C?
Because Vitamin C products protect your skin from UV damage and environmental aggressors, they’re generally used as part of your morning routine. There is also some research to say that free radicals continue to damage your skin at night so applying the formula before bed can also be effective.
You may find that you experience some mild irritation when you first use vitamin C. If this is the case, start off using it three times a week and gradually build up to using it daily.
Vitamin C can have a remarkable effect on your skin, but it’s important to do your research and find a skin care system that works for you. These products are not cheap, but with a bit of time and the right formula, you’ll be able to see the positive effects of Vitamin C on your skin in no time.