We all know vitamin C is good for us – eat your oranges! Vitamin C can also be applied topically to the skin. Pure vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, is gaining a lot of attention for its benefits to the skin. First, when used during the day it works with your sunblock to protect from damaging UV rays – vitamin C neutralizes free radicals and reactive oxygen species that aren’t completely blocked by a sunscreen. Second, it helps brighten the skin and lighten dark spots. Vitamin C may also help improve skin tone and the appearance of fine lines, as well as reduce skin laxity.
It couldn’t be easier to use. Apply Vitamin C after washing your face, neck and upper chest, and follow with a moisturizing sunblock in the daytime or a moisturizer if needed at night. Vitamin C can be used by a variety of skin types, including sensitive skin.
Several products are now on the market, which boast vitamin C. When looking for products, chose one that tells you the percentage of vitamin C included (most products range from 5-30%) – a product may state that it has vitamin C, but the amount could be miniscule. Chose a product with a stabilized L-ascorbic acid – the form of Vitamin C that can be effectively absorbed by the skin. Another tip: these can’t sit on your shelf for years – the vitamin C looses it’s activity. So, buy from a reputable source and use it every day.
Here are a few versions I like:
Skin Medica’s Vitamin C and E Complex. This serum contains 15% vitamin C: 10% L-ascorbic Acid (water-soluble) and 5% tetrahexyldexyl ascorbate (fat-soluble.) In addition, it also contains vitamin E, another potent anti-oxidant.
Revision makes two vitamin C lotions, a 15% and a 30% L-ascorbic acid. The company recommends to use the 15% concentration first for 4-6 weeks before increasing to the 30% concentration.
SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF. This serum contains a combination of 2% phloretin, 10% L-ascorbic acid, and 0.5% ferulic acid for broad-spectrum antioxidant performance. It is a light serum.
*Definition: Free radical. Free radicals are unstable molecules which, when in the skin, destroy the structure and accelerate premature aging– resulting in fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. They can be generated by exposure to UV, pollution and other damaging environmental elements.