This April, let's talk about Vitamin C. Ubiquitous, inexpensive, and incredibly delicious (when partaken from citrus fruits), Vitamin C remains an easy edible but appears niche and specialised to beauty customers. When used in skincare, Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant properties. It's effective for fighting signs of ageing, brightening and toning the skin, and clearing congested skin. But how can you identify Vitamin C—often seen as Ascorbic Acid—in your beauty products, and what do you need to know when using it?
The Topical Benefits of Vitamin C in Your Skincare
When used topically, Vitamin C has been shown to slow early signs of ageing and prevent sun damage. Inside your beauty product, Vitamin C is commonly listed as 'ascorbic acid', 'ascorbyl-6-palmitate' and 'magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.'
Anti-ageing. As an antioxidant ingredient, it fights free radicals that arise in the skin from stressors such as UV rays, pollution, and natural metabolic body processes. It increases collagen synthesis, stabilises collagen fibres, and decreases collagen degradation. Vitamin C plays a role in protecting against photocarcinogenesis, a complex of simultaneous and sequential biochemical events that can lead to long term skin damage.
Anti-pigmentation. Vitamin C decreases melanin formation, and thus reduces pigmentation, making it effective against hyperpigmentation and mature dark spots.
Replenishes Vitamin E. Beyond its anti-ageing and photoprotective effects, Vitamin C has been shown to assist in replenishing Vitamin E. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant and protects cell membranes against oxidative stress, as well as maintains the collagen network of the skin.
How to Use Vitamin C Effectively
Due to its powerful antioxidant effects, Vitamin C can be applied during the day, when its protection against the sun's UV radiation is most effective.
Vitamin C in its natural form is water-soluble, so when included in topical skin formulations, a fat or lipid-soluble derivative, such as ascorbyl-6-palmitate is often used, for better skin absorption.
Test it on a patch of skin before using it everywhere. Like any potent, intensive skincare product designed to deliver targeted results, your skin needs time to adjust to its effects. Vitamin C formulations are highly acidic, and using too large a quantity or too potent a dose of Vitamin C can cause skin irritation in the form of redness, discomfort and sensitivity. Start with the smallest possible drop and see how your skin reacts before making it a regular part of your routine.
Avoid using Vitamin C simultaneously with Vitamin A (Retinol). Since both are active ingredients, the combined effect of two separate Vitamin C and Vitamin A products can be too intense for the skin. Unless the product has been specifically formulated to deliver both nutrients in a stable way into the skin, do not combine your Vitamin C experimentation with Vitamin A products.
Use it as needed, and slowly build up to a daily application. Vitamin C can be reserved for those occasions when your skin is looking particularly stubborn or dull. If you want to apply it regularly, choose to start with a weekly interval, and build up to using it daily if needed. When you have acne-prone skin, Vitamin C can be a great part of a regular routine for its support in reducing the appearance of acne scars, tightening effects and positive impact on skin radiance.
VIL Skin Care
£24.95 | 120 ml / 4.05 Fl oz
This Vitamin C Prepping Tonic includes star players Vitamin C and Niacinamide, which protect the skin against free radicals and chemical irritants. Through their powerful antioxidant activity, they have the much-needed benefit of slowing down the ageing process. The incorporation of citric acid and lactic acid into this Vitamin C Prepping Tonic resurfaces the skin, fades pigmentation and keeps oil production under control.
£19.00 | 60 ml / 2 oz
These fine Exfoliating Vitamin Crystals promote glowing and healthy-looking skin all year round. The Vitamin C in the product is wonderful for brightening dull complexions, and the fruit-derived Malic Acid offers deep exfoliation. The ratio of crystals to cleanser can be altered to create a lighter or more intensive scrub! This product is preservative-free.
Kokoa Eco Beauty
Raw Ginger Banana Bright Skin Niacinamide Clay Mask
£24.00 | 60 ml / 2 oz
With circulation boosting Ginger and Vitamin C to brighten complexion, and Willow Bark and Banana to soothe and hydrate, this Raw Ginger Banana Mask will see you waving bye-bye to dull skin and hello to glow.
Marie Hunter Beauty
£22.00 | Colour: Peach Glow
The Lip Plumping Peptide Complex Maxi helps to stimulate collagen for a voluptuous look. Marine Filling Collagen Micro-Spheres instantly plump and hydrate. Mango, Kokam and Shea Butter hydrate and condition the lips while Vitamins A, C & E provide antioxidants to help protect lips from free radical damage.
£16.00 | 240 ml / 8 oz
An intensive deep restorative hair treatment that conditions hair, strengthens it and moisturises dry hair to improve texture and manageability. Provides hydration and elasticity to natural hair. Vitamins E, C, B3 and B6 protect hair and stimulate growth.
£25.00 | 180 g / 6 Fl oz
The Mix Cleanser, with Vitamin C, provides antioxidant protection and prevention of the formation of free radicals in sun-exposed skin. The Mix Cleanser fades sun spots and discolouration due to key ingredients Wild Cherry Bark and Rosehip Seed, refines skin texture and reduces wrinkle formation as well as minimises existing wrinkles.
£48.00 | 12 ml / 0.42 Fl oz
This Antioxidant Defence Booster contains a powdered form of pure Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) that does not activate until you want it to and need it to. Applied regularly, skin appears brighter with less visible fine lines and wrinkles. Dissolve in the palm of your hand with water or your favourite serum and apply it to your face, neck—and décolletage if you feel like it.
£42.00 | 30 ml / 1 Fl oz
Say hello to this blend of Vitamin C, Green Tea and Kojic Acid. Green Tea and Kojic Acid contain anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help fade sun damage, acne scars, and age spots. Put it all together and you’re left with an incredibly potent yet non-irritating antioxidant serum to help brighten, smooth, and firm your skin.
NĀMAKA SUPER “C” + SEA ANTIOXIDANT MASK
£43.00 | 60 ml / 2.11 oz
A customisable, super sea and Vitamin C treatment mask chock-full of antioxidants, minerals, phytonutrients & fruit enzymes purifies, brightens and boosts cell regeneration. It soothes, calms and clears congested and acne-prone skin.
£62.00 | 30 g / 1.05 oz
A light feel, brightening skin hydrator, this oil-based serum is the perfect anti-pollutant to protect and nourish your skin. A multi-defence shield, mixing natural antioxidant Rosehip Oil, Vitamin C-rich Cucumber Seed Oil and Moringa Oil targets skin imperfections, such as hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone and fine lines whilst helping to prevent future skin damage.
Marie Hunter Beauty
£46.00 | 30 ml / 1 Fl oz
An antioxidant powerhouse that improves the appearance of skin tone.
Hyaluronic Acid provides a boost of hydration while Vitamin C helps to reduce the appearance of blemishes, age spots and redness.
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Brennan, D. (2021, November 27). Vitamin C Serum: Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects. WebMD. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/beauty/what-to-know-about-vitamin-c-serum-for-acne
Cobb, C. (n.d.). 11 Vitamin C Serum Benefits, How to Use, and More. Healthline. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/vitamin-c-serum-benefits