Look through different skin care products, and you’re bound to notice one ingredient used often: Vitamin C. It’s a popular ingredient that helps brighten the face, reduce the signs of aging, and hydrate the skin among some people — but not all. Since everyone’s skin type is unique, vitamin C may have less glamorous effects on the skin, like irritation.
So before you shop for the latest vitamin C skincare product, doing more research can save you a lot of pain. This article will give you a brief overview of what vitamin C is, its benefits, and how you can incorporate it into your life if it suits your skin.
First, let’s talk about vitamin C and what it is to better understand how it interacts with the skin.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is water-soluble and is naturally present in some foods, such as citrus, tomatoes, and potatoes. It’s an antioxidant that helps prevent many health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, the common cold, and age-related muscular degeneration (AMD).
The skin naturally has high concentrations of vitamin C since it supports regular bodily functions such as collagen synthesis and antioxidant protection from the sun. Vitamin C supplements, such as skin care products, enhance the vitamin’s natural benefits.
As a skincare product, people often apply Vitamin C topically. According to Harvard Health Publishing, dermatologists have often used this topical vitamin to improve their patients’ skin.
Since vitamin C is an antioxidant, it also helps fight toxins or harmful free radicals that come in contact with the skin from air pollution, for example, or internal sources such as the metabolism.
Is Vitamin C Good for All Skin Types?
While studies have shown how vitamin C can improve the skin, not everyone may enjoy all its benefits. For instance, experts may not recommend it to children.
You may experience itching or stinging if you have sensitive skin. Additionally, if your skin is oily or you often break out, it may be better to use a formulation targeting your specific skin type. These suitable formulations for oily skin typically have ingredients such as salicylic acid.
It’s always best to consult your dermatologist or do a patch test before using skincare products with Vitamin C to help you avoid any adverse effects. Moreover, you can start with a formulation containing less than 5% of vitamin C and work your way up from there, using higher and higher concentrations.
How Vitamin C Benefits Your Skin
Vitamin C is well-known for having multiple benefits for the skin, not just for your overall physical health. Below are a few notable benefits of vitamin C on the skin.
● Decreases inflammation
According to a well-cited 2017 study, vitamin C helps to enhance the skin’s barrier mechanism, sealing in hydration to keep the skin moisturized longer.
Vitamin C also helps decrease inflammation from acne, eczema, and psoriasis, especially if the person is experiencing skin dryness and itching. Nutritional support can also help reduce inflammatory skin lesions caused by allergic reactions and auto-inflammation. In other words, eating food rich in vitamin C can reduce these skin issues.
● Prevents skin damage
Environmental influences can thin the epidermal layer, damaging the collagen and elastin matrix of the skin if you aren’t careful. These factors include UV rays from the sun, air pollution, and cigarette smoke. However, the researchers of the previously cited study have found evidence that vitamin C can help against oxidant-induced damage.
Another study has also found that vitamin C can protect the skin against damage from ultraviolet radiation when you apply it as a topical antioxidant solution.
● Brightens skin
Melanin is a pigment-producing substance that gives color to your eyes, hair, and skin. However, the overproduction of melanin can cause dark spots and discoloration in some areas of your skin.
Using vitamin C consistently can even out the tone, leaving you with glowing skin. This vitamin has inhibitory properties that prevent the overproduction of melanin in your body.
● Reduces the signs of aging
Collagen is a protein that helps repair tissues, enhance immune response, and keep your skin healthy. As you age, collagen production in your body begins to slow down, causing the skin to sag and form wrinkles. Vitamin C can help reduce these signs of aging.
Additionally, a study has found that a vitamin C formulation improved the appearance of wrinkles on the patient’s face and neck after three months of use.
As many benefits as there are from vitamin C, what’s more important is how often you use it. Vitamin C won’t brighten your skin in a day. It requires consistency and what type of vitamin C product you use.
How to Incorporate Vitamin C into Your Skincare Routine
Vitamin C products come in many forms, such as serums, moisturizers, masks, sunscreens, and cleansers. Typically, the products that stay on your skin for several hours will be the most effective since they work harder and longer. Examples are using a moisturizer instead of a cleanser and wearing sunscreen for the day.
The product’s vitamin C concentration and ingredients are factors to consider when incorporating the item into your skincare routine. Dermatologists recommend finding products with a verifiable form of vitamin C, such as L-ascorbic acid at 5% – 20%, on its list of ingredients.
Most recommend serums with vitamin C since it is typically the most potent. After cleansing your skin and moisturizing it at night, a dime-sized amount may already be enough. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when applying it in the morning. Doing so ensures that the UV rays don’t cause further harm to your skin.
Using Vitamin C on Your Skin Effectively
All in all, it’s no secret that vitamin C can give you great skin. It can decrease inflammation, prevent skin damage, brighten your skin, and reduce the signs of aging.
While most people can include vitamin C in their daily skincare routine, you must consult your dermatologist first to avoid adverse reactions such as skin irritation. They’ll properly evaluate your skin and recommend the ideal products for your skin type. Although skin differs from person to person, everyone can improve it with the right products and habits.
About the Author
Lia is currently the content strategist and lifestyle consultant for Kiehl’s Philippines – a cosmetics brand specializing in skincare, body care, and hair care products that combine the power of nature and science. One of her advocacies is to debunk myths on personal hygiene. She is also an aspiring novelist and wellness enthusiast.