Vitamin C is an often overlooked but beloved skincare ingredient. But Vitamin C serums are popular for a reason: they really work if you do your research to find the right product formulation and stability. In fact, if you were to mention any common skin concern like aging, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, or dull skin tone, Vitamin C will be a go-to recommended ingredient. Because we get alot of questions about Vitamin C as an ingredient in skincare, Team Eunogo has put together a quick primer just for you.
First Of All, What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is, in short, an antioxidant. If you’re familiar with the concept of certain foods being high in antioxidants then you’ll also remember that antioxidants are useful in helping boost our immune system and regenerate healthy cells. Not only does Vitamin C help fight free-radicals that can prematurely age our skin, but some scientists also believe that by fighting these free-radicals, Vitamin C also helps avoid precancerous exposure of our skin cells. And that’s a good thing!
Besides being an antioxidant, it has also been shown to accelerate collagen and elastin formation in the skin due to its acidic properties, which is one of the fastest ways to fight premature aging. Last, but not least, Vitamin C has a chemical property that inhibits melanin production, meaning it is very effective for hyperpigmentation. It is especially a good ingredient to target existing hyperpigmentation, without affecting the surrounding skin color.
Why Is Vitamin C So Popular?
The short answer is: because it works! Several studies have now shown that not only does Vitamin C improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face, but if it is used over the course of 3 months it can also vastly improve overall skin texture and appearance. Another study strongly suggests that Vitamin C may also help protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays when used in combination with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Further, Vitamin C can reduce the appearance of dark spots by blocking the production of pigment in our skin. As mentioned above, it is quite effective in targeting hyperpigmentation. In clinical trials, the majority of the participants applying topical vitamin C had improvement in their dark spots with very little irritation or side effects.
Finally, more and more research of Vitamin C points to the fact that it can help with acne. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can help control sebum (oil) production within the skin, and more than one clinical study has now pointed to the conclusion that those who used Vitamin C versus a placebo had a significant improvement in their acne.
What To Keep In Mind:
First, Team Eunogo must point out that serums are more effective than creams or toners, because a serum helps keep the ingredient stable. Be sure to look for Vitamin C serums in dark bottles. Vitamin C is an unstable component and breaks down when it's exposed to light or air, so dark glass bottles help maintain its stability, and, therefore, efficacy. As a general rule, serums should be layered underneath your moisturizer during your skincare routine, so go ahead and use the serum followed by your favorite moisturizer to seal it in your skin barrier.
Second, be sure to look at the ingredients list to see the source of the Vitamin C. The best and most common is L-Ascorbic Acid, which has a strength of 10% to 20%, and a pH lower than 3.5, as this combination has been studied in clinical trials as being effective.
Third, (and also related to the first point) be sure to look at the other ingredients in the serum itself. Oftentimes, because Vitamin C is unstable, it should be paired with ingredients that help stabilize it, like Vitamin E.
Why Can’t I just Eat Vitamin C For Healthy Skin?
Vitamin C is important for your body and health, and you should definitely be eating enough in your diet. However, even if you are getting enough Vitamin C in your diet, there’s no way to guarantee it’s going straight to your skin. Using serums and other topical products is the most direct way to reap these benefits, especially when combined with Vitamin E for skin soothing properties.
Should I Try Vitamin C in My Skincare Routine?
Because Vitamin C has acidic properties, those who have sensitive skin should always do a test patch first to make sure they do not have a reaction. In fact, Team Eunogo strongly recommends a Vitamin C patch test no matter what your skin type, especially if you are brand new to using this ingredient. Additionally, as Vitamin C can be quite potent, it may be best to start out with a few drops and then work your way up to a larger amount.
You may experience a mild tingling sensation with the first use of Vitamin C, so you can choose to apply every other day at the beginning. If it is better tolerated, you may start applying it daily. Please do note that it may take up to three months of consistent use to see a noticeable improvement - many clinical trials were conducted over the course of 3 months where participants saw results.
Do not use Vitamin C if you are using Retinol-based products - before you do please consult your dermatologist.
What Does Team Eunogo Recommend?
We truly love the OxygenCeuticals Vitamin C Serum 12 as it ticks all our favorite boxes:
- 12% L-Ascorbic Acid
- Serum combined with Vitamin E for stability and soothing
- Powdered Vitamin C combines with Antioxidant C+E Serum to make a fresh bottle and to prevent any premature oxidation - you know exactly what date your serum was created because you make it yourself!
- Dark brown glass bottle to keep the freshly constituted serum shelf-stable
Don’t forget that Vitamin C does not replace the use of sunscreen, so make sure to wear a broad spectrum SPF during the day. As always, these two are our favorites:
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