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  • Kaye's Beauty

Uncover Why Vitamin C Is the Definitive Powerhouse in Skincare

While some skincare ingredients remain enigmatic, others are far more recognizable—enter vitamin C. This potent antioxidant is a common sight in brightening products, wrinkle-reducing eye creams, anti-aging serums, and various other treatments. Whether you're a skincare novice or the go-to friend for advice, chances are you're familiar with the prowess of vitamin C. However, if you've yet to introduce a vitamin C product into your skincare regimen, allow us to elucidate the myriad reasons why you should consider doing so.



MAIN BENEFITS: Shields against free radical damage, balances skin tone, and boosts collagen production.

WHO SHOULD USE IT: Vitamin C may not be suitable for individuals with extremely sensitive or oily skin. Consult a board-certified dermatologist to determine the best brand for your skin type.

HOW OFTEN CAN YOU USE IT: Incorporating vitamin C into your routine daily or every other day.

WORKS WELL WITH: Vitamin C pairs effectively with complementary antioxidants like vitamin E and ferulic acid, enhancing its efficacy and stability.

DON'T USE WITH: Avoid combining with benzoyl peroxide, as it can oxidize vitamin C rapidly, rendering it ineffective. Also, steer clear of using vitamin C with other acids to prevent potential skin irritation, especially with daily use. Additionally, avoid using it with retinol, which may destabilize vitamin C and hinder its skin penetration.

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a crucial nutrient necessary for tissue growth and repair throughout the body, including the skin. However, our bodies cannot produce it independently. This potent antioxidant is naturally found in fruits and vegetables and is commonly synthesized in skincare products like moisturizers, toners, and, most notably, serums.

It's essential to note that vitamin C exists in both active and inactive forms. Depending on the skincare formulation, applying vitamin C can either have a significant impact as a powerful antioxidant or be ineffective. The primary form of vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid, is the most biologically active and extensively studied. Additionally, there are several vitamin C derivatives, such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.

These derivatives aren't pure vitamin C; instead, they are combined with other ingredients to enhance vitamin C's stability. Upon contact with the skin, these derivatives release pure vitamin C. For instance, a product containing 10 percent of one of these derivatives might only deliver 3 percent of pure vitamin C to the skin. The variants primarily differ in their ability to dissolve in water (hydrophilicity) and pH.

In some formulations, like Klairs' Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop, additional ingredients include extracts from citrus fruits and flowers.

How It Works

To comprehend vitamin C's mechanism, understanding how free radicals affect the skin is crucial. For now we will focus on reactive oxygen species (ROS), one of the three types of free radicals. We encounter ROS from various sources such as oxygen in the air, cigarette smoke, UV sunlight, stress, and pollution. The impact of ROS is significant, causing damage to the skin's dermis, altering DNA, disrupting the moisture barrier, affecting skin texture, color, and cell function.

Vitamin C is highly reactive and susceptible to losing its antioxidant properties when exposed to heat, light, air, and various chemicals. To prevent oxidation and deactivation, opt for vitamin C products packaged in air-tight, opaque containers and store them in a cool, dark environment. If your product has turned brown, discard it and replacing it with a new bottle, as this change indicates oxidation, rendering the formula ineffective.

Benefits of Vitamin C for Skin Vitamin C proves to be an exceptional skincare ingredient, demonstrating effectiveness in the following areas:

Shields against environmental stressors: 

Serving as an antioxidant, vitamin C's primary function is to protect the skin. Normal cellular processes and environmental aggressors like ultraviolet light and pollution generate free radicals in the skin. These unstable molecules damage cells, leading to skin dullness, wrinkles, and even cancers. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, shielding the skin from harmful free radicals triggered by UV exposure. By neutralizing these free radicals, vitamin C safeguards the skin, promoting its health and improving visible signs of aging.

Boosts collagen production: 

Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in collagen synthesis. Collagen provides support and structure to our skin, but as it diminishes with age, wrinkles and lines become more apparent. Vitamin C serves as a vital cofactor in building collagen bundles, essential for sustaining this process.

Evens out dark spots: Vitamin C is effective in diminishing unwanted dark spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation by inhibiting pigment synthesis pathways.

Potential Side Effects of Vitamin C

In general, vitamin C is deemed safe for daily use. However, in high concentrations, it can cause irritation, particularly when combined with other acids. Individuals with extremely sensitive skin may find it intolerable and should therefore avoid it. Additionally, many vitamin C products tend to be oily, which could pose issues for individuals with oily skin. Consult a board-certified dermatologist to identify a brand or product that suits your skin type best.

How to Incorporate It

A contentious topic surrounding vitamin C is the optimal time for application. While some advocate for morning use to protect the skin, others prefer night time application when the skin's vitamin C levels are lowest. Consistency is paramount, regardless of whether you choose morning or evening application. However, do not use it with benzoyl peroxide. Applying it daily or every other day, particularly if you're using a serum, which is the most common vehicle for vitamin C. Apply it after cleansing for optimal results.

Formulation Considerations

Despite its numerous benefits, vitamin C comes with challenges. Primarily, it is inherently unstable and reactive, easily losing its antioxidant properties when exposed to heat, light, and air. To address this, cosmetic companies have turned to the powder form of vitamin C to enhance stability, theoretically prolonging its shelf life.

However we caution against simply mixing vitamin C powder with moisturizer, as vitamin C doesn't readily penetrate the skin barrier. Depending on the skincare formulation, applying vitamin C can either have a significant impact as a powerful antioxidant or be ineffective.

For vitamin C to be effective, the need for a concentration of at least 10 percent and an acidic pH in the product to facilitate absorption. However, determining a product's pH can be challenging, and even if achieved, the powder may crystallize on the skin before absorption—a crucial step for efficacy. For this reason, we discourage DIY approaches. It's preferable to opt for high-quality products resulting from extensive research and development, ensuring optimal formulation for enhanced stability and skin penetration.

Also we recommend selecting well-researched forms of vitamin C, such as L-ascorbic acid, and opting for formulations containing vitamin E, which aids in stabilizing vitamin C.

Kaye's Beauty Book is here to help you choose better products that suit your skin, hair and lifestyle. All of the products mentioned are carefully researched and selected to ensure that the most credible information comes to you. If you do buy a product from one of our links, Kaye's Beauty Book may earn a commission.

II DISCLAIMER: Every skin is different, not everything works for everybody. I recommend you test the product before completely using any new product. II


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