Our Ultimate Guide to Vitamin C
Between brightening dark spots and helping to protect against UV damage, there’s a lot Vitamin C can do for your skin. But the type of Vitamin C you select, as well as how you use and store it, can significantly affect the results you will achieve with your skin.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that brightens dark spots, smooths fine lines, and, importantly, scavenges free radicals from the environment, pollution, and UV radiation. Over time, those free radicals can damage the skin, leading to premature signs of aging and increasing your risk for skin cancer. So, protecting against UV damage with an antioxidant—and, of course, daily SPF—is important.
Vitamin C has multiple benefits for the skin, from prevention to repair to overall glowing skin. Here are some of the key benefits:
Formation of new collagen and restoration of healthy protein fibers: Vitamin C assists in the formation of new collagen, a protein that provides structural support to the skin. It helps restore healthy protein fibers, promoting skin elasticity and firmness.
Antioxidant protection against environmental damage: Vitamin C provides powerful antioxidant protection, defending the skin against free radical activity caused by environmental factors such as pollution and UV radiation. It helps prevent oxidative damage and keeps the skin looking youthful.
Shielding the skin from aging and DNA damage: By neutralizing free radicals, Vitamin C protects the skin from aging and DNA damage caused by environmental factors. It helps maintain the skin's health and reduces the risk of developing premature signs of aging.
Promoting skin repair and wound healing: Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the skin's natural healing process. It promotes wound healing, reduces inflammation, and supports the skin's repair mechanisms.
Brightening the skin and reducing uneven skin tone: Vitamin C has brightening properties that help reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It evens out the skin tone, giving it a radiant and more youthful appearance.
Reducing redness and anti-inflammatory benefits: Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness (erythema) and calm irritated skin. It soothes and balances the skin, making it beneficial for those with sensitive or inflamed skin conditions.
Now that we know the importance of incorporating Vitamin C into our skincare routine, let's explore the different types and formulations available. Not all Vitamin C products are created equal—they can vary in effectiveness, stability, and tolerance levels. Understanding the pros and cons of each type can help you make an informed decision.
1. The Purest Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid): L-Ascorbic Acid (LAA) is the most researched type of Vitamin C and is considered the gold standard. It is the purest form of Vitamin C and offers multi-functional benefits when applied topically. While it has been criticized for its instability, properly formulated and stable L-Ascorbic Acid is generally the preferred choice.
L-Ascorbic Acid is a potent antioxidant that offers internal and external protection. It is bioavailable and has the ability to penetrate the skin's dermis to stimulate collagen synthesis. Studies have shown that concentrations of 10%-20% are ideal for delivering meaningful levels of L-Ascorbic Acid into the skin.
2. Vitamin C Esters or Derivatives: There are other stable, esterified forms of Vitamin C, such as Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, and Ascorbyl Glucoside. These derivatives are more gentle on the skin and can be suitable for those with sensitive skin.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP) is the most common derivative used in skincare products. It is water-soluble and converts to L-Ascorbic Acid when absorbed into the skin. SAP is known for its brightening and antioxidant properties, but it may not be as potent as L-Ascorbic Acid.
3. Vitamin C in Combination with Other Ingredients: Many Vitamin C products are formulated with other beneficial ingredients to enhance their effectiveness and provide additional skincare benefits. These combinations can include Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, and other antioxidants.
Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid work synergistically with Vitamin C to boost its antioxidant properties and stabilize the formula. They can also help with photoprotection and enhance the skin's natural repair mechanisms.
Hyaluronic Acid is a hydrating ingredient that can enhance the moisturising effects of Vitamin C products. It helps improve the skin's texture and plumpness, providing a more youthful appearance.
When incorporating Vitamin C into your skincare routine, it's important to consider a few key factors:
1. Strength of the Vitamin C Product: The concentration or strength of Vitamin C in a product determines its effectiveness. Look for products with concentrations between 10% and 20% for optimal results. Higher concentrations may not necessarily provide better results and can potentially cause skin irritation.
2. Formulation and Stability: Vitamin C is a delicate ingredient that can degrade easily when exposed to air, light, and heat. Look for products that are properly formulated and packaged to ensure stability. Airless pump bottles and opaque packaging can help protect the product from oxidation.
3. pH Level: The pH level of a Vitamin C product can impact its stability and effectiveness. L-Ascorbic Acid products work best at a low pH (below 3.5) to maintain stability and maximise absorption. However, low pH products may not be suitable for all skin types, especially those with sensitive or compromised skin barriers.
4. Combination with Other Actives: Vitamin C can be combined with other active ingredients in your skincare routine, but it's important to use them correctly. Avoid using Vitamin C products in the same routine as exfoliating acids (e.g., AHAs, BHAs) or retinol, as they can potentially interact and cause irritation. It's best to alternate these products or use them at different times of the day.
5. Storage and Shelf Life: To preserve the efficacy of your Vitamin C product, store it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat. Always check the expiration date and discard any products that have changed in colour or smell.
In conclusion, Vitamin C is a powerful ingredient with numerous benefits for the skin. Whether you opt for L-Ascorbic Acid or its derivatives, incorporating Vitamin C into your skincare routine can help promote collagen synthesis, protect against environmental damage, brighten the skin, and improve overall skin health. By selecting the right formulation, using it correctly, and storing it properly, you can maximise the benefits and achieve a glowing, youthful complexion.
Shop our complete Selections of science backed Vitamin C formula's, from serums, creams, Collagens and more. All our Vitamin C's have been carefully selected for only the finest ingredients and top notch products, both sourced locally and internationally.