With countless benefits, it's with good reason that vitamin C has fast become one of the most highly-regarded skincare ingredients available.
Its effects include brightening skin tone, improving texture, aiding in the induction of collagen, diminishing pigmentation, and providing powerful antioxidant protection from cellular damage. However, there are many myths associated with vitamin C, and these coupled with the endless options and brands on the market can leave even the savviest skincare lovers overwhelmed. So, if you wish to learn everything there is to know about vitamin C skincare, read on.
HOW DOES VITAMIN C WORK ON THE SKIN?
Unfortunately, humans lack the enzyme required to synthesise our own vitamin c naturally, and we must therefore obtain it through our diet. Even so, only a tiny proportion of this is directed to our skin, so topical application is necessary to reap the above benefits.
When it comes to skincare, not all vitamin C is made the same, and there are several important factors to keep in mind. Primarily, vitamin C is a fairly unstable ingredient, which means it is prone to chemical reactivity (oxidation) when it comes into contact with oxygen molecules or other substances. This can also result in negative outcomes when in contact with the skin, sometimes causing sensitivity, redness, flakiness or similar responses. When used in skincare, a variety of methods can be taken to ensure the vitamin C is more stable and less reactive. This is also why you can find a number of types of vitamin C on the market.
THE MANY FORMS OF VITAMIN COne of the most common forms of vitamin C is L-ascorbic Acid, and evidently the most reactive form with the greatest incidences of irritancy. Other forms include Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. If you’re searching for a vitamin C derivative on an ingredients list, look for the ‘ascorb’ phrase. Based on their stability, some forms of vitamin C can cause sensitivity, however if a quality form of stable vitamin C has been selected, reactions are rare.
Another benefit of vitamin C is its ability to reduce inflammation in the skin, so if you have experienced sensitivity in response to vitamin C, we highly recommend testing another form. Another consideration is whether the form is oil or water soluble. As our skin cells are surrounded by a lipid (oil) bilayer, an oil soluble form of vitamin C; or one that is encapsulated in a lipid delivery system, will penetrate more deeply to the dermis where it is required in order to make any real cellular change. Without this penetration, it simply sits on the surface, where it cannot carry out its benefits.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT CONCENTRATION OF VITAMIN C?The strength of the product is another potential indicator of success. Many products will claim to be vitamin C-based, but only contain a fraction of the ingredient, rendering less effective. The latest clinical data has analysed the efficacy of vitamin C derivatives of up to 20%, although keeping in mind for some skin types at this percentage it can be irritating depending on the type of C. For daily use, we recommend a sweet spot from as low as 2.5 – 10%. If the percentage is not listed on the front of the product, consult the products ingredients list; which in Australia must be listed in order of quantity of each ingredient used from highest to lowest. So, if the vitamin C ingredient is listed somewhere towards the end of the list, its contained percentage is very low.
DOES VITAMIN C EXFOLIATE?In a sense, however, it doesn’t exfoliate in the traditional way. The action of an abrasive exfoliate is to use friction to slough off skin cells mechanically, using beads, sugars or salts. The action of a chemical exfoliant is to dissolve the dead skin cells or the bonds that bind them together allowing them to be lifted away. Comparatively, vitamin C affects the skin cell’s mitochondria, responsible for releasing ATP, the body’s primary source of energy. As a result, you are energising the skin and encouraging cellular activity, including the proliferation of new skin cells and shedding of expired ones. This results in that brightened, energised complexion vitamin C is renowned for. Essentially, it optimises the skin’s own natural form of exfoliation from within, as opposed to actioning this from the outside.
WHEN SHOULD I USE VITAMIN C, AND CAN I MIX IT WITH OTHER PRODUCTS?
The energising effect of vitamin C often encourages users to apply it in the morning, taking advantage of their brightened complexion. Some clinical data has also been published to suggest that vitamin C enhances the efficacy of sunscreens. Some evidence also suggests vitamin C can respond negatively in conjunction with vitamin A (this is usually pH related), which is of course recommended for nighttime use due to its sun-sensitising nature. For these reasons, we recommend vitamin C for daytime use, however if you aren’t combining it with vitamin A, there is no reason you can’t apply it at night. It is also safe to use alongside any vitamin B, hydrating serums, and AHAs such as glycolic.
OUR UPGRADED VITAL C ELIXIR
Our upgraded Vital C Elixir guarantees even greater results than the previous iteration and outperforms most other vitamin C serums. Its synergistic blend of cosmeceutical ingredients has been carefully selected for their potent skin brightening properties, fading existing pigmentation and aiding in the prevention of further pigmentation from occurring.
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) a stable vitamin C form has been utilised with a micro-encapsulated delivery system that efficiently carries it and other the key actives to the deeper dermal layers. It accompanies Kakadu Plum, the highest natural plant source of vitamin C, Glabridin; extracted from the roots of Glycyrrhiza glabra, alongside Undaria pinnatifida; a peptidic extract of brown macroalgae, selected for their powerful pigment fading properties and their direct effect on the melanocyte cell, responsible for producing pigmentation in the skin. Our new Vital C Elixir has been designed as a multi-benefit powerhouse, not just for pigment but to help improve skin resilience and firmness while providing antioxidant protection from daily environmental aggressors.
So, if you’re looking to repair signs of UV damage, including pigmentation and fine lines, and give your skin the best form of protection and prevention, look no further. The inclusion of vitamin C in your daily skincare ritual can significantly reduce the appearance of aged skin and wrinkles, shield skin from oxidative and environmental damage, and increase firmness to prevent premature skin ageing.