There is no doubt that you know vitamin C. It’s an essential vitamin for your body, providing multiple benefits, perhaps most famously immune support. If you have been paying attention to skin care for the past few years, you know that vitamin C is an increasingly popular ingredient among skin care lines from your drugstore to the highest luxury brands. While some skin care ingredients are trendy and popular for a few seasons or years, vitamin C is a stellar ingredient that remains a constant staple in many products.
Why Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a potent, naturally occurring antioxidant. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development. Vitamin C provides benefits to your body by:
- Forming a protein required to make skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels
- Helping wounds heal and forming scar tissue
- Repairing and maintaining healthy bones, teeth and cartilage
While these are all critical to your health, vitamin C also has dermatological properties. Some of the amazing benefits from using products with vitamin C include:
- Reduction in photo-ageing (brown spots and sun damage spots)
- Reduction in inflammation and irritation
- Providing a boost in collagen production
- Fighting damage from free radical oxidation
- Fading red marks that occur post-acne
What Type of Vitamin C Should I Use?
The usual form of vitamin C as it relates to skin care is ascorbic acid, also referred to as L-ascorbic acid. Perhaps the main reason that this form of vitamin C is the most prevalent in skin care is that it has the most research and scientific study of all forms of vitamin C for skin care. If the ascorbic acid is formulated properly, it provides every skin care benefit listed above. For more stubborn pigmentation and post-acne marks, you can use a product containing a higher (15% or higher) concentration of ascorbic acid.
Though ascorbic acid is the most frequently used in skin care, it is not the only form of vitamin C that finds its way into skin care products. Other forms of vitamin C that are believed to be effective for dermatological care are:
- Retinyl ascorbate
- Ascorbyl palmitate
- Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate
- Sodium ascorbyl phosphate
- Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
All of these are derivatives of vitamin C that provide benefits such as protection from free radicals to repairing skin to increasing collagen production, though there is not as much research on these forms.
How to Use Vitamin C
Using vitamin C topically is pretty straightforward; you purchase a product that provides benefits your skin needs and you apply the product as directed. However, there are some things you should take into consideration when purchasing skin care that includes vitamin C. First, while vitamin C is helpful on its own, it works even better when combined with other antioxidants, so look for product formulations that include vitamin C as well as other antioxidants, such as green tea. Next, it is important to consider the packaging of the product. Sure, you like nice looking products displayed in your bathroom, but sacrifice beauty for function if necessary. Vitamin C, along with every other antioxidant, has the tendency to destabilize when exposed to light or air. Look for a container that is air-tight or that uses a pump that can close and that is opaque so the light cannot penetrate the product.
Vitamin C is truly a necessity for your body, especially for your skin. Ascorbic acid, and other forms of vitamin C, provide a large range of benefits that help you to get the best skin possible.