Not All Vitamin C Is Created Equal

Pigmentation, dull skin, and wrinkles are virtually unavoidable. The good news is, there is very strong data that vitamin C can improve the appearance of many of those skin situations. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is known and praised for its ability to brighten skin, lighten pigmentation, and protect against UV damage.

Did you know not all vitamin C products are created equal?

Let's get down to it.

In order for vitamin C to be truly effective in repairing signs of aging or give us other benefits, it must be able to penetrate and be absorbed by the body. Vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid. Many products claim to be vitamin C and have names such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl palmitate, which are beneficial but are not truly vitamin C.

When looking for a product you want to find a product with those ingredients including L-ascorbic acid.  


What should I look for in my vitamin C product?

Did you know vitamin C is actually a very difficult ingredient to formulate with. The best vitamin C products are usually housed in dark, airtight environments, though technological advancements have been made to better stabilize the antioxidant. To ensure you are using the best out there, here are a few things to keep in mind. 

Look for L-ascorbic acid on the ingredient list.

Forms: “Serums keep vitamin C the most stable and have the best delivery system,” Dr. Russak shares. “Creams are good for more sensitive skin because they tend to have more ingredients that decrease irritation.” Gel-based formulas, however, may be a bit too aggravating for most. “Gels have more alcohol-based content and are more irritating when combined with ascorbic acid,” she adds.

Packaging: Because vitamin C oxidizes on contact to the air and exposure to light can degrade its benefits, Schneider recommends formulations in airtight, dark or opaque glass jars or vials for longer term potency and stabilization.

Make sure the percentage is high enough! Between 10%-15% is great. 

Make sure the other ingredients are good as well. These ingredients will be penetrating the skin, so what you put on matters. 

What does Vitamin C help with?

Vitamin C serums are great products to add alongside your skincare routine. They help in:

  • Collagen production and maintenance
  • It's a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals in the skin
  • Vitamin C reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Skin care products containing vitamin C help brighten dull skin

When to Use Vitamin C

Unlike certain active ingredients that are only safe to use in the morning or at night, vitamin C can be incorporated into both morning and evening skincare routines. Here’s how to make it work for you:

  • A.M. Usage: Use it as a serum underneath moisturizer/SPF in the morning, daily.
  • P.M. Usage: When adding it to your evening routine, be mindful of other nighttime ingredients, such as bedtime favorite vitamin A, acids or peels. We reccommend using vitamin C without those. 


Best Candidates for Vitamin C

Everyone, male, female, 16 or 80. Just remember to not get overzealous if you have sensitive skin. As with any new ingredient or product, take your time introducing it into your routine.


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