Vitamin C is a powerhouse for the skin. Uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, acne scars, general dullness — you can name just about any common complexion concern and there’s a good chance that vitamin C is a good treatment option. Let’s deep dive into what vitamin C is and how it works in skincare.
First off, what is vitamin C?
As far as your skin is concerned, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals. Because of its antioxidant properties, vitamin C aids in your skin’s natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells.
So, in the same way that consuming antioxidant-rich foods aids your body in fighting off free radicals, topical antioxidants do the same for your skin by helping to offset daily aggressors like UV damage and exposure to air pollution. This free-radical fighting power isn’t just important for helping to keep signs of premature aging at bay. In neutralizing these free radicals, vitamin C may also help protect skin from precancerous changes caused by UV exposure.
Amazingly, vitamin C’s benefits aren’t limited to its antioxidant status. It has plenty of other skin-healing properties that make it worthy of a permanent place in your skin care routine. For one, because it’s highly acidic, when vitamin C is used topically the skin is alerted to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are both naturally occurring protein fibers that help keep skin plump and firm. So, in helping to promote collagen production, topical vitamin C can help prevent premature aging of the skin.
Another benefit of vitamin C is it contains a property that inhibits your skin’s melanin production, which is what causes skin discoloration like dark spots and hyperpigmentation. With continued topical use, vitamin C can help prevent dark spots from forming in the first place and brighten the overall complexion of your skin.
How can you add vitamin C into your daily skin-care routine?
Vitamin C should always be applied as a serum and never as a cream. (The one I recommend is here) This is because serums penetrate deeper into the skin. Vitamin C actually breaks down when it’s exposed to light or air, so dark glass bottles help maintain its stability (and therefore, efficacy). As a general rule, serums should be layered underneath your moisturizer and vitamin C should be used in your morning routine. A little goes a long way and if you are just starting out you should start with an every other day application and work up to daily use.
Who should avoid vitamin C?
Those with sensitive skin may have allergies or redness from vitamin C. You should never apply vitamin C to skin that is already red. If you have red skin you need to start by hydrating the skin.