Vitamin C for Skin: The Ultimate Guide
Vitamin C has numerous positive effects on your health. It has potent amounts of antioxidants which help decrease your risks of certain chronic diseases. While drinking freshly squeezed orange juice is one of the ways to boost your vitamin C intake, you can also maximize its benefits by applying topical vitamin C.
Vitamin C benefits for the skin include protecting against and reversing environmental damage. It helps address common concerns such as dark spots, acne scars, dull skin, and uneven skin tone.
As with any skincare product, knowing what makes it effective is essential. Since vitamin C is one of the most in-demand ingredients in skincare, you can easily overlook what it does. By learning more about skincare ingredients, you'll be able to shop smarter as you'll know what to look for when targeting certain skin concerns.
In this guide, you'll learn everything about vitamin C for the skin. Read on below to know more.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient with powerful antioxidant properties. According to the National Institute of Health, it's a vital component in your body's collagen production. It helps with keeping the skin firm and healing wounds.
Usually, you take vitamin C by eating fruits and veggies like tomatoes, broccoli, oranges, and peppers. While this is great for your overall health, it isn't the best way to reap skin-specific benefits. In addition to eating a balanced diet, you should also apply topical vitamin C in the form of skincare products such as serums, creams, and masks.
The Top Skin Benefits of Vitamin C
Here are the multiple skin benefits you can get from applying vitamin C products.
1. Brightens and evens out skin tone
Vitamin C inhibits melanin production by slowing down the generation of the melanin enzyme tyrosinase. This process improves hyperpigmentation and evens out your skin tone over time. When your melanin production is rampant, your skin can have dark spots in different areas. Melasma, sun spots, acne marks, and age spots are all considered forms of hyperpigmentation.
Researchers found that vitamin C's antioxidant properties play a huge role in lightening dark spots. They also concluded that it's a safe anti-pigmenting compound to dark spots caused by sun damage. By addressing hyperpigmentation, vitamin C leaves your skin with a healthier, brighter, and youthful-looking glow.
2. Exfoliates the skin and eliminates dullness
Since vitamin C is an acid, it can help exfoliate dead skin cells and allow new cells to surface sooner. It enhances skin cell regeneration and leaves your skin softer, smoother, and brighter. Together with its melanin inhibiting properties, vitamin C can also have anti-aging benefits by minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
3. Protects against sun damage
Vitamin C serums or products cannot substitute sunscreen because they don't absorb UVA or UVB rays, which means they can't provide SPF. However, what vitamin C can do is revitalize your sun-damaged skin (rosacea, flakiness, rough areas, sunspots).
Research showed that topical vitamin C treatment could improve the skin appearance of people with mild to moderately photodamaged skin when used for at least three months. Results found that their skin tone, fine lines, and roughness improved. By applying topical vitamin C, your sunburn may heal and rejuvenate faster. As mentioned earlier, it assists with cell turnover, including calming down sunburn.
4. Reduces under-eye circles
Having dark circles under your eyes means there's a network of blood vessels under that area. Vitamin C smoothens the under-eyes, keeps it hydrated, and plumps the skin, resulting in less dark, dull, and sunken skin.
One study found that the antioxidant properties of vitamin C help strengthen the delicate skin of your under-eyes and conceal the blood vessels underneath, preventing the appearance of dark circles.
5. Minimizes skin redness
Red and blotchy skin is caused by multiple factors such as hormones, inflammatory skin conditions (e.g., eczema, acne, rosacea, and psoriasis), and sun exposure. Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that repair the damaged capillaries that cause skin redness. During this process, you get a smoother and more even complexion.
If you want to get the most out of topical vitamin C, serums are the best way to start. Learn more here: The Key to Brighter Skin: N Benefits of Vitamin C Serum.
What to Consider Before Using Vitamin C on Your Skin
Vitamin C is a generally safe and tolerable ingredient. It's very unlikely for irritation to occur. However, in very high concentrations, it may rile up extremely sensitive skin. If you have this skin type, it's best to seek advice from a dermatologist first.
If you don't have extremely sensitive skin, you should be safe, but do a patch test before you apply vitamin C to your skin fully. By doing this, you can determine your skin's reaction to the product in case you're allergic to it.
You should be extra cautious of applying vitamin C if you have medical conditions like cancer or chronic kidney disease. It's also not advisable for infants and children to use vitamin C skincare products unless advised by a medical professional. Check with your doctor first and ask if it's safe for you to apply vitamin C products.
How to Build the Perfect Skincare Routine with Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a wonder skincare ingredient that belongs to one of the most potent topical antioxidants. With its numerous benefits, from brightening to skin firming, it isn't surprising that vitamin C is a must-have on your skincare strategy. Use this powerhouse ingredient the right way by following these tips.
1. Pick a dedicated serum
Serums are the best topical vitamin C products because they deliver high concentrations of active ingredients that specifically and effectively target dullness and dark spots. Garnier's Bright Complete Vitamin C Booster Serum holds the power of 30x vitamin C, allowing your skin to fade dark spots and reduce dullness.
Once you've chosen your dedicated serum, Check Out this helpful Infographic on How to Properly Apply Vitamin C: How to Use Vitamin C Serum: A Guide for Skincare Junkies
2. Don't pair it with potent ingredients
Since vitamin C is already a potent ingredient, adding more concentrates to the mix of your skincare routine can set your skin into overdrive. When using vitamin C, steer clear of retinol. This combination can be too much for your skin and cause irritation, peeling, and redness. If you'd still like to use retinol, you can use it at night while only using vitamin C serums in the morning.
Another ingredient you should skip is benzoyl peroxide. When combined with vitamin C, there isn't much of a topical reaction, but benzoyl peroxide can lessen the efficacy of vitamin C.
3. Use it before moisturizer
The order of your skincare routine should be from "thinnest" in consistency to "thickest." Hence, after washing your face with a cleanser and applying toner, you should use the vitamin C serum. Lather it on your face, neckline, and on the top of your hands. Then, once your serum is absorbed by your skin, seal it in by applying moisturizer.
4. Use SPF
Vitamin C provides some sun protection, but it can never replace sunscreen. By using both, you double your defense against harsh UV rays. Plus, sunscreen can prevent vitamin C from oxidizing and becoming less effective. When oxidation happens, your skin can form blackheads and cause more skin issues.
Some sunscreens, like Garnier's UV Matte Brightening Sunscreen, also come with vitamin C. With this added to your routine, as the last step after moisturizing, you can still reap the benefits of vitamin C while getting SPF.
5. Apply it twice a day
Vitamin C serums can be typically applied once or twice a day. However, applying it twice daily can help you reap the most of its benefits. Vitamin C is beneficial in the morning as it can protect you from free radicals, pollution, and ultraviolet light exposure during the day. While sleeping, since your skin undergoes its natural repair process, vitamin C can support this by reducing dark spots that have been caused by UV exposure.
Vitamin C FAQs
Still hesitant in using vitamin C? Ease your concerns by reading the answers to frequently asked questions.
1. How often should I use vitamin C?
You can use vitamin C serums daily, with a few drops in the morning and night. As early as 18-years old, you can start using them every day until you're old and gray. Vitamin C is one of the holy grails for brighter, healthier skin—so it has no reason to leave your regimen.
2. How do I know if it's working?
When vitamin C oxidizes, it loses its efficacy. You'll usually know if the serum has oxidized when it changes color, from a clear or pale yellow to an orange-brown one. The drastic color change means it's time to toss it out because the serum has gone bad. There aren't a lot of studies saying that oxidized vitamin C is dangerous, but it's less effective.
3. How can I stop vitamin C from oxidizing?
Oxidation occurs when vitamin C gets in contact with air, light, or heat, losing its potency and efficacy. Once the oxidation starts, there's no way of stopping it. However, there are ways for you to prevent it from happening.
Check the period-after-opening (PAO) symbol on the product and make sure you use the serum by then. Opt for serums that come in amber, opaque, or dark bottles and airtight pumps, bottles, or tubes, as these kinds of packaging ensure that air or light don’t unnecessarily reach the serum and cause it to oxidize. However, if your vitamin C product comes in a stable formulation, like Garnier’s Vitamin C Serum, having it in a clear bottle won’t affect its efficacy.
4. Can vitamin C help reduce acne?
It can't reduce acne, but its antioxidant properties can help with the other aspects of acne-prone skin, such as lessening irritation and redness. Vitamin C can also help brighten hyperpigmentation when your acne dies down.
5. What's the difference between oral and topical Vitamin C?
If you want vitamin C skin-specific benefits, you should opt for topical rather than incorporating it into your diet. Orally taking vitamin C doesn't have the same effect as topical products. Only a small portion goes to your skin when you eat or drink it. By directly applying vitamin C, you reap the benefits much faster and more effectively.
Vitamin C: A Powerhouse Ingredient
It's no surprise that the beauty industry loves vitamin C. With its brightening and tightening properties, who wouldn't want to recommend this ingredient to everyone? It's safe to use by all skin types and offers multiple skin benefits.
By following a consistent skincare routine that incorporates vitamin C, you won't have to experience dull skin again. Enjoy bright and glowing skin by checking out the Garnier shop. Here, you can discover a wide range of skincare products that address every skin concern, from dark spots and pigmentation, to acne and dryness.