Vitamin C and All You Wanted to Know About This Skin Saviour

Still to incorporate Vitamin C in your skincare routine? Or perhaps you’ve bought some options but are unsure if it really makes a difference!

This antioxidant is a popular ingredient for the beauty industry and a favourite for those looking to brighten their complexions. It is also recommended the world over by dermatologists due to its multiple skin benefits and the ability to work on all skin types. Want an easy guide to this powerful antioxidant? Here’s what you’ve always wanted to know about Vitamin C and some more!

What makes Vitamin C a powerhouse?

We all seek the ultimate skincare ingredient that will magically erase all of our skin woes. Ergo, we jump to and from products that promise the same thing: clear acne, brighten skin, or repair damage. However, a closer look would lead you to a powerhouse ingredient that does it all for the skin:  vitamin C.

It can treat acne, lighten dark spots, reverse ageing signs, and repair UV-induced damage. In a nutshell, this ingredient multitasks to transform your skin, which is probably why experts highly recommend it. But what is it about vitamin C that makes it one of the best ingredients today?

We’ve all popped the odd vitamin C when there’s a cough coming, but did you know that this antioxidant is an essential answer to growth and repair in our body including the skin. Found naturally in fruits and vegetables, it also can be synthetically produced for use in typical applications such as skincare.

Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that offers many skin benefits when applied topically. And yes, this is the same vitamin you ingest in fruits and vitamins to boost your immunity. Turns out, this ingredient can also show its prowess in the world of beauty. In fact, vitamin C is even more effective when applied topically instead of ingesting through food and supplements. 

How so, you ask? Well, vitamin C is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals to prevent or reduce cell damage. This cell damage may result in premature ageing, hyperpigmentation, and even skin cancer. 

Aside from being a powerful antioxidant, the high acidity of vitamin C helps the skin’s healing process. It does that by stimulating collagen and elastin production: two essential proteins that keep the skin firm, tight, and smooth. Oh, and before we forget, there is one more thing to know. Ascorbic acid can also inhibit melanin production in the skin, which helps prevent dark spots and uneven skin tone.

What are its benefits for the skin?

You may have heard that Vitamin C is a brightening agent but there’s plenty more to this multi-tasking power horse! It also protects your skin from UV damage and can reduce pigmentation. It also helps with collagen production and keeps the elasticity on your skin for longer. The essential anti-oxidant is known for its ability to brighten and even out the complexion while providing an anti-inflammatory effect – basically everything you want for your skin! Also, unlike other effective skincare ingredients such as Retinol, Vitamin C is relatively easy to tolerate and works on almost all skin types.

Thanks to its long list of skin regenerating properties, there is nothing else to look for when you start using vitamin C. Here is the list of some of the best things it can do for your skin:

  • Heal wounds and repair damage
  • Brighten skin complexion
  • Treat acne
  • Fade dark spots
  • Reduce signs of ageing
  • Reduce sun damage
Vitamin C

How to choose the right Vitamin C product?

When it comes to buying Vitamin C, packaging matters! Vitamin C is very reactive and easily loses its antioxidant properties when exposed to heat or light. This is why it is important to buy the product when packages in airtight, opaque bottles and store them in a cool, dark place. Over time and with exposure to air, Vitamin C can oxidise and change colour to brown, this is an indication that your bottle is ready to be changed.

When it comes to what form of Vitamin C to buy, L-Ascorbic Acid is more shelf-stable than others. Try and pick products that have a percentage of 10-20% of the acid or you may not see much of a difference. For oily or normal skin, L-Ascorbic Acid is often the route to take while for dry and sensitive skin you’ll find Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate is less irritating. Better still, consult your skin doctor to get an idea on the type of Vitamin C you should be using.

Are there possible side effects when you use vitamin C?

Unfortunately, it may not be for everyone. So despite its promising benefits, you still have to look out for side effects or adverse reactions upon use. After application, there are instances where you may experience itching, redness, irritation, or a tingling sensation. However, these effects are temporary and should immediately disappear once your skin adjusts. Vitamin C can also make the skin more sensitive to the sun, so double up on the SPF.

If you start noticing hives, swelling, or a burning sensation that does not go away, contact your dermatologist ASAP. It may also cause allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin, so always perform a patch test first.

What products to buy?

Because of how unstable this antioxidant can be, it is important to buy products that have been tested well – formula as well as packaging-wise. This may mean investing in slightly higher priced skincare, but the returns are worth every dollar. These are some of the best-selling products that you should try.

Natura Bisse

Natura Bisse C+C Vitamin Complex Concentrate Serum

This award-winning, anti-ageing serum contains a high content of C-power and repairs and protects the skin from free radical damage. It also provides extra moisture of dehydrated skin and stimulates the formation of collagen.

Phyto C

Phyto-C Prevent Serum Fifteen

Containing 15% L-Ascorbic Acid, this is a powerful powerful anti-oxidant facial serum. Formulated with pure L-Ascorbic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid, the serum provides advanced antioxidant properties to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also stimulates collagen production while preventing signs of premature ageing.

Mario Badescu serum

Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

This popular brightening and hydrating facial serum contains lower percentages(7.5%) of Vitamin C, which makes it perfect for beginners. It also contains Hyaluronic Acid to help retain the skin’s natural moisture. Expect a soft, smooth and clearer complexion over time.

CosMedix Pure C

CosMedix Pure C Vitamin C Mixing Crystals 

Want the real C deal? This product is made with 100% pure L-Ascorbic Acid and helps replenish the skin with its brightening action. Simply blend a small amount with your favourite serum or moisturiser and apply day and night. Skin will become firmer and more youthful, all while preventing premature signs of ageing.

Kiehls C

Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate 

This 12.5% concentrated facial serum helps to boost radiance and improves skin texture. Loaded with Hyaluronic Acid, it also seals in moisture and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

How do I start using Vitamin C?

Don’t go around choosing the first vitamin C-labelled product you see on the racks. Experts say that the best one is L-ascorbic acid, the most stable and effective form of this power ingredient. It is also best to start with low concentrations and then work your way up. Serums with a concentration of 5% are moderate enough for sensitive skin, but you can go as high as 20% to brighten and correct skin pigmentation more quickly.

You can also use it with other antioxidants, like vitamin E, as it boosts their properties. However, you should avoid using it with benzoyl peroxide. AHAs and BHAs are also a big no as they can throw off your pH balance, rendering these ingredients useless.