Everything You Should Know About Vitamin C In SkincareDecember 31, 2019
Vitamin C, once hidden away in “brightening serums” and “day creams,” has recently taken centre stage the skincare world, popping up in all sorts of new products, but it may not be suitable for all skin types. Here’s your guide to what Vitamin C can do, how it works and how you can include it in your skincare routine.
What does Vitamin C do in skincare?
This incredible little Vitamin is a multi-purpose molecule with a few benefits. It essentially enhances your skin cells as an antioxidant, a collagen synthesiser and a natural skin brightener.
The Vitamin C that you consume in your food acts as an antioxidant because it reduces free radical damage in the tissue cells in your body. When applied topically, it can do the same for your skin, thus reducing some signs of ageing.
It also helps to reduce signs of ageing by helping your cells synthesise collagen. Skin is made up of a collagen matrix, and each collagen fibre is made up of cells with amino acids. Vitamin C interacts with the amino acids inside the collagen cells so they can excel at rebuilding collagen fibres. Stronger collagen fibres mean less creasing and sagging in your youthful, beautiful skin.
As a natural skin brightener, Vitamin C helps to inhibit pigment-producing enzymes, so you get a more even skin tone. This is a bonus for those of you who are prone to pigmentation caused by sun damage. People who use Vitamin C regularly also tend to get a brighter, more glowing complexion as their natural pigments are more regulated.
Types of Vitamin C: Pure vs Derivatives
In your skincare products, you might find pure forms of Vitamin C, but more often than not, you’ll come across derivatives that convert into Vitamin C once they’re absorbed into your skin. This is because, while the purest form is most effective, it’s so unstable that it’s nearly impossible to suspend properly in your skincare products.
Exposure to light and air can break Vitamin C down and cause it to oxidise. When oxidised, the molecular structure of the Vitamin changes, and it can start to cause oxidative stress on your skin. In other words, oxydisation turns your Vitamin c from a damage-fighting antioxidant into a damage-causing free radical.
If your Vitamin C serum becomes cloudy, dark yellow, or if it develops an unpleasant odour, it’s probably become oxidised and you should stop using it right away.
As mentioned above, the purest form of Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid) is the most prone to oxidisation. Even with an airtight container, it can oxidise in the time it takes to dispense your product, apply it and absorb it into your skin. To get around this problem, you can use products with fruit extracts that are rich in Vitamin C or use products with derivatives, or both.
Derivatives are much more stable and far less prone to oxidisation (though they should still be kept in opaque, airtight containers). The different derivatives may interact with your skin differently, depending on your skin type. More of that in the next section.
Vitamin C for Oily vs Dry Skin
If you have oily or acne prone skin, it’s recommended that you use an oil soluble derivative of Vitamin C to reduce your risk of irritation. Ethyl Ascorbic Acid is both water and oil soluble, so it’s widely accepted as safe and non-irritating for most skin types.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, you can also use a water-soluble derivative of Vitamin C. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Ascorbyl Glucoside are the most common water-soluble derivatives used in skincare.
As mentioned above, the derivatives naturally convert into Vitamin C once they’re absorbed into the skin. While they have some differences in their chemical properties, all of them have antioxidant, skin brightening and collagen-boosting benefits.
How to Introduce Vitamin C into your skincare
Traditionally, Vitamin C was the staple of day creams, earning it a place in beauty enthusiasts’ morning routines, but it doesn’t always have to be reserved for morning.
The reason that so many day creams had Vitamin C was because night creams traditionally had Vitamin A. The bigger skincare companies would to separate the two ingredients in attempt to decrease any risk of irritation (which can happen when you first start using active skincare). Vitamin A can increase your sensitivity to UV rays from the sun, so it was often recommended for evening use. Vitamin C can reduce sun damage, so it became the natural choice for the daytime.
The problem is that vitamins A and C can work well when used together. Vitamin A helps to promote collagen production, and Vitamin C helps the collagen cells synthesise. Together, they’re a powerful youth-enhancing duo.
If you have normal, dry or combination skin, you should be able to combine vitamins A and C, but introduce them slowly to let your skin adapt. If you have oily, acne-prone or sensitive skin, we recommend that you separate the two; continue to use Vitamin A at night and try Vitamin C in the morning to reduce your chance of getting a reaction.
While Vitamin C has popped up in creams, serums, moisturisers and even some sunscreens, we recommend using a serum because it’ll be more concentrated with fewer other ingredients to interfere. Serums will also give you the best absorption and therefore, the best benefit.
Do you want to know more about building a skincare routine?
Come in for a complimentary consultation and skin assessment with one of our Dermal Clinicians or Product Specialists.