The many benefits of Vitamin C
Posted at 11:00 • 14 MAY• NVBL • Brands
When you think of Vitamin C, perhaps a tall glass of orange juice comes to mind along with a host of other nutrient-rich foods. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential to a healthy diet. It supports immune system health, helps you absorb iron, and may lower your risk of cancer and stroke. It’s a mighty vitamin that our bodies need inside and out. Recently, Vitamin C has gained popularity for its restorative and protective benefits to the skin. But simply incorporating adequate Vitamin C into your diet isn’t enough. We’re going to share how topical Vitamin C benefits the skin and what to look for when selecting a product.
What you need to know
Vitamin C is vital to your body’s formation of blood vessels, muscles, collagen, and other building blocks. It is an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals that may otherwise cause disease and oxidation. When considering skin health, it is important to eat a balanced diet of Vitamin C-rich foods, however, there is also compelling evidence that suggests a range of benefits come from Vitamin C when applied directly to the skin. Here’s why:
Powerful skin brightener
As an antioxidant, Vitamin C boosts your body’s ability to reduce skin inflammation, which can smooth complexion and minimize redness. When added to your skincare routine, it also helps fade hyperpigmentation, such as melasma, sun spots, age spots, and even discoloration from acne, by inhibiting melanin production.
Vitamin C allows the skin to retain moisture, diminishing fine lines and improving the overall appearance. Benefits are particularly apparent when Vitamin C-containing products are used around the eyes. Many people see a reduction in under-eye circles and a plumping of the skin.
Our bodies naturally produce collagen, however, age and environmental influences decrease that production over time. Vitamin C, in our diet and in topical products, encourages collagen production, helping to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Protective against UV damage
Through the amazing power of antioxidants, Vitamin C also helps protect against further sun damage and oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals before they can cause harm. It also encourages quicker cell turnover, speeding up the healing process.
How to use it
To be effective, topical Vitamin C must be applied directly to your skin, so it should go on after you cleanse, ideally after your toner, for maximum absorption. Applying it over a moisturizer will only minimize its effectiveness.
It is also widely recommended to use Vitamin C in the morning, to enjoy all of its protective benefits against UV exposure. Here’s our typical morning routine:
Step 1: Cleanse face and lightly dry
Step 2: Apply toner to damp skin
Step 3: Pat in Vitamin C serum
Step 4: Moisturize
Step 5: Use daily SPF, if not in moisturizer
Vitamin C is light and air sensitive. When storing it, be sure the cap is always screwed on tight and the bottle is kept in a drawer or cabinet, out of the sun. This is the best way to preserve your product. Also, if you apply your Vitamin C serum in the morning, be sure it is formulated for daytime use and is non-phototoxic, meaning will not negatively react with exposure to sunlight.
If you find your serum has turned yellow-ish or brown, this is a sign it has oxidized and may no longer be effective. To ensure the best results, it’s advisable to toss it and try a new container.
While Vitamin C is potent in the right formulation, the medical community deems it completely safe. Do look for what percentage of Vitamin C your product contains. Higher concentrations can be irritating, especially to sensitive skin. If you haven’t used Vitamin C products on your skin before, start with a 5% formula, once a day, and work your way to twice a day, before trying a more potent concentration. Formulas go up to 30%, though it is unlikely that anything over 20% is significantly more effective.
Check the ingredients list
If your skin is prone to irritation, check the bottle for known skin irritants, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which are sometimes combined with Vitamin C to maximize skin brightening. While these ingredients can offer benefits, they may cause some undesirable effects.
And always check for toxic ingredients that have no place in your products or on your face. Use our no-sell ingredients list as a guide.
Our tried & proven favorites
When it comes to Vitamin C serums, this is one product in your ritual that you should invest in. Inexpensive or mass manufactured versions may not be as effective. We’ve tried nearly every non-toxic Vitamin C serum on the market. Here are the top performers:
Leveraging the extremely high Vitamin C content of the camu camu berry from the Amazonian rainforest, this completely unique Luxe Botanics formula revitalizes dull and uneven skin.
Source: Camu camu berry, Amazonian superfruit
Consistency: Mid-weight, creamy serum
Use: Layer with other Luxe Botanics products to target multiple concerns (after aqueous serum, but before oil)
Timing: Day and night
An approachably-priced, yet very effective serum with a stable form of Vitamin C that brightens, tones, and firms skin. This light, water-soluble formula is great for oilier skin.
Source: Ascorbic acid polypeptide
Consistency: Featherweight serum
Use: Apply before moisturizer or night cream
Timing: Day or night
One Love created this all-in-one wonder balm to simplify your routine. It doubles as a wrinkle-defying, softening makeup remover and skin conditioning face mask. Both applications deliver luminous, moisturized skin thanks to omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, while a stable botanical Vitamin C brightens and tones.
Source: Orange peel wax
Consistency: Mid-weight balm
Use: Before One Love Botanical A Facial Cleanser or as face mask
Timing: Day and Night
Vitamin C is a valuable addition to every skincare routine. Most people notice improvements to skin quality and fine lines in just a few weeks. Over time, and when used in conjunction with daily SPF and safe suncare practices, the use of topical Vitamin C can also even out skin tone.
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