Vitamin C, applied topically, is one of the most beneficial skincare ingredients for most every skin type. If your current skincare regimen doesn’t include a topical vitamin C, it is not complete.
Read on to learn why using vitamin C serum is crucial when caring for your skin.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that has immune-boosting benefits when taken internally and reduces the signs of aging when applied topically to the skin.
When we think of vitamin C, we often think of it being immune-boosting to keep away colds. Just as it works to fight off illness to keep us feeling healthy physically, it also works to fight off detrimental environmental pollutants to keep our skin looking healthy and vibrant.
What is an antioxidant? What are free radicals?
You may have heard that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. But what are antioxidants and free radicals anyway? And what do they have to do with your skin?
In short, antioxidants help to reduce free radicals.
Some free radicals are produced naturally in our bodies and others stem from environmental factors such as pollution, chemicals, and UV rays. They can actually be helpful for some body processes, but high levels of free radicals can be a threat.
A free radical is created when a molecule loses an electron, making it unstable. In an effort to become stable again, the free radical goes searching for other molecules from which to steal an electron. This attempt to stabilize creates a chain reaction of molecules stealing electrons from and causes oxidative stress that harms healthy cells.
The damage to cells and tissue from oxidative stress plays a role in the aging process including diminishing collagen, reducing skin’s natural repair process, and fueling inflammation. These effects of oxidative stress are displayed in the skin through fine lines and wrinkles, loosened skin, acne, and uneven skin tone.
Enter antioxidants. Antioxidants work against this oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals, which stops them from causing damage to other healthy cells. Just as our bodies naturally create free radicals, we also naturally make antioxidants. However, we don’t create enough antioxidants to stop all the damage that’s created by our environment; which is why we need to include antioxidant-rich foods in our diets and apply antioxidant-rich topicals to our skin.
To visualize the oxidative process, slice an apple and leave it exposed for an hour or two. You’ll see it start to turn brown, which is the process of oxidation caused by free radicals. If you apply lemon juice (vitamin C) to your sliced apples, you’ll notice it takes a longer amount of time for the browning process to occur. This is what vitamin C applied topically does to slow the aging process of your skin.
What are the benefits of vitamin C in skincare?
When applied topically, vitamin C helps to:
lighten skin discolorations and hyperpigmentation
improve the appearance of sun-damage
accelerate the production of elastin
support skin cells from UV-related damage
strengthen the skin’s barrier
boost the effectiveness of active ingredients in sunscreen
In looking at all of the ways vitamin C benefits the skin, you might be wondering if there’s anything vitamin C does not do to help the skin. Without a doubt, it gets a gold star for being one of the best skincare ingredients!
Vitamin C is a known brightener and, with regular use, it has the ability to even out skin tone without altering normal skin pigmentation. By minimizing the formation of excess melanin in the skin, it can reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation to create radiance. With regular and continued use, vitamin C applied topically can help prevent dark spots from ever forming in the first place.
Collagen and elastin are both naturally occurring protein fibers that help keep skin plump and firm, but the production of both deplete as we age. Because vitamin C is highly acidic, when used topically, the skin is prompted to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin. This helps your skin to repair damaged cells, which boosts collagen and elastin and prevent premature aging of the skin.
Through pollution, UV rays, chemicals, and free radicals, our everyday environment is one of the leading causes of skin inflammation, which is linked to a variety of skin issues such as breakouts, redness, loose skin, and an over-production of melanin that leads to dark spots. Being the powerful skincare ingredient it is, vitamin C is helpful at shielding skin from these harmful environmental aggressors.
What are the best forms of topical vitamin C?
There’s no single best form of topically applied vitamin C, but ascorbic acid (also known as L-ascorbic acid) is the most stable and effective form of vitamin C in skin care.
Some other effective forms of vitamin C for skin are:
sodium ascorbyl phosphate
magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
What’s the best delivery method of vitamin C to the skin?
The best and most efficient way to apply vitamin C to your skin is with a serum.
The aqueous-base of a serum’s formula provides better absorption into the skin than that of a facial oil or moisturizer. A serum also travels deeper into the layers of the epidermis to target skin issues closer to their source.
What’s the best time of day to apply vitamin C to skin?
Vitamin C can be used in the morning or evening. However, because its antioxidant properties work against environmental aggressors and can enhance the active ingredients in sunscreen, it’s best to apply vitamin C serums in the morning to defend your skin against the elements all day long.
Found naturally in the skin, vitamin C doesn’t interfere with other skincare ingredients you may use, so it can be added alongside your current skincare lineup.
Apply vitamin C serum directly after your morning rinse or cleanse. Gently apply the serum into your skin before applying moisturizer or moving to the next step of your skincare regimen.
Using topical vitamin C once a day is sufficient as it will have an affect on your skin for up to 24 hours after application.
How to store vitamin C skincare products?
Vitamin C, as with all antioxidants, are vulnerable to deterioration with air and light, so make sure to store your topical vitamin C products with the lid on, at room temperature, and out of direct sunlight.
Look for vitamin C skincare that’s packaged in dark glass containers or opaque packaging, which will help improve stability, reduce oxidation, and maintain its efficacy.
Recommended vitamin C serums:
Golden Sunshine's antioxidant vitamin C serum helps promote collagen synthesis and protects against UV damage to help restore elasticity to aging skin. It improves skin color & tone, reduces discoloration, and helps to brighten the skin. Topical application of Active C Serum nourishes the skin cells to help repair blemishes, dark spots and damage from the sun.
Ingredients: L-Ascorbic Acid (20%)
Golden Sunshine's True Perfection® Ageless Skin Serum is a unique formula that acts as a great natural moisturizer and helps maintain elasticity, reduce pigmentation, and add translucence. It gives the skin a silky smooth glow for a healthy, youthful look.
Ingredients: Pure Active C, Hyaluronic Acid, Collagen Silk Peptide, K-727
This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health provider with questions you may have about a medical condition. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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