Vitamin C. The wonder vitamin for both skin and whole body health. You may have heard it from your mother while growing up to take Vitamin C when you’re feeling sick. Or maybe you’ve been hearing about it recently in skincare circles. Either way this ingredient has been making its rounds and for good reason. But what exactly are the benefits of Vitamin C and how does it work? We’ve got the breakdown and everything you need to know about this potent active ingredient.
Let’s start with the basics. Vitamin C is an active antioxidant that can help our bodies defend against cellular aging by free-radicals. Simply put, free radicals are atoms with an incomplete shell of orbiting electrons. To make up for this incomplete state, these atoms look to bond with other atoms, like the atoms in our healthy skin cells, to complete their outer shell. These incomplete atoms are known as free-radicals and they can wreak havoc on our skin, known as oxidative stress. To combat these aggressive incomplete atoms, Vitamin C is able to donate electrons to help to neutralize free-radicals and their destructive behavior before oxidative stress can take its toll on your skin.
Vitamin C is a notoriously unstable ingredient to formulate with. It can quickly lose its potency when exposed to light and air, so it is imperative that it be formulated with care and consideration. L-Ascorbic Acid is the gold standard when it comes to brightening and antioxidant power and it’s most stable and effective when formulated in a powdered format. For liquid formulations, other derivatives of Vitamin C are better suited as they tend to be more stable. Derivatives like Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate and Ascorbyl Glucoside all boast different qualities and effects for the skin. No matter your skin type, whether you have skin of steel or skin that leans sensitive, there is a form of Vitamin C that can work for you.
Now let’s get into the good stuff. Moving beyond Vitamin C and all its alter-egos, what exactly does this vitamin do for our skin and how?
Protects Against Free Radicals
Like we said before, Vitamin C is an active antioxidant and so its job is to find and bind with free-radical compounds to neutralize them. This makes it the perfect ingredient to protect skin from the daily stress of our modern environment. For instance, when skin is exposed to the sun, free-radicals are produced by that trigger inflammation which can lead to premature aging and unwanted pigmentation like sun spots. With Vitamin C, those free-radicals are neutralized and your skin stays in a safe and happy state.
Boosts the Production of Collagen
Vitamin C has also been noted to be a powerful player in the game of collagen production. Studies have shown that it is a primary factor in stabilizing and creating collagen molecules and that makes it one of the most reliable anti-aging ingredients in controlled studies. As a compound, Vitamin C is essential for the biosynthesis of collagen and it has been proposed that it influences not only the amount of collagen molecules being synthesized, but also the quality of those collagen molecules. Meaning that Vitamin C can help encourage the growth and production of collagen and also can help that new collagen to be better and stronger.
Reduces Brown Spots
Last, but most certainly not least, Vitamin C has a great effect on decreasing pigmentation in the skin. Specifically, Vitamin C operates as a substance that interrupts the key steps of melanogenesis, aka the process in which skin cells create pigment. When melanogenesis in the cells is disturbed, by a blemish for example, the pigmentation process can result in undesirable spots often referred to as hyper or hypo-pigmentation. Vitamin C can help prevent these spots from occurring and also help with their healing.
With daily use Vitamin C can help keep skin healthy and defend against free-radicals like those produced by the sun, pollution, stress and more. This active ingredient can be applied both morning and night, but if you apply in the morning there are bonus points for pairing your Vitamin C products with sunscreen. The potent vitamin can add additional protection from the sun and free-radical formation during the day. By layering the two, you’re getting a powerful mix of antioxidants and SPF to defend against the sun’s harsh UVA and UVB rays.
Now that you’re fully equipped with an understanding of Vitamin C, go off and make the most of it! Vitamin C can be a great asset in a well-rounded skincare routine and your skin will reap the benefits when used correctly. A couple products that are easy to start can be found here, here and here. Each is loaded with Vitamin C to help give your skin the boost that it craves. Stay bright!