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What Is Vitamin C Used For In Skin Care

The Physiology Of Vitamin C In Skin

Vitamin C and Exfoliation in Skin Care

Vitamin C is a simple low-molecular-weight carbohydrate that is essential for the body as a water-soluble vitamin . As an antioxidant, vitamin C has both oxidized and reduced forms in the body: L-dehydroascorbic and L-ascorbic acid. Although vitamin C is an important antioxidant, humans and other primates obtain vitamin C only from their diet, because they have no ability to synthesize it. With blood circulation to all tissues and organs, plasma ascorbate acid concentrations can reach up to 10160 mM after eating a vitamin C diet, and the superfluous vitamin can be excreted by the kidneys . However, there are large differences in the levels of vitamin C in various organs for example, the brain, liver, and skeletal muscle have the highest total content, and the content of testis and thyroid is low .

FIGURE 1. Vitamin C transporters and their transport mechanisms in skin.

Challenges To The Maintenance Of Skin Health And Potential Protection By Vitamin C

During the course of a normal lifetime, the skin is exposed to a number of challenges that can affect structure, function and appearance, including:

  • Deterioration due to normal aging, contributing to loss of elasticity and wrinkle formation.

  • Exposure to the elements, leading to discolouration, dryness and accelerated wrinkling.

  • Chemical insults including exposure to oxidising beauty and cleansing products .

  • Direct injury, as in wounding and burning.

Vitamin C may provide significant protection against these changes and regeneration of healthy skin following insult and injury is a goal for most of us. The following sections, and the summary in and , review the available evidence of a role for vitamin C in the maintenance of healthy skin and the prevention of damage.

Role Of Vitamin C In Skin Diseases

  • 1Department of Dermatology, First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, China
  • 2Bio-ID Center, School of Biomedical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China

Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining skin health and can promote the differentiation of keratinocytes and decrease melanin synthesis, leading to antioxidant protection against UV-induced photodamage. Normal skin needs high concentrations of vitamin C, which plays many roles in the skin, including the formation of the skin barrier and collagen in the dermis, the ability to counteract skin oxidation, and the modulation of cell signal pathways of cell growth and differentiation. However, vitamin C deficiency can cause or aggravate the occurrence and development of some skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and porphyria cutanea tarda . Levels of vitamin C in plasma are decreased in AD, and vitamin C deficiency may be one of the factors that contributes to the pathogenesis of PCT. On the other hand, high doses of vitamin C have significantly reduced cancer cell viability, as well as invasiveness, and induced apoptosis in human malignant melanoma. In this review, we will summarize the effects of vitamin C on four skin diseases and highlight the potential of vitamin C as a therapeutic strategy to treat these diseases, emphasizing the clinical application of vitamin C as an adjuvant for drugs or physical therapy in other skin diseases.

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Dos And Donts Of Vitamin C Products

Here are a few tips for things to look for and things to avoid when it comes to using vitamin C in your skincare!

pH Balance

  • DOlook for a vitamin C serum with a lower pH level, something around 3.5. This will help with better absorption as it will reach the deeper layers of your skin for max results.
  • DONTuse a lower pH serum if you have sensitive skin. Low pH = high acidity, which can irritate skin.
  • For a gentler formula, look for one that uses the magnesium ascorbyl derivative with a pH level of 5-6. Since this is closer to skins natural pH level, it will be more skin-friendly!


  • DONT mix vitamin C serums containing L-ascorbic acid withretinol or niacinamide .
  • Without getting into a complicated scientific explanation, the pH levels of these ingredients dont get along with those of vitamin C, and they end up canceling each other out and rendering each other ineffective. The reaction may also cause redness.

  • DOwait 30 minutes between applications of retinol or niacinamide and vitamin C serum to inhibit the two formulas from interacting with each other and to give your skins pH levels some time to normalize.
  • If you use a product that already contains a combination of these ingredients, dont worry. Its likely been formulated with a time release process that makes the ingredients active at different times so they dont affect each other.


    This is just one of those areas where its worth it to splurge a little to save your skin!

    Skin Sleuth: What Is Vitamin C And How Does It Work

    What Are Vitamin C

    Vitamin C, scientifically known as ascorbic acid, should be a staple in your skincare routine. The potent antioxidant has anti-aging benefits, protects your skin from free radicals and helps brighten your overall complexion. To find out just how vitamin C works and what to look for when incorporating the powerhouse ingredient into your skincare routine, we turned to Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC.

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    The Role Of Vitamin C In Skin

    Vitamin C is involved in the formation of the skin barrier and collagen in the dermis and plays a physiological role in the skin against skin oxidation, in antiaging of wrinkles, and in cell signal pathways of cell growth and differentiation, which are related to the occurrence and development of various skin diseases . Vitamin C has a dual role of antioxidation and pro-oxidation, and this role maintains the balance of the two reactions in the body . Ascorbic acid and transition metals, such as Fe2+, produce reactive oxygen species outside of the cell, and high levels of ROS can destroy the antioxidant defense system of cancer cells because the antioxidation system of tumor cells is incomplete and its balance is destroyed . High levels of Vitamin C in the cells lead to oxygen-promoting reactions, which cause DNA damage, the depletion of ATP reserves, and failure of cellular metabolism . Vitamin C is also involved in resistance to UV-induced oxidative stress, inhibition of melanogenesis, and promotion of the differentiation of keratinocytes and has been used for a long time as a clinical treatment reagent. Vitamin C deficiency leads to many systemic diseases in humans and causes scurvy in the worlds navies .

    Top 3 Vitamin C Skin Care Products

    Weve put together a GHS curated selection of our favorite skin care products that contain vitamin C for anti-aging, brightening, fading hyperpigmentation, calming redness, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. We only link to products that we absolutely believe in. All the products weve chosen are paraben-free, sulfate-free, and phthalate-free. Remember – results wont happen overnight. It will take 6-8 weeks of consistent topical use before you begin to see improvements, so stay consistent with your product usage.

    Use in AM & PMApply this serum to your face, neck, and chest post cleansing, exfoliating, toning, and any AHA or retinol serum.Price$$

    Use in AM & PMApply this serum to your face, neck, and chest post cleansing, exfoliating, toning, and any AHA or retinol serum.Price$$$

    Use in AM & PMApply this serum to your face, neck, and chest post cleansing, exfoliating, toning, and any AHA or retinol serum.Price$$$$

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    Side Effects Of Vitamin C

    Generally, vitamin C is safe for daily use. However, in high concentrations, it can be irritating, especially if mixed with other acids. Herrmann says those with extremely sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate it, and in which case, should avoid it. Many vitamin C products are also oily, which can be problematic for those with oily skin, so Herrmann recommends consulting your board-certified dermatologist to find a brand or product that is best suited for your skin type.

    Liz DeSousa for Byrdie

    What To Look For When Shopping For Vitamin C Skincare Products

    Timeless Skin Care Vitamin C serum vs Skinceuticals CE ferulic | Dr Dray

    Vitamin C is highly effective in its pure form, ascorbic acid, but is a tricky ingredient to formulate with because it is very unstable and can degrade with exposure to oxygen, light, water and high pH. That means that while it is a hero ingredient, its beneficial properties are difficult to stabilize. Here are the most important factors to look for when shopping for vitamin C skincare products:

    • A dark container to protect from light damage
    • An airtight container to prevent degradation from oxygen
    • A low pH to keep the ascorbic acid stable and help the vitamin C penetrate skin
    • Ingredients like vitamin E and ferulic acid that can improve stability of the formula and work synergistically for enhanced benefits

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    The Best Products With Vitamin C

    Herrmann agree that vitamin C’s performance is optimized when it’s working alongside other powerful antioxidants, and this oil-serum hybrid is loaded with them. Just be sure to shake it up before use separation is natural and this formula is 88 percent derived from pure, natural, Arctic ingredients.

    According to Herrmann, vitamin C works best in conjunction with complementing antioxidants, and this serum, one of her top product recommendations, is packed with a whopping 19 of them for increased free radical protection.

    A favorite product from Robinson’s skincare line, this formula uses 20% L-ascorbic acid combined with EGCG for ultimate protection. Robinson says this product also has three patents on the ability to encapsulate pure vitamin C so that it does not degrade or oxidize. Bonus: Unlike most vitamin C serums that have a sticky, oily texture, this serum is silky and fast-absorbing.

    “Companies often reduce vitamin C serum pH and add complementing antioxidants like vitamin E and ferulic, which help increase the efficacy, making such products superior,” Herrmann explains. For that reason, this vitamin C and E and ferulic acid serum is one of her favorites .

    Another product that contains the stable, lipid-based form of vitamin C, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, as well as two other forms of vitamin C this serum is one of our favorites for creating an even skin tone.

    Why Try A Facial Treatment

    To reap these benefits, youll generally want to apply vitamin C topically.

    Oral vitamin C supplements offer a number of health benefits, but with oral vitamin C, the ingredients bioavailability in your skin remains limited.

    Thats where a professional vitamin C facial really shines or rather, leaves you shining.

    A skin care specialist has training in providing the most effective applications, so a professional treatment helps you get the full benefit of this powerhouse ingredient.

    Its really a matter of the aesthetician working and massaging products that contain vitamin C and other antioxidants into the skin, notes Gold.

    These skin treatments are often performed by licensed skin care specialists in salons or spas.

    A facial usually involves the following steps:

    • deep cleansing, which may involve steaming to open the pores
    • exfoliation with a scrub or peel to remove dead skin
    • massage to stimulate pressure points and help move fluids to clear away toxins and reduce puffiness
    • product application, which typically begins with a concentrated treatment mask and then the specialty products, which are sealed with moisturizer and typically followed with sunscreen

    These elaborate skin care routines typically take at least 45 minutes, sometimes up to 90 minutes. Designed to be relaxing, indulgent, and therapeutic, facials can also help remedy:

    • acne
    • skin congestion

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    What Are The Different Types Of Vitamin C In Skincare

    There are six main types of vitamin C found in skincare products:

  • L-Ascorbic Acid A strong form of vitamin C that is considered vitamin C in its purest form.
  • Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate A water-soluble version of vitamin C thats great for sensitive skin .
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate Also water soluble, its great for boosting hydration and reducing oil in the skin.
  • Ascorbyl Palmitate A fat-soluble version of vitamin C, it helps even out skin tone and restores a look of youth.
  • Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate Also a fat-soluble version of vitamin C, its great for improving skin quality but those with sensitive skin might want to steer clear of it as it can cause irritation.
  • Ascorbic Glucosamine This water-soluble version of vitamin C, Ascorbic Glucosamine is essentially vitamin C combined with glucosamine.
  • How To Use A Vitamin C Serum And Reap Its Benefits

    The Vitamin C Skin Care Products That Will Bring Back Your ...

    Saedi says to apply a few drops of serum to your face after you wash and dry it. A little bit goes a really long way, she says. She recommends putting it on every morning, all year round. It has some benefits with sun exposure so it helps to apply in the morning as the first layer of protection, she says. She says to then layer on your moisturizer and sunscreen. Serums are better than adding drops of vitamin C boosters to your moisturizer, Saedi says. They may not be as potent as serums themselves and mixing them with moisturizer may dilute the effects.

    Store your bottle in a cool, dark place away from extreme heat, such as a bathroom cabinet as opposed to on your counter. Storing a vitamin C serum correctly is integral to its success, Schlessinger says. A good rule of thumb is to toss the serum six months after its been opened and to keep the serum in a cool, dark place. If youre using it according to the instructions, itll likely be gone before the six months is up. If not, youll want to throw it out. When vitamin C is used past its shelf life, it can actually have negative effects, Schlessinger says. More on that next.

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    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.

    Vitamin C Powder For Skin Care: Uses Diy Serum Recipe And More

    July 5, 2019 By Maya Khamala

    • Vitamin C offers a range of skin care benefits, from firmer skin to fewer wrinkles and dark spots caused by sun damage and aging.
    • The L-ascorbic acid found in many vItamin C serums is prone to breaking down when exposed to air, light and heat, and can also cause skin irritation at high concentrations.
    • Vitamin C in its powder form does not break down as easily, and can therefore be stored with more flexibility.
    • Vitamin C powder is also a popular choice as concentrations can be customized in DIY vitamin C serum recipes.

    While vitamin C serum has known skin care benefits, this powerful antioxidant is prone to oxidation it breaks down when exposed to air, light or heat.

    Although there are vitamin C derivatives available that are less prone to degrading, theyre not as powerful as pure vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid . Vitamin C powder however, has been presented as a viable solution.


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    When Is The Best Time To Apply Vitamin C

    A general rule of thumb for skin care is that products should be applied in order of viscosity this means that the more watery products should be applied first and rubbed in gradually until the thickest texture is obtained. As Isaacs says, “Vitamin C should be applied after cleansing, toner , and hyaluronic acid, but before your daily sunscreen of choice.”.

    What Are The Key Ingredients In Cerave Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum


    Before we get into the key ingredients in CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum, we have to point out one problem with this product formulation, and that is the high concentration of denatured alcohol. Unfortunately, denatured alcohol is the sixth highest concentration ingredient in this serum. The problem with this type of alcohol is that, at first, it seems like its benefitting the skin. Initially, alcohol gives products a quick-drying finish, immediately degreases the skin, and imparts a weightless feel. However, these effects are temporary and will disappear once you wash off the product.

    The major problem with using high concentrations of denatured alcohol is that this ingredient is well known to cause skin dryness, irritation, and even disruption of the skin barrier. In fact, alcohol can dry out the skin so much that the skin will produce more oil over time to compensate for the dryness. This can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. We will still discuss the key ingredients in CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum below, but keep in mind that the benefits of these ingredients may not outweigh the risks of this high amount of denatured alcohol.

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    How Vitamin C Supports Skin Care

    Vitamin Calso known as ascorbic acidis a water-soluble nutrient that plays an important role in keeping your skin healthy. Topical vitamin C is clinically proven to have a wide range of clinical applications thanks to its antioxidant, antiaging, antipigmentary properties. This potent nutrient offers many benefits for the skin, including the potential to:

    • Make collagen, used to keep skin youthful and plump
    • Heal wounds
    • Reduce the appearance of dark spots
    • Prevent premature aging


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