Vitamin C is the Ultimate Multitasker
If there was one ingredient that I would tell my clients to splurge on in their skincare routine it would be Vitamin C. Many of you have heard time and time again about the importance of consuming Vitamin C to boost your health and to use it topically in order to improve the quality of your skin. Do you ever catch yourself wondering if it’s actually worth it to invest in all of these things that we “should be using? As an Esthetician who is obsessed with ingredient knowledge, I want to educate you on why you would want to invest in a great Vitamin C serum, what to look for when considering a Vitamin C product, and also what other ingredients you should pair with your Vitamin C.
How does Vitamin C work?
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, this means that when taken internally it helps to fight free radicals or dangerous foreign invaders that seek to destroy our healthy cells. The vitamin aids in tissue formation, wound healing, immune support, bone, and teeth health and collagen building. It is important to note that since Vitamin C is water-soluble a finite amount is absorbed in the gut and the rest cannot be utilized within the body or skin and is discarded. This means topical Vitamin C is essential in order to experience its amazing benefits for your skin. The most impressive trait of topical Vitamin C is that it not only treats but prevents signs of aging caused by both UVA and UVB rays. UVB predominately affects the epidermis (top layers of the skin) and is responsible for sunburns, whereas UVA can penetrate into the dermis (deeper layers of the skin) and is responsible for the formation of melanoma and the breakdown of collagen. 80-90% of the aging of our skin actually comes from sun exposure! Vitamin C aids in the treatment and prevention of hyperpigmentation and collagen synthesis, allowing our skin to be more even, toned and plump. Who can resist that!?
What Type of Vitamin C Works Best?
Now you understand how Vitamin C is a no brainer when it comes to great skincare! However, it can be difficult to make sure you are getting an effective formula. All Vitamin C is not created equally, literally. Vitamin C in itself is a very unstable and fragile compound. This means that chemists must be careful in their formulation to preserve it and make sure that it is biologically available to penetrate into the skin. The most common type of Vitamin C is L- Ascorbic Acid (LAA), it is very effective but becomes inactive when exposed to heat, light or air, this means you would need to handle and store the solution with care. Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THD) has been formulated to be oil-soluble allowing it to penetrate the deepest into the skin and make it a fabulous option for more mature skin that needs more treatment than prevention. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) was previously known as the most stable form but has been surpassed by Sodium Ascorbyl Palmitate (SAP), which is stable in both water and oil emulsions and therefore can be mixed with many mediums making it versatile and cost-effective. However, these SAP formulations are not comparative in concentration or strength. My recommendation would be to go for an LAA formulation like Rhonda Allison’s C Peptide Complex if your main goal is prevention, and if your main goal is treating existing signs of photoaging go for a THD formulation like Revision Skincare’s C+ Correcting Complex.
How to Make Vitamin C Go the Extra Mile?
Sunscreen only blocks up to 55% of the free radicals produced by UV exposure, but when paired with a topical antioxidant like Vitamin C with at least a 10% concentration both sunburn and free radical production can be reduced by around 50%. Throughout my skincare education, I have always learned that Vitamin C should be applied during the day before sun exposure underneath sunscreen. This makes sense when considering our major goal is to protect the skin from UV damage. However, upon further research I have discovered that Vitamin C should also be applied after sun exposure because Vitamin C is actually destroyed by exposure to UVA and UVB rays; therefore applying Vitamin C afterward is more effective. Vitamin C can actually last within the skin for 4 days after application. Don’t get any ideas though; we still want to be reapplying daily as the amount of Vitamin C left in the skin does continue to diminish after application and high levels are needed in the skin at all times to work most effectively. I recommend applying both morning and evening for best results. Other Ingredients that pair well with Vitamin C include Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid. Vitamin C is a hydrophilic (water-loving) compound whereas Vitamin E is lipophilic (fat-loving). The combination of Vitamins C and E protect both the hydrophilic and lipophilic components of our cells. Ferulic acid is gaining much popularity as it is also a potent antioxidant but actually helps to stabilize and enhance the effects of both Vitamin C and E. Therefore a formulation with all of these ingredients is ideal.
My hope is that after reading this you are now convinced that Vitamin C is worth your investment and that you understand the reasoning behind the hype. I invite you to check out the Pomp Beauty website and chat with an Esthetician about which wonderful Vitamin C product would work best for you and your skin needs. After all, your skin is the largest organ of your body and it will most certainly thank you in the future for the love and respect you give it today!