Understanding the Benefits and Proper Use of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of those products that your skin just can’t get enough of. There is a lot Vitamin C can do for your skin, it has many benefits; including brightening dark spots, protecting the skin from UV damage, promoting collagen production, smoothing fine lines, healing acne, and is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize and help repair free radicals caused by UV exposure, pollution and environmental factors. Because it also inhibits melanin production in the skin, it also helps lighten hyperpigmentation and even skin tone to enhance skin radiance.

Commonly, Vitamin C is safe to use and well accepted by the skin, in some cases it can sting or itch a little bit, or cause redness, especially if applying after exfoliating scrubs or acid peels. There are many factors that will contribute to maximize your Vitamin C benefits. Having a dedicated skin care routine along with consistency is key for maximum results, so add it to your routine in a way that makes sense for you.

Vitamin C skincare

The type of vitamin C serum you select, as well as how you use and store it, can significantly affect how much you actually get out of it. Vitamin C products aren’t all created the same way, and in some cases it can be irritating to use, especially if you have sensitive or reactive skin. It’s always recommended to read the product label and know what you’re buying.

It’s always suggested to check your product vitamin C concentration to decided what is suitable for you. If you have sensitive skin it’s best to start with the lowest concentration and work your way up. However, skin that produces a lot of sebum and is heavily pigmented a high concentration of vitamin C can be more suitable to attack those skin concerns.

How should you use vitamin C? There is no right or wrong way to use it. However, studies have suggested that using it during the morning is the best time, considering that is when UV radiation is at its highest, and it will help protect from UV damage. There are many ways to apply vitamin C serum, it can be applied underneath your moisturizer, or under your SPF if your vitamin C product is both a moisturizer and antioxidant.

Natural sources of Vitamin C

There are some other ingredients that should never be mixed with vitamin C: Benzoyl Peroxide can oxidize vitamin C and, as a result, will make it less potent. If you want to use Benzoyl Peroxide I advise using it during your evening skin-care routine, and skip few days in between uses. Another product I warn my clients to be careful of combining is Retinol, combining them can result in making your skin more sensitive and weakening your skin’s barrier. For this reason, I also advise to alternate days, and use Retinoid products during the evening, but never in combination with vitamin C.

Make sure to properly store your vitamin C products. In topical skin-care products, vitamin C is sensitive to light and air. For this reason, it can’t be store in any direct light. When vitamin C is exposed to these factors, it becomes oxidized to dehydroascorbic acid, which is less stable and less effective. Products should be stored in containers that are either air-restrictive, or air-tight, and restrict the light.

It’s important to check vitamin C product formulations before you purchase. There are different types of vitamin C that you might find in different types of products. Some of these are more stable than others, meaning they won’t oxidize as quickly, and some of them have distinctive properties that can make them more suited to certain skin types.

For example, L-ascorbic acid and sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate are water-soluble, meaning they’re more likely to show up in products that are lighter, and therefore better suited to oilier skin. If you have dry, or mature skin, look for more moisturizing products containing lipid-soluble forms of vitamin C, like Ascorbyl Palmitate and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate.

Consider throwing out any vitamin C products that have dramatically changed color since you bought them, which means they might be expired and the efficacy has been affected. Lastly, it’s also important when following any skin care regimen, it's a must to protect the skin against UV damage with an antioxidant and daily use of an SPF.

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