Vitamin C isn’t just for colds anymore. It also does wonders for the skin. A powerful ally in the fight against premature aging, vitamin C gives your skin a beautiful youthful glow that makes you look radiant and takes a few years off your age. To help you make the most of it, take a look at this helpful guide to vitamin c:
What does vitamin C do for skin?
Vitamin C is a wonderful multitasker. First off, it keeps your skin soft and hydrated by increasing its moisture content. It makes you age gracefully and slowly by fighting those nasty, wrinkle-causing, free radicals and boosting the production of collagen that keeps your skin elastic and firm.
If you’re plagued by dark spots and hyperpigmentation, vitamin C is, again, your friend. It takes its time, but, with regular use, reduces their appearance. And, when paired with vitamin E, can also boost the UV protection offered by your sunscreen. You’d be mad not to use it!
Which type of vitamin C should you use?
Vitamin C isn’t just one ingredient. It’s a catch-all term that includes l-ascorbic acid, the pure form of vitamin C, and all its derivatives. These include sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Basically, if the name includes the words “ascorbyl” or “ascorbic”, it is a form of vitamin c.
All types of vitamin C are beneficial for the skin, but some work better than others. L-ascorbic acid, being the pure form, is the most effective. But it is very unstable. That means, it spoils quickly. Other forms are less powerful (they work more slowly), but more stable (they last longer). It’s up to you to decide if the trade off is worth it.
Sounds good! Are there any side effects?
I wish I could say no, but it would be a lie. If you have sensitive skin, high concentrations of vitamin c (particularly in its pure form) can be irritating. If your skin easily reacts to pretty much everything, chose one of the stabler and gentler derivative forms. Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner contains ascorbyl palmitate and is a great option that helps fight wrinkles while soothing irritated skin.
Another thing. While, used with sunscreen, vitamin C can boost its photoprotection, when used alone, it can actually make skin more susceptible to some damage. So, pile on the sunscreen, ladies!
How to choose the best products with vitamin C
Look at the label. If vitamin C is listed towards the end of the ingredient list, don’t bother. There’s not enough in it to benefit your skin.
Don’t waste your money on cleansers with vitamin C. Like all antioxidants, vitamin C must remain on the skin to work. If you wash it off after a few minutes, or even less, it’ll end up down the drain. It’ll be of no good to you there.
Avoid jars. Vitamin C oxidizes (ie. loses a bit of its effectiveness), every time it is exposed to light and air. That means, every time you open the lid. Instead, choose products packaged in air-tight, opaque bottles and tubes that will preserve vitamin c for longer.
Look for products that contains both vitamins C and E and ferulic acid. These ingredients can enhance one another’s properties, providing even more protection against sun damage and premature aging. This powerful combination can be found in Skinceuticals CE Ferulic.
Do you use products with vitamin C? Which ones are your favourites?