Are All Vitamin C Serums Created Equal
No, not all vitamin C serums are on the same level of efficacy. This is because vitamin C is labeled as an unstable ingredient, with serums containing L-ascorbic acid being the most active form of the vitamin.
L ascorbic acid is the water-soluble form , Dr. Patel explains. Its most easily absorbed by the skin, unstable in sunlight and air and is tricky in formulation this results in the different qualities of vitamin C serums.
Dr. Patel adds that esterified vitamin C is much more stable in air and sunlight and not as irritating, but not as strong as L ascorbic acid. That said, the difference in serum qualities depends on concentration, formulation and packaging, according to Dr. Patel.
Choose The Right Concentration
Identifying the right concentration for your skin type is essential to how effective your topical vitamin C will be, says New York City dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler. “Begin with a low concentration of 10% and increase to 15% or 20% as tolerated,” she instructs. For oily or normal skin, L-ascorbic acid is the most potent form of vitamin C and can be the most beneficial, while for dry and sensitive skin, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a water-soluble vitamin C, is less irritating.
How Do You Know The Product Includes Vitamin C What Is Important Of The % Amount And The Stability Of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is listed under a variety of names in skincare products. Look for L-Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Palmitate and Retinyl Ascorbate on the products ingredient list to know if it contains Vitamin C. The stability of Vitamin C form is critical for the effectiveness of the product. There are several products with Vitamin C in the market that contain a variety of concentration levels. However, if Vitamin C in the formula is not stable, it will be ineffective. Always do your research when selecting skincare products by looking at clinical results, claims or before & after photos.
Read Also: What Is The Most Bioavailable Form Of Vitamin C
Topical Formulations Of Vitamin C
Vit. C is available in the market as a variety of creams, serum and transdermal patches. Of these, only the serum contains active Vit. C in an almost colorless form. It is unstable and, on exposure to light, gets oxidized to Dehydro Ascorbic Acid , which imparts a yellow color. The stability of Vit. C is controlled by maintaining a pH of less than 3.5. At this pH, the ionic charge on the molecule is removed and it is transported well across the stratum corneum.
From a clinical point of view, it is important to note that the efficacy of the Vit. C serum is proportional to the concentration, but only up to 20%. The half-life in the skin after achieving maximum concentration is 4 days. A persistent reservoir of Vit. C is important for adequate photoprotection, and can be achieved by regular 8-hourly applications. As UV light lowers tissue Vit. C levels, topical Vit. C is best used after exposure to UV light and not prior. A combination of tyrosine, zinc and Vit. C has been shown to increase the bioavailability of Vit. C 20-times vis-à-vis using just Vit. C.
A variety of creams with Vit. C derivatives are available in the market. As a dermatologist, it is important to know that not all preparations are physiologically effective. Some are not delivered into the dermis in an adequate quantity, while others do not chemically convert to the biologically active form of Vit. C in the skin.
Ascorbic acid sulfate.
Why Should I Add Vitamin C Into My Skincare Routine
Vitamin C consumption is less effective on skin than topical application. According to dermatologist Dr. Vivian Bucay, Only 1% of your diet is actually getting into your skin, so putting things on your skin is essential to protect and combat damage.So no matter how much orange juice you consume, only a small fragment is actually being absorbed by skin.
Read Also: Do Vitamin D Supplements Help With Depression
Benefits Of Vitamin C For Skin
Vitamin C is an impressive skincare ingredient that is shown to be effective in the following areas:
- Protects against environmental stressors: As an antioxidant, one of vitamin Cs main functions is protecting the skin. “Normal cellular processes, as well as environmental insults like ultraviolet light and pollution, create free radicals in the skin,” Herrmann explains. “Free radicals are inherently unstable molecules that damage cells, promoting skin dullness, wrinkles, and even cancers.” Guanche adds, “Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means that it can protect to skin from damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure.” By scavenging these free radicals, vitamin C protects the skin, keeping it healthy and improving visible signs of aging.
- Promotes collagen production: Vitamin C also plays an important role in collagen synthesis. “Collagen gives our skin support and structure, and as it degrades with age, we begin to notice wrinkles and lines,” Herrmann explains. “Vitamin C is a necessary cofactor for building collagen bundles, without which this process halts.”
- Lightens brown spots: Vitamin C is also helpful in lightening unwanted brown spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or decreasing brown discoloration by blocking the pathway of pigment synthesis, according to both Herrmann and Guanche.
Why Vitamin C Is So Confusing
The big problem with vitamin C is that theres so much variation when it comes to different vitamin C products.
Not all the forms of vitamin C have been shown to have these beneficial effects in studies on human skin. Some of them mightve had an effect on one study, but it wasnt very high quality. Some are unlikely to have effects at all. And for pretty much all of them, it depends on the formula.
Heres where Im going to introduce the Lab Muffin Matrix for sussing out whether a skincare product works. Ill talk more about this later, and to be honest I havent completely fleshed it out yet.
But basically these are some of the things to think about when deciding if a skincare product has a reasonably good chance of working:
You want to see if the active ingredients in the product can theoretically work , and if the active ingredients have been tested to actually work on skin, such as in clinical trials .
A lot of things that could theoretically work really well dont actually work when you put them on a complex system like a human body. If everything that theoretically worked did actually work, we would have cured cancer thousands of times over.
Related post: Sneaky Marketing? The Inkey List Succinic Acid Acne Treatment
You also want to see if the specific formula of a product could theoretically work and if the formulas been actually tested on skin in clinical trials .
Also Check: How Much Vitamin D Does A 13 Year Old Need
Expert Tips For Choosing A High
Youll find vitamin C in a few different forms, including L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl-6-palmitate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, according to a 2017 study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. L-ascorbic acid is the most researched and the most biologically active, according to the study authors.
The price of these serums can vary greatly, from about $10 to $250 for 1 ounce. How do you choose? Pay attention to the vitamin C concentration levels . Some may have 10 percent, while others may have 15 or 20 percent. Look for one with a concentration higher than 8 percent, which The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology study says is the minimum amount thats shown to be biologically significant. The higher the concentration, the stronger the serum, though the benefits taper off at 20 percent, according to a study published in April-June 2013 in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal. Twenty percent is where it maxes out youre not going to get anything more powerful than that, Saedi says.
RELATED: The Skin-Care Glossary Every Woman Needs to Have
Benefits Of Vitamin C
- AntioxidantsOne of the most well-known benefits of vitamin C is that its an incredibly powerful antioxidant. Uncontrolled oxidative stress can cause everything from wrinkles to autoimmune disorders, so making sure youre eating or supplementing with antioxidants is very important for overall health.
- Aids in Metabolism of ProteinsWhen it comes to taking vitamin C for skin health, its helpful to know that taking vitamin C with a collagen supplement would do wonders for your skincare. Collagen helps to reduce wrinkles and cellulite, while vitamin C ensures your body is metabolizing it, making you glow even more!
- Boosts ImmunityIts no wonder its recommended we drink citrus fruits like lemon and orange when were coming down with something. Theyre packed with vitamin C, which can help boost immunity by supporting overall immune function.
- Supports Iron AbsorptionAs you may know, iron is an essential mineral, and many people are iron deficient. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, which is essential for transporting oxygen and producing red blood cells.
Read Also: What Is The Best Vitamin C To Use
Foods Rich In Vitamin C
Vitamin C is critical for the synthesis of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has been touted for speeding up recovery time and relieving painful joints. Without adequate levels of vitamin C, your body will not gain the full benefit of foods containing hyaluronic acid. One study suggests that hyaluronic acid can help boost collagen production in the human body. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the body, but it decreases as we age. Eating foods rich in vitamin C and amino acids can increase the levels of hyaluronic acid and collagen in the body as both are important for skin. Foods such as oranges, red peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and strawberries are all rich in vitamin C. Concentrated hyaluronic acid can be purchased at the drugstore.
Should I Apply Vitamin C Serum During The Day Or At Night
Vitamin C serum is said to be safe to apply up to twice a day in conjunction with your regular skin care routine. Serums are typically fast-absorbing, making them ideal for applying underneath your other skin care products like moisturizer and under your make-up. Some dermatologists recommend applying vitamin C during the day to help protect your skin from free radicals throughout the day. It is not, however, considered adequate sun protection. You still need sunscreen for that.
Personally, I recommend applying at night only. If you have sensitive skin, definitely avoid using vitamin C during the day altogether and just use it at night instead. At night, your skin undergoes repair and recovery, which is why your vitamin C serum can definitely come in handy at night. Apply it after youve thoroughly cleansed and exfoliated.
You May Like: How To Eat Vitamin D
How Does Vitamin C Help Protect Against Sun Damage
Vitamin C also helps combat the negative effects of sun exposure on skin. As Dr. Bucay mentions, Vitamin C is a supreme multi-tasker, but it does get used fairly quickly. Vitamin C decreases sun damage and helps neutralize free radicals. She adds, It takes only 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure to deplete the skins natural Vitamin C and Vitamin E. However, skincare products with Vitamin C are not a substitute for SPF. Vitamin C and SPF work together to boost the protection of skin from the suns rays. By preventing the damage, you also prevent premature aging
Do I Need To Introduce It Into My Skincare Routine Slowly
While some more potentially irritating skincare ingredients like retinol require a slow introduction to your skincare routine, vitamin C doesnt require quite as much caution. Though vitamin C isnt a common irritant for most skin types, DuPéré still advises using products infused with the ingredients just a few times a week to start with and working up to a daily routine.
If you feel a slight tingling sensation upon application, its completely normal. Vitamin C can be used on all skin types but because the PH of the product is low, sometimes it can have a slight stinging sensation, says Humphrey. with sensitive skin may feel that more than others, but all patients can benefit from adding a vitamin C into their regime. It just comes down to finding the formulation thats best for your skin.
Don’t Miss: What Happens If Vitamin B12 Is Low
What The Heck Does Vitamin C Serum Do For Your Skin Anyway
HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.
Could your morning glass of OJ give you clearer skin?
These days people are turning to Vitamin C to give their lackluster complexion a juicy glow. promise results for dry skin, oily skin, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and even dark spots and sun damage. Those are some big promises for small bottles.
Before you head to the grocery store to stock up on orange juice and lemons, we put this trendy skin superfood to dermatologists and skincare experts for their take on the benefits of Vitamin C for your skin.
Is There A Difference Between Pure Vitamin C And Vitamin C Derivatives
Vitamin C is available in a variety of forms, but none are to absorb as effectively as L-Ascorbic Acid . In clinical studies, derivatives of ascorbic acid including magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl-6-palmitate, and dehydroascorbic acid have not been shown as effective. All SkinCeuticals antioxidants are formulated with pure l-ascorbic acid in accordance with the Duke Antioxidant patent.
You May Like: What Vitamins Does A Woman Over 50 Need
Citrus & Kale Potent C+e Serum
Eminence Organics Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum is a lightweight formula that can easily be added to any skin care routine. This serum is formulated with Vitamin E and ferulic acid which, as mentioned, enhance its antioxidant properties and helps it retain its potency. This formula also includes three varieties of Vitamin C. First, there’s L-ascorbic acid, a powerful form of the antioxidant. Second, you can find Vitamin C from natural sources citrus fruits like lemon and orange and leafy greens like kale and broccoli. And third, the serum contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate which is illustrated below.
Pro Tip:Enhance your routine with the Rosehip Triple C+E Firming Oil and Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Masque. The hydrating qualities of these complementary products add essential moisture and encourage the skin to absorb more Vitamin C over time, thereby enhancing the efficacy of the serum.
Begin Your New Skincare Routine Today
If you look in the mirror and see skin concerns youd like to address on your face, pimple, wrinkle, pigment, or just need a little skin TLC, then we encourage you to make an appointment with one of our skin health experts at The Skin Center By CPS. Everyones skin is a bit different and will respond differently to varying products. We all have those drawers full of products that promised much and delivered little? It can quickly become expensive to constantly test out different products to find just the right one. Instead, let our professional skin health staff at The Skin Center By CPS help guide you.
We will work with you in determining the kind of skin you have and what products you will likely respond best to, including a vitamin C serum . If youre ready to begin seeing improvement, give The Skin Center By CPS a call today.
Read Also: How To Get Vitamin D To Absorb Better
Add A Vitamin C Serum To Your Skin Care Routine
Adding a Vitamin C serum to your skin care routine is simple. Vitamin C is typically formulated in a fast-absorbing formula, suitable for all skin types that can be used both morning and night. Skin care experts recommend applying 1-2 drops of serum to cleansed and toned skin. Use your fingers to spread a thin layer of serum over your face and neck, then wait for it to completely absorb before applying your favorite facial oil and/or moisturizer.
Watch this video to learn from Natalie about how you can add Vitamin C into your skin care routine: :
Eat Your Fruits And Vegetables
Its not all about lotions and serums. The vitamin C in food helps promote healthy skin, too. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, kiwis and strawberries are all packed with the stuff.
Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C and Skin Health.
American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: Hyperpigmentation.
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications.
Harvard Health Publishing/Harvard Medical School: Skin Serum: What it Can and Cant do.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Dietary Nutrient Intakes and Skin-aging Appearance Among Middle-aged American Women.
Cedars-Sinai: Collagen for Your Skin: Healthy or Hype?
Nutrients: The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health.
Harvard Health Publishing/Harvard Medical School: Finding the Right Serum for Your Skin.
Cleveland Clinic: Understanding the Ingredients in Skin Care Products.
Mayo Clinic: Wrinkle Creams: Your Guide to Younger Looking Skin.
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.
Also Check: How To Know What Vitamins You Need
What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that prevents free radicles from breaking down collagen and elastin, Dr. Patel explains. You can tell if your serum is working after a week of using.
She adds that your skin should be smoother, softer and more glowy and maybe a few dark spots lighter, as if you have had an exfoliation upon consistent use.
Over months there should be a decrease in dark spots and a thickening of the skin, she adds. There may be fewer breakouts as well.
The Promotion Of Collagen Formation
Vitamin C acts as a co-factor for the proline and lysine hydroxylases that stabilise the collagen molecule tertiary structure, and it also promotes collagen gene expression . In the skin, collagen formation is carried out mostly by the fibroblasts in the dermis, resulting in the generation of the basement membrane and dermal collagen matrix . The dependence of the collagen hydroxylase enzymes on vitamin C has been demonstrated in a number of studies with fibroblast cells in vitro , with both decreased total synthesis and decreased crosslinking when vitamin C is absent . The activity of the hydroxylases is much more difficult to measure in vivo, as the amount of collagen synthesised may vary only a little . Rather, animal studies with the vitamin-C-deficient GULO mouse indicate that the stability of the synthesised collagen varies with vitamin C availability, reflecting the stabilising function of the collagen crosslinks formed by the hydroxylases . In addition to stabilising the collagen molecule by hydroxylation, vitamin C also stimulates collagen mRNA production by fibroblasts .
Structure of the dermis. Higher magnification of H& E-stained dermis, showing the irregular nature of the bundled collagen fibres and sparse presence of the fibroblasts . Vitamin C present in the fibroblasts supports the synthesis of the collagen fibres.
Don’t Miss: What Vitamins Are Good For Uric Acid