Vitamins in Skincare: Vitamin C - Skincare Super Hero

The Savvy Reeder

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It’s common knowledge that Vitamin C is a powerhouse vitamin. We drink our orange juice and eat our veggies in hopes of boosting our immune system. Vitamin C is an essential building block for strong immunity and health. Most of us only ever think of ingesting it, but these days skincare enthusiasts have discovered the benefits of using it in their routine.

What is Vitamin C in Skincare?

Ascorbic Acid, AKA Vitamin C, is swiftly becoming many people’s favorite skincare ingredient. Many dermatologists have begun recommending adding it to a daily skincare routine. It’s a popular ingredient due to the many anti-oxidant properties that this water-soluble vitamin contains. According to popular dermatologist Patricia Wexler, “Vitamin C aids in your skin’s natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells.”

Having anti-oxidants in your skincare is essential to great skin. These types of ingredients will reduce the damage that our skin has accumulated from the sun, UV rays, and pollution. They fight off free-radicals, which are little damage makers in the skin.

What does it do?

The director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, Joshua Zeichner, has explained that Vitamin C is “a key component to many skin-brightening regimens, as it interferes with pigment production and keeps inflammation at bay.” He also mentions in an Allure article that it promotes collagen production, lessens pigmentation from scaring or blemishes, and reduces overall skin inflammation. That’s some great benefits of use!

How Should You Use it?

While eating your daily Vitamin C levels is great for your overall health, much of it is absorbed before it makes it to your skin. This is why it’s important to incorporate it into your skincare routine. One thing to note is that Ascorbic Acid starts to break down and oxidize when exposed to sunlight, so keep it in a dark cabinet and give it time to absorb into the skin before heading outside. I keep my Vitamin C serums in my skincare fridge to keep them as stable as possible.

If the packaging your serum comes in is clear, it’s important to keep it in a dark place. Most companies use dark or opaque jars to keep the product from de-stabilizing. Try to find serums that are in airtight containers. If it comes out a dark amber color, it might have already oxidized, which just means it’s not going to be as effective as a fresh batch.

You can apply your Vitamin C serum at any time of the day, but it is most effective if you put it on about an hour before heading outside. It can help fight off UV damage you may accrue throughout the day. As to where in a skincare routine to apply it, make sure it’s on freshly cleaned skin. You want your skin at the cleanest point to absorb the serum effectively. After that feel free to put on the rest of your skincare.

Picking Out the Right Product

With any skincare products, be familiar with ingredients. A true Vitamin C serum will include L-Ascorbic Acid in a variety of concentrations. Look at the percentage, and see if it’s mixed with Vitamin E, which helps with absorption. If you’re new to the Vitamin C world, start with a lower concentration to keep it from irritating your skin. It might be helpful to look for tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. This mouthful of an ingredient is a more stable, less irritating version of L-Ascorbic Acid, which is great for sensitive skin.

A great property of Vitamin C in skincare is the reservoir effect that it has on the skin. Using it once a day is typically enough to enjoy the benefits for 24 hours. Be aware that using it at the same time as benzoyl-peroxide ingredients can render it ineffective. Use your Vitamin C in the morning and benzoyl products in the evening, or trade-off days of use to avoid interactions.

Typically, dermatologists and estheticians alike will caution against using Vitamin C serums and retinol together. They’re both powerful ingredients so they may cause irritation or redness when used together. If your skin can tolerate it, use them at different times of the day.

With all this information, let’s get to the good stuff. Here are my favorite Vitamin C skincare products

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1. Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum ($88, available at Tatcha.com): I was gifted this serum by Sephora to use every day for a month. Yes, it has a big higher price-tag, but I found it was worth it, big time. I noticed scarring had faded, my skin looked more radiant and some of my fine lines were much finer. It combines 20% Vitamin C with 10% AHA for added exfoliation.

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2. Volition Strawberry-C Serum ($42, available at Sephora): Often overlooked, strawberries have a high concentration of Vitamin C. Volition skincare took advantage of that fact and created this incredibly popular Strawberry Vitamin C serum. It’s great for everyday use and it has Kakadu plum in it to help soothe redness. They added Hyaluronic acid to give added hydration to the skin also.

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(Photo By Sephora)

3. Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream ($39, available at Sephora): This orange-tinted eye cream is a favorite with makeup artists and their celebrity clients. The banana powder in this eye cream helps correct dark circles and discoloration. It has a soft, gel texture that lightly absorbs into the skin.

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4. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Serum ($105, available at Sephora): The Drunk Elephant skincare range has a cult-like following for a reason. They make a point to avoid certain ingredients that may lead to skin irritation. The C-Firma serum is a 15% Vitamin C and 1% Vitamin E serum that contains fruit enzymes that help dissolve dead skin cells. So while it helps reduce and reverse sun damage, it’s also helping turnover bright, youthful-looking skin. This serum doesn’t have any fragrance or silicones, which can sometimes be irritating to sensitive skin.

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5. Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer ($48, available at Korres): If hydration is what you need, try a Vitamin C moisturizer. The Korres moisturizer combines rose and Vitamin C to give you intense hydration and a brighter complexion.

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