A powerful skincare ingredient, Vitamin C, has been one of the most popular ingredients in the skincare world. Known for fighting hyper-pigmentation and defending against UV rays skincare damage from the sun, Vitamin C has carved its place into our medicine cabinet, mainly in the form of a concentrated serum or moisturizer. With claims of its antioxidant properties and ability to neutralize free radicals, is Vitamin C for your skincare routine that important?
The history of Vitamin C
Ever here of scurvy? The disease that killed over 2 million sailors during the Age of Exploration had symptoms such as scaly, dry, brownish skin, dry hair, bruises, bulging eyes, and loose teeth. The root cause of scurvy was a Vitamin C deficiency in maritime sailor diets. Out at sea for months, most ships had little access to natural Vitamin C sources such as fruits and vegetables due to their shelf life and lack of preservatives. In 1747 James Lind discovered that lemons and oranges we’re the cure to scurvy, solving one of the greatest maritime problems at the time. Almost 200 years later, Dr. Albert Szent Goyrgi isolated the real cure as Vitamin C, which he won a Nobel Prize for in 1937. Since then, Vitamin C has exploded onto the scene as a prominent part of our everyday diet, an essential nutrient for collagen formation, iron absorption, wound healing, and many other critical systems in our body. You will die without Vitamin C.
How does Vitamin C for your skin work
Not only did Vitamin C become a critical part of our diet, skincare companies later started putting Vitamin C as an active ingredient in skincare products for topical application.
Notably, a paper in the Medical Journal, Nutrients, cites that Vitamin C through your diet may not be able to reach the outer layer of your skin due to the lack of blood vessels in your epidermis. As a potential solution, the journal suggests a topical application (AKA skincare products)!
As an antioxidant, what Vitamin C in skincare is best known for is protecting against UV rays and external pollutants. Essentially, Vitamin C works on your skin by neutralizing free radicals known to cause harmful damage to your skin by attacking your cells. Vitamin C stabilizes these free radicals with antioxidant capabilities by sharing its electrons with them, which goes to show that sharing is caring! Further, there is also some evidence that Vitamin C on your skin can stimulate collagen production on your skin, reducing hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and general signs of aging. Essentially, the PH levels of Vitamin C potentially signal your skin to produce more collagen.
Interestingly, the paper cited above notes that not all Vitamin C skincare products work. There are limited studies, but it’s important to make sure you know the source of Vitamin C in your products. So far, the only source of Vitamin C that is known to be able to absorb into your epidermis level is ascorbic acid; most studies suggest that your epidermis repels other sources of Vitamin C! For all the skincare enthusiasts out there, make sure you are aware of the source of Vitamin C in the product, there is limited evidence that other sources can penetrate the skincare barrier.
Vitamin C in your skincare routine
Currently, the most common product for Vitamin C in your skincare routine is through serums. The thinking here is that since concentrated levels of Vitamin C are the most effective in penetrating your skin, mainly when a moisturizer is applied on top of the serum. Some of the most recommended products are Skin Ceuticals C E Ferulic Serum, which partners Vitamin C with Vitamin E (another great antioxidant ingredient), and La-Roche Posay Vitamin C Serum, a 10% ascorbic acid solution. If you’re looking for something on the more affordable side, the Ordinary Ascorbic Acid Serum is another great product at an 8% solution.
A statement ingredient, Vitamin C as ascorbic acid, is a powerful ingredient that works for all skin types. The hype is real. Don’t be afraid to add Vitamin C to your skincare routine.