There’s a reason why everyone’s hooked on Vitamin C. Long touted as a legendary skin care ingredient, it’s capable of addressing a slew of complexion concerns—from hyperpigmentation and acne scars to dullness, roughness, and even fine lines. But what exactly makes vitamin C such a skin care powerhouse?
First things first: It’s an ultra powerful antioxidant. This means that it works to prevent “oxidation” or the damage caused by free radicals, a.k.a. unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to external aggressors (i.e. pollution and the sun). By doing so, Vitamin C helps keep your skin healthier by boosting natural repair and regeneration.
Even better: It also delivers multiple skin care benefits. Check them out!
Anti-aging. By neutralizing free radicals, it primarily protects skin from UV damage, which, as we all know, is the main cause of premature aging. With vitamin C, you can lessen and delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as dark spots and the loss of elasticity.
Skin cancer protection. UV exposure can cause precancerous changes in the skin, and Vitamin C helps inhibit those. FYI, though: Your sunblock should still be your first line of defense!
Plumping and firming effects. This skin saver improves skin repair by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, the natural proteins that are responsible for keeping skin taut and firm. Consequently, this also helps keep you young-looking by making skin less susceptible to wrinkles and sagging.
Brightening. Vitamin C contains properties that inhibit skin’s melanin production, resulting in the treatment of skin problems such as dark spots and an uneven skin tone. With regular use, it helps brighten the skin over time, giving you a more radiant complexion.
Clearly, adding a Vitamin C product to your routine can do your skin wonders—that is, unless you have very sensitive skin. Because of the vitamin's potency (it's still an acid, FYI), it can cause irritation or redness in those with sensitivities. So make sure you consult a derma first and start with the mildest formats so you don't shock your skin at the get-go.
While we can’t argue with the fact that the best way to get your vitamins is by consuming natural sources, such as citrus fruits and leafy greens, topical application—through your skin care products—has long been proven to be highly effective especially when used consistently and in tandem with a good skin care routine.
Most experts agree though that the best Vitamin C product to use is a serum. Known to be more potent than creams and toners, they offer a higher concentration of active ingredients while being lightweight and easy to apply. Look for the term ascorbic acid (or L-ascorbic acid) as it’s known to be the most stable form of Vitamin C in skin care.
Moreover, higher concentration Vitamin C products are obviously more effective than lower concentration products, but can cause stinging. It’s best to start with a low concentration, then gradually work your way up as your skin becomes more used to the ingredient. You may also encounter other forms of Vitamin C, such as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and methylsilanol ascorbate. The Ordinary offers a good selection of Vitamin C products to suit your needs. We've listed them here, from the most potent to the more gentle. Take your pick!
You can also try adding these other Vitamin C-infused products to level up your routine! Just remember: Vitamin C can make your skin a bit more sensitive to the sun, so don’t forget to slather on your sunscreen every day before heading out.
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