What does vitamin C do for your skin?
We know vitamin C is good for our skin – it’s in a myriad of skin care products – but why do we really need it? Our favorite fun fact: vitamin C aids collagen and elastin production, which plays a huge role in youthful skin!
The vitamin C that naturally occurs in your body can easily be reduced, whether it be by pollutants, such as UV light and free radicals, or by normal skin aging and lifestyle factors, so using a product topically can provide amazing benefits. Dr. Joel Schlessinger, board-certified dermatologist and founder and CEO of LovelySkin.com, says,
“I always tell my patients that your mom really was right! Vitamin C is essential and it does a world of good for your skin. From its huge antioxidant properties to the fact that it’s actually a 'stealth sunscreen' in a vitamin's clothing, vitamin C is so very important. In fact, it is so important to me that I put it in the LovelySkin LUXE line's toner, acne gel and nighttime gels. And I told my mom so she was happy!”
Still wondering why you need it in your regimen? We’ll tell you! What is vitamin C good for?
- Reducing Inflammation
- Diminishing fine lines and wrinkles
- Aiding in wound healing
- Providing natural, mild exfoliation
- Lightening skin (hello, dark spots!)
- Helping collagen and elastin synthesis
- Defending against free radicals
- Strengthening skin
If you’re ready to run off to the nearest skin care destination to get your hands on some vitamin C, you’re headed in the right direction! This ingredient should be in every skin care routine. However, one thing to be mindful of: you’re not going to see “vitamin C” on the label. Products with vitamin C range from serums to scrubs, and this means that the chemical makeup can differ from time to time. Keep an eye on the different names for vitamin C, and you’ll be a skin care guru before you know it.
One of the most common types of vitamin C you’ll see is ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid. What is ascorbic acid? It’s the purest and most potent type of vitamin C. This version is typically found in serums, which are liquid-based, but it’s not limited to serum! Check out our L-ascorbic acid faves:
LovelySkin LUXE Exfoliating Gel Mild 11%: Renew your complexion with this exfoliating gel that uses acidified amino acids (AFAs), Dead Sea minerals and L-ascorbic acid to gently and effectively slough away dull, dead skin and reveal a more radiant complexion. This unique exfoliator also works to help reduce fine lines, large pores and improve skin’s moisture barrier while vitamin C supports healthy collagen production! (Use nightly as an exfoliating mask to refine and soften skin!)
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Antioxidant Serum: Protect skin against oxidative stress, neutralize free radicals and replenish skin’s lipids with this LovelySkin best seller! This specialized, 15% vitamin C formula can’t be washed or rinsed off, so you can reap the benefits of this amazing serum for a minimum of 72 hours. (Don’t forget to apply once daily for maximum benefits!)
VivierSkin C E Peptides: This advanced serum neutralizes free radicals, improves fine lines and evens out skin tone and texture. Let’s repeat that: it’s everything in a bottle! In addition to protecting skin with vitamins C and E, you’ll also receive a boost of peptides, which reinforce existing collagen and elastin to prevent further aging. Plus, it’s safe enough to use on post-procedure skin. (Achieve silky smooth skin by applying once or twice daily!)
Obagi Professional-C Serum 20%: Another LovelySkin best seller, this serum comes in three levels: 10%, 15%, and 20%. This power-packed, concentrated serum promotes collagen production, neutralizes free radicals, and evens out skin tone and texture. Not only is it ideal for all skin types, but it also absorbs quickly to provide maximum benefits while helping your skin retain its moisture. (Use daily in the morning, and don’t skip the sunscreen!)
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (TA) sounds kind of intimidating, but it’s just another type of vitamin C. This synthesized version of ascorbic acid is often found in products that “do it all,” meaning it pairs well with other ingredients to deliver multiple benefits. Check out our TA favorite:
Revision Vitamin C 30% Lotion: This brightening lotion protects against free radicals while deeply hydrating skin with squalene. In addition to hydrating, this powerful lotion also minimizes fine lines and wrinkles, protects skin with antioxidants and fades dark spots. (Try the Vitamin C 15% lotion first if you’re new to vitamin C!)
Steady and Stable
Ascorbyl Glucoside (AG) is a form of ascorbic acid that is combined with glucose. When absorbed into the skin, it breaks down into pure ascorbic acid. Because the vitamin C is encapsulated in the glucose, you’ll notice that it lasts twice as long. This type of vitamin C is great for those who are worried about shelf-life. Check out our favorite Ascorbyl Glucoside serum:
iS Clinical GeneXC Serum: We’ve said it all, but we haven’t said this: time-released vitamin C. This revolutionary serum protects and repairs skin while providing all the amazing benefits we love about vitamin C. In addition, it also contains a proprietary technology that repairs skin’s DNA to improve the skin barrier function, diminish fine lines and wrinkles and brighten skin. (Safe for use on the neck, too!)
Vitamin C Serums: Shelf Life
Since we’re talking about vitamin C, we can’t skip the talk about shelf life. When a vitamin C serum is exposed to air, it immediately begins to oxidize, or react with oxygen. Think of it like this: every time you open your serum’s bottle, you’re giving it a chance to do what it’s supposed to: neutralize free radicals. This is why you see the best vitamin C serums in a dark bottle and why you’ll notice the color starts to change a little bit after a few weeks of use.
However, you shouldn’t let vitamin C’s shelf life scare you off–it works wonders for the skin! How long a serum lasts is determined by how it’s manufactured. On some, but not all, products, you’ll see a “period after opening” symbol on the back of your bottle that looks like a jar with an open lid. This symbol should say how long the product will last after it is opened.
If you’re new to vitamin C serums, try to remember that they’re typically good for about 6 months. Writing down when you cracked the seal is a great way to safely keep track of that—try writing on the back of your bottle or in your planner. Also, it’s best to store your serum in a cool, dark place. If you’re using your serum as directed, you shouldn’t have any problems, but it’s a good practice to take on if vitamin C is a new addition to your regimen.
If you’re worried about whether or not to add vitamin C to your regimen because of how long it lasts, don’t! Your dermatologist is your best resource. They have a wealth of product knowledge and can help you find the most effective products that will cater to your skin concerns.
Want to learn more about vitamin c benefits? Check out our blog on the best vitamin c serums!