All of the Benefits of Using Vitamin C in Your Skincare Routine
| 01 October 2021
Due to its strong antioxidant properties, vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) in cosmetology is considered a vitamin of youth. L-ascorbic acid is not produced by the human body and should be consumed with food. The largest amounts of vitamin C are found in plant foods such as acerola, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, chili peppers, pineapple, kiwi, black currant, rose hips, etc.
Despite the fact that we consume a large amount of vitamin C with food, the increase in the content of this vitamin in the skin occurs rather slowly. Moreover, this amount is reduced by the influence of free radicals in the environment. To counteract this process, L-ascorbic acid should be applied topically, preferably as a skincare product.
Vitamin C is one of the substances that are most often added to the composition of cosmetics due to its beneficial properties:
- seals the blood vessels – affects the synthesis of collagen types I and III. Collagen I and III are the main components of the dermis and the substance that seals the plates of the blood vessels;
- possesses anti-inflammatory properties – they arise due to a decrease in the activity of the transcriptional nuclear factor NFk-B, which is responsible for the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, in particular interleukin 10 (IL-10). Interleukin 10 (IL-10), as one of many pro-inflammatory cytokines, is responsible for maintaining local inflammation, which makes the skin take longer to heal;
- has a whitening effect – it has the ability to inhibit the tyrosinase enzyme, which is involved in the formation of melanin, the skin pigment. This weakens the formation of the dye and reduces the already existing amount of it, which leads to a lightening of the skin, and prolonged use evens out its color;
- improves protection against UV rays – reduces erythema caused by UV rays, making it an ideal complement to solar filters.
Vitamin C increases the amount of collagen in skin cells
It is thanks to collagen that we look younger and our skin appears radiant. This form of protein takes care of elasticity, keeps the body firm, without stretch marks and wrinkles, and is also responsible for an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Unfortunately, over the years our body loses it, and the skin is more and more exposed to the effects of aging. By old age, the amount of collagen in the body decreases by almost 5 times.
Thus, it is worth moving on to the topic of fibroblasts. It is the most abundant cell that produces collagen. Thanks to the use of vitamin C, for both young and mature skin, more collagen is produced, which, in turn, activates fibroblasts. This cycle has a positive effect on the appearance of the skin, smoothing out wrinkles, stretch marks and even saving you from sagging. External use of vitamin C will satisfactorily affect your appearance, and internal use will reinforce the obtained results.
How does vitamin C work?
Vitamin C, also known chemically as L-ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant. This means that its function is to neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that damage not only our skin cells but all cells. (Free radicals are known to cause cancer, diabetes, eye diseases, and various other life-threatening conditions.)
Free radicals are inherently unstable because they lack an electron, and all electrons must be paired to function properly. This unpaired electron causes the unstable molecule to attack the stable molecule and steal the electron, making the stable molecule unstable. Thus, this electron stealing behavior creates a chain reaction of unstable molecules, carrying away the stable ones.
It is important to neutralize these free radicals as quickly as possible before they trigger a massive chain reaction of damaging cells. This is where antioxidants (or rather, vitamin C) come to the rescue. Vitamin C counteracts free radicals by supplying them with the missing electron, which successfully neutralizes these destructive molecules.
Vitamin C is the main brightening ingredient in skincare. This means it has the ability to lighten hyperpigmentation, dullness, reduce dark spots and fill in fine lines and wrinkles – all contributing to a plump, youthful look.
How to use products with vitamin C
The best way to use a vitamin C cream is to simply apply a small amount once or twice a day, depending on your skin type. It should be applied before makeup but after your daily cleanser and toner. After that, wait for it to dry and continue with your makeup and grooming.
Note: Vitamin C is all-natural, so you shouldn’t have any worries about how your skin will react to it. Serums and creams are made for daily use and are free of harsh chemicals or other questionable ingredients. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many other skincare products on the market. Always read the composition of the product before applying it. This is very important not only for your skin but also for your overall health. Your body internally absorbs whatever you put on it from the outside.
Vitamin C reduces skin discoloration and circles under the eyes
Tired of using concealer? There is a solution! Numerous studies have shown that vitamin C intake (in cosmetics and food) reduces dark circles and evens out skin tone. This not only adds self-confidence but also helps you look younger. What about skin problems like redness or breakouts? Vitamin C will help here too! You are guaranteed a smoother skin tone, and the very intake of the solar vitamin into the body can help get rid of small rashes associated with a lack of nutrients.
In addition to improving the overall appearance of your skin, vitamin C will help it stay firm, fair, and vibrant. And this kind of skin is the key to a youthful appearance.
Vitamin C protects the skin from sun damage
Is it enough to eat foods with vitamin C to protect yourself from external damage? As we already wrote in this article, no. But applying this vitamin to the skin with creams and serums protects it from damage caused by the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. With the help of vitamin C, free radicals that are already present in our skin are neutralized, and also reduces the appearance of new ones after long walks under the sun.
What does it give you? The firmness and elasticity of the skin are noticeably increased, which means that hanging formations such as wrinkles, age spots or other damage will be reduced. Ideally, vitamin C creams and serums should be used in combination with sunscreens. First, apply the product with this wonderful vitamin, and then the cream with the SPF that suits you. This will help you stay young, fresh, and hydrated at all times. Any redness and dryness are not a problem for those who take care of their skin, especially in hot seasons.
Vitamin C reduces swelling and inflammation
The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin C have been noticed when using creams and serums with its high concentration. These remedies are best suited for those who are prone to severe swelling in the morning. Ideally, store the vitamin C serum in the refrigerator, the cooling effect of the product will be great on your face and will help reduce puffiness.
How should I take vitamin C? Which combinations of L-ascorbic acid are beneficial and which are best to avoid?
Cosmetics with a low concentration of vitamin C can be used both in the morning and in the evening.
Higher concentrations should only be used in the evening, as they may irritate the skin. During treatment with vitamin C, one should not forget about the use of sunscreens, as the higher dose of vitamin C makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight.
In the formulas of cosmetics, it is desirable to combine vitamin C with resveratrol (polyphenol, refers to flavonoids), which prevents the oxidation of L-ascorbic acid. In addition, their combined antioxidant effects are much more effective than individual use. The combination of vitamin C and rutin (a plant-based flavonoid) also has a beneficial effect. This flavonoid also has antioxidant properties that are beneficial in fighting free radicals that damage the walls of blood vessels, accelerating the aging process of the skin. Rutin also slows down the oxidation of vitamin C, prolonging its action.
The combination of vitamin C with niacinamide (vitamin B3) is controversial and discouraged due to the change in pH at which these compounds work most effectively. There is also a risk that these two substances can neutralize each other, and also, due to the formation of a complex between vitamin B3 and C, lead to the formation of harmful hydrogen peroxide. These caveats apply only to the pure, unstable form of vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid, and not its derivatives, which are more stable at high pH values. In addition, the combination of niacinamide and vitamin C results in the formation of niacin, although this is only a problem if these compounds interact in a very high-temperature environment for a long time.
However, manufacturers avoid this combination, as nicotinic acid can cause skin redness, hot flashes, and tingling on the part of the face where the drug was applied, it is not recommended primarily for sensitive and delicate skin. These symptoms should not be confused with irritation due to the acidic reaction of cosmetics. The formation of nicotinic acid at home is negligible, but in order to minimize the risk of this combination, the product should be stored at low temperatures, or cosmetics with these vitamins should be applied one after the other. It should also be added that pure unstable vitamin C is rarely used in cosmetics since the liposomal form has taken its place.
When you start using vitamin C products for your skin, let your body get used to them. Any treatment takes time and getting used to new skincare too. Sometimes the improvements are noticeable after a week of using new products, and sometimes you need to wait several months. But in this case, patience will be your best ally, and the results will be pleasing.
In general, vitamin C, due to its beneficial properties, is extremely popular among substances that are added to cosmetic products. The most effective derivative of vitamin C from the substances described above is ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate – despite its higher price, it has many advantages that distinguish it from other derivatives (for example, high stability, antibacterial properties, as well as more effective penetration into the deep layers of the skin)… However, given the existence of different forms of vitamin C, each user will find the most suitable form for themselves.