The ABC’s of Skincare: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerhouse nutrient. It is rich in antioxidants that protect your skin from the effects of free radicals, harmful UV exposure and environmental aggressors like pollution, which prematurely age your skin by damaging healthy skin cells, compromising collagen production, disrupting cellular repair processes and causing oxidative stress that simultaneously trigger skin irritation, inflammation and skin sensitivity.
There are two primary uses that vitamin C is celebrated for beyond its venerable levels of shielding antioxidants: 1. Evening and brightening skin tone, and 2: Increasing the production of Collagen and Elastin.
Vitamin C inhibits abnormal melanin production and is therefore an invaluable asset when it comes to dealing with, preventing and decreasing the appearance of hyperpigmentation, sun spots, acne scars and melasma while brightening your complexion and evening skin tone for a consistent, healthy glow.
Reverse the effects of aging
Aging and the exposure to free radicals and oxidative stress decreases collagen levels in our skin, making us prone to sagging, fine lines and wrinkles. While the antioxidants in vitamin C protect the collagen we haven’t lost yet, it also stimulates collagen and elastin production to strengthen and fortify the proteins in our dermis layer that give structure and plumpness to our skin and appearance. In addition to its remarkable firming qualities, it also evens skin texture and is an esthetician’s go-to for targeting and eliminating rough skin.
C the results
Depending on the quality and potency of your vitamin C product, it’s estimated that it takes about 2 to 4 weeks of regular usage to see its skin brightening benefits and roughly 3 months of regular usage to see its collagen producing effects, so be patient with results and consistent with application. There are exceptions, of course, one being LivOn’s Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C, which has been clinically shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in only 4 weeks. Scientifically proven to raise vitamin C plasma levels 2 times the amount previously thought possible, this product is an amazing way to introduce vitamin C to your skincare routine if you’re looking for fast results!
Pure vs. Derivative
It's widely known that vitamin C can be a difficult compound to wrestle with, which is why scientists, chemists and skincare developers regularly refer to vitamin C as “unstable,” alluding to its sensitivity to pH, oxidation and aqueous solutions. While it’s very accessible to find topical vitamin C in its pure form, otherwise called L-Ascorbic acid, it’s incredibly common to find products that utilize more stable and dependable derivatives of vitamin C that are guaranteed to remain active and absorbable. While derivatives are not direct forms of vitamin C, they are converted to Ascorbic acid once absorbed by the skin. Some of these derivatives are sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.
All of these derivatives behave with some variation (for example, some are oil-soluble, some are water-soluble, some are known to more effectively stimulate collagen production, some are known to show better results where evening skin tone is concerned), so it’s not uncommon that a well formulated product will contain a number of these vitamin C derivatives to ensure potency and effectiveness. Some products will even enhance pure vitamin C with a derivative to improve targeted efficacy.
Skin Design London’s C Antioxidant Glow, for example, has both pure vitamin C derived from the Kakadu plum, a fruit containing 50 times more vitamin C than an orange, supported by Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, or, SAP, a derivative of vitamin C known to for its soothing and moisturizing quality. It is reinforced with fennel derived Ferulic acid, which aids in stabilizing the pure form of vitamin C present in this product. Some skincare developers even sell pure vitamin C, or, pure L-Ascorbic acid, in powder form to keep it from destabilizing and deactivating. Take The Nue Co’s Topical C, for example, a pure Vitamin C powder made to dissolve in water for immediate application, which guarantees freshness and effectiveness.
Beautycounter’s Counter + All Bright C Serum contains two varieties of vitamin C derivatives (Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate and Bis-Glycery Ascorbate) that are rich in antioxidants and target the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, evening skin tone, moisturizing and firming.
Because of the pH necessary to make pure vitamin C stable, which is at times too acidic for the pH of our skin, it can often be irritating to certain skin types and skin conditions. This is a great reason to experiment with vitamin C derivatives, which are able to remain active and stable at pH levels appropriate for our skin.
At Shen we know the value of protecting our skin from environmental aggressors with healthy, nourishing ingredients, and even better to do so while evening, brightening, nurturing and firming our complexion. Here are some trusted vitamin C products we know and love:
Joaquina Botanica Orquidea +. Vitamin C Hydrating Glow Oil: This luscious blend of botanicals leaves skin hydrated, plump, and luminous. Orchid, Cacay, and Bakuchiol help maintain youthful bounce and elasticity, while Vitamin C brightens dull complexions. Nourishing superfruits - Camu Camu, Maracuja, Papaya, and Sacha Inchi - deliver essential nutrients for a healthy, dewy glow. Apply 6-8 drops to face and neck, morning and night. This lightweight oil instantly sinks in, leaving a velvety finish. Scent is naturally sweet and buttery. Fragrance & Essential Oil Free.
Environ Intense C Boost Mela-Even Cream: Intense C-Boost Mela-Even Cream is a special oil soluble vitamin C infused cream which helps to reclaim the appearance of a younger, more healthy-looking luminous skin that has an even radiant glow.