Vitamin C has been one of the most talked about and research backed ingredients used in skincare for the last few decades. Why so many forms and what's the big deal?
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and essential nutrient required for growth and repair of our cells but our bodies cannot produce it on its own. It is found in many fruits and vegetables and often synthetically produced by pharmaceutical companies.
Vitamin C applied topically can protect against environmental stressors such as UV light and pollution which create free radicals that attack our skin cells, damaging the dermis. The impact includes premature aging, skin dullness, dehydration and even cancer. Vitamin C acts like a shield whereas the free radicals bounce off your skin.
Vitamin C also plays a role in the synthesis of collagen. Collagen gives our skin support and structure which minimizes with age and this is when we start to notice visible signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
Additionally, Vitamin C is known for lightening brown spots and hyperpigmentation, blocking the pathway of pigments to the surface of the skin.
Types of Vitamin C Found in Skincare:
Naturally speaking, beautiful oils including Rosehip, Seabuckthorn, Hemp Seed, Kakadu and Blackberry are very high in Vitamin C and penetrate damp skin with ease. Other examples include Acerola Cherry, found in our Brightening Essence and Purslane, an integral component within our Phyto-Lumen Complex - both have high amounts of Vitamin C and are a fantastic supplement and addition to your skincare routine.
Ascorbic acid, AKA L-ascorbic acid—this is the purest form and has the most skin-related research of any form of Vitamin C. When properly formulated, it helps create younger-looking, firmer-feeling skin while fading signs of uneven skin tone and spots. Ascorbic acid is also the most unstable which means it weakens greatly when exposed to light, air and water. Always look for skincare packaging that is dark and UV resistant to protect it's valuable contents. When we formulate with this type of Vitamin C, we do so in the darkest environment possible to help maintain effectiveness in it's journey to our UV resistant packaging. You can find this type of Vitamin C in our Booster and Detox mask in the pure powder form.
One of the most beneficial, stable and less irritating forms of Vitamin C is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate which is fat soluble allowing for better penetration into the skin. This means that it can be incorporated into an oil based product or even a cream while maintaining a high amount of it's efficacy.
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) is a form of Vitamin C that is considered stable and an effective antioxidant for skin. It is less irritating than Ascorbic Acid and since it has the same ph as Niacinamide, they can both be combined without causing sensitivities. A quick note about Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) while we're on the subject - it's another great ingredient effective at reducing inflammation, which may help ease redness from eczema, acne, and other inflammatory skin conditions. It's also known for minimizing pore appearance and keeping skin smooth and moisturized.
How and When to Use Vitamin C in Your Skincare Regimen:
Small amounts of Vitamin C in your morning routine can act as an overall skin brightener and toner while it's antioxidant properties help to protect from the environment.
High doses of Vitamin C (10% or greater) are effective at helping to even out skin tone and creating a brighter appearance. If you have stubborn spots, Vitamin C Boosters (~25% concentration) are an excellent antidote when used two - three times weekly as part of your AM routine. Again, Vitamin C is an excellent AM step that when combined with Daily Mineral Sunscreen can help amplify the power and benefit of your UV protection.
Vitamin C is acidic in nature and can be irritating when combined with other acidic ingredients such as lactic or glycolic acid. Save your AHA & BHA's for your PM routine to isolate these brighteners to different times of the day, perhaps even different days of the week, depending on how your skin reacts.
Thanks for reading - we'd love to hear your thoughts or questions on the subject.
Drink water, rest and feed your skin.