Super ingredient or marketing gimmick? What is the truth about vitamin C and how using products that contain it can benefit your skin? Let’s look at the benefits you can expect from this potent antioxidant, the forms of Vitamin C and how they are different?
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a powerful ingredient, so brands worldwide use it to enhance the effectiveness of their products. Vitamin C is a superhero of an active, and that’s why it gets so much attention; there is no question about it. If formulated correctly, Vitamin C offers adequate protection against pollution, environmental damage and even sun damage.
How does Vitamin C benefit the skin?
- It makes sun damage, and pigmentation on the skins surface less visible.
- It brightens a dull complexion.
- It is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental damage.
- It increases the effectiveness of sunscreen and gives skin better protection from UV rays.
- It can reduce inflammation and skin irritation.
- It improves the skin’s natural healing process, so it can help reduce red blotches left after spots.
Types of Vitamin C.
There are various forms of vitamin C, but ascorbic acid (known as L-ascorbic acid) is the most popular as it has been most researched in terms of the beneficial effects it has on the skin. Therefore you will often find it in well-formulated products. In high concentration such as 15% or higher, the ascorbic acid works well to reduce more persistent skin problems, such as dark spots.
There are also other forms of vitamin C you can come across. When you read your product labels, you will also come across: sodium ascorbic phosphate, ascorbic palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and magnesium ascorbic phosphate. All of those are most stable (which means they stay active in the product as it sits on your shelf) and effective forms of vitamin C for the skin. You see antioxidants lose their effectiveness when they get in contact with oxygen and light. When choosing your vitamin C products, search for those that come packed in tubes, bottles with pumps and preferably in non-see-through packaging to keep the ingredient stable.
How to choose your vitamin C product?
Kim Chang, a medical aesthetician at Baylor College of Medicine,
suggests choosing a product that has a pH level at 3.5 but for more sensitive skin pH level of 5 or even 6 might be more suited. Look for the concentration level between 10 and 20 per cent. She believes that because vitamin C is highly unstable, it needs to be at the acidic level to absorb into the skin effectively. It is sporadic that vitamin C products can cause you to experience skin sensitivity. However, some of us may be sensitive to vitamin C due it its acidic pH level. It is very uncommon, but some people can’t tolerate it.