Sometimes advice and guidelines are repeated so often that you start glancing over it – here’s a simple guide to vitamin C and skincare…
Vitamin C is one of the ingredients that just about every skincare expert agrees on. It’s one of the most widely prescribed anti-oxidant ingredients as it tackles a wide scope of skin concerns relating to ageing and sun damage.
What are the benefits of using vitamin C on your skin?
Vitamin C has great anti-oxidant properties, which means it combats the damage caused by free radicals. This means it’s perfect as part of a hyperpigmentation treatment plan as it has brilliant skin brightening properties. But wait, that’s not all – it’s great as part of any anti-ageing skin regime as it encourages collagen production. Jackpot!
When, and how much, vitamin C should I be using?
The optimal concentration of vitamin C is between 15% – 30%. It should be in serum form, and should be in airtight packaging that also does not allow for exposure to light. You’ll often find it in blue or amber glass bottles, or plastic tubes or pump bottles in solid colours. Please don’t ever buy vitamin C in a jar or clear glass bottle – you may as well toss your money straight in the bin. For spot treatment on hyperpigmentation spots, a medical professional may prescribe higher doses of vitamin C.
Vitamin C can be used morning or evening, and should be slotted in before your moisturiser and SPF (we’ve mentioned it’s light sensitive, right?) during the day, or under night cream before bed. It’s best utilised in serums rather than creams.
Is there a reason not to use it?
Vitamin C is a notoriously tricky ingredient, as some forms of it are unstable – more on that below. It also needs to be used in significant concentrations for best results.
Another often-overlooked reason you shouldn’t use vitamin C is if you’re allergic to citrus fruits. Back in my skincare therapy days, a client neglected to inform me of an allergy to oranges, and I proceeded to unintentionally remove a good chunk of her epidermis. Eventually we were both fine…
Which form of Vitamin C is best?
Ascorbic acid (or L-ascorbic acid), ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and ascorbyl ester (used in much lower concentrations than mentioned above) are my C’s of choice. So look out for them on a list of ingredients.
Ascorbic (or L-ascorbic) acid is by far the most widely researched and used vitamin C molecule – when in doubt, opt for old faithful.
Pick your poison
My favourite vitamin C skincare products are:
- Dermaceutic Tri Vita C30, R1700
- Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, R2300
- pHformula Vita C Corrective Serum, R945