What does vitamin C do for your skin? A little bit of everything! Here are some of the reasons vitamin C is a superstar ingredient for any age or skin type.
1). Powerful Antioxidant Protection
First thing’s first: vitamin C is considered one of the best antioxidants for protecting skin against the free radical damage that can lead to signs of aging. Free radicals are unstable molecules caused by things like smoking, alcohol, sun exposure, air pollutants and eating fried or processed foods. When free radicals are introduced to the body, they “steal” electrons from healthy cells, altering the membrane, DNA, and proteins through a process called oxidation.
Oxidation can lead to premature signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, an uneven tone and texture and loss of firmness. Vitamin C swoops in to neutralize free radicals by lending its own electrons to cells, stopping the whole electron-“stealing” process in its tracks. Over time, vitamin C even helps skin cells to become more resistant to the damaging effects of free radicals, improving the look and feel of skin as it protects it against future exposure.
Tip: Look for products that contain ascorbic acid, also known as L-ascorbic acid, widely considered the most stable and effective form of vitamin C for skin care. Nothing beats the high concentration of vitamin C you’ll find in a serum. Just remember that if you’ve never used a vitamin C formula before, you could experience temporary dryness and redness. It’s best to start out with a low concentration and work your way up as your skin grows more accustomed to the ingredient.
We recommend: Obagi Professional-C Serum 10%, Obagi Professional-C Serum 15% and Obagi Professional-C Serum 20%
Applying topical vitamin C is one of the best ways to give skin a healthy glow and diminish most types of hyperpigmentation. Dark spots are caused by an overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Sun exposure is the leading culprit for dark spots since it can speed up the skin’s melanin production. Vitamin C works to brighten skin and encourage a more even skin tone by inhibiting tyrosinase, the enzyme that leads to an overproduction of melanin.
Not only does vitamin C promote a brighter complexion, it also helps address inflammation, another leading cause of uneven tone and texture. Vitamin C helps calm skin redness and irritation from conditions like acne and rosacea. If you experience post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from blemishes, it will help fade marks faster by enhancing the skin’s natural healing processes.
Tip: Vitamin C and sunscreen are the perfect match! Sunscreen is the single best way to prevent signs of aging caused by sun exposure, including dark spots and an uneven tone. As your sunscreen protects your skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays, antioxidant vitamin C will work to boost its efficacy by strengthening skin against exposure to the sun and other environmental elements.
We recommend: Avene High Protection Complexion Correcting Shield SPF 50+
Healthy collagen and elastin are crucial for younger-looking skin. Collagen is the protein responsible for skin firmness, while elastin is attributed to giving skin its flexibility, or “bounce.” Vitamin C has proven vital to the formation of healthy collagen proteins since it supports the various processes these proteins need to form.
As we age, the natural levels of vitamin C in skin tend to decrease, but applying a topical product can help replenish our stores and give aging skin a major boost. Healthy collagen and elastin means firmer skin with a more even texture. It also means fewer fine lines and wrinkles and an overall plumper, more youthful look.
Tip: You can never have too many antioxidants! Combining vitamin C with other antioxidants like vitamin E or green tea extract can help you achieve even better results. In fact, vitamin C is known to help regenerate vitamin E, another potent antioxidant, even after the free radical oxidation process has occurred.
We recommend: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
Do you have a question about adding vitamin C to your skin care routine? Let us know in the comments below, or tell us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #LovelySkin!