Updated: Feb 28
Every day we are searching for ways to slow down the early signs of aging, prevent sun damage, and even improve the appearance of wrinkles on our face. Few ingredients are good at brightening the skin as well as protecting it from aggressors and aging but one really steals the show!
We are all aware of the benefits of Vitamin C for our health but today we are going to see just how great it can be when used topically.
Vitamin C an antioxidant, that fights harmful free radicals (toxins) that come in contact with your skin from external sources like air pollution, or from inside the body as a result of normal processes like your metabolism. While we can certainly eat our way to a healthy Vitamin C intake, when applied topically, your skin will reap the benefits.
Vitamin C and Skin Benefits
When you think of skin care you think of diminishing fine lines, firming of your skin, youthful glow. All thanks to Vitamin C, your collagen production will increase as well as protection from damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure when combined with sunscreen.
By blocking the production of pigment in our skin, vitamin C can reduce the appearance of dark spots with little irritation or side effects. It will detoxify the skin as well as balance skin tone to diminish hyperpigmentation. When applied daily, it can help with acne AND control sebum production to help improve the skin's appearance.
Apart from its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C has the power to boost the production of connective tissue cells. These cells are responsible for healing and repairing wounds. Lastly, Vitamin C hydrates the skin through ingredients like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate that has hydrating properties for the skin and acts as a humectant, preventing water loss.
Top 3 Types of Vitamin C
Vitamin C can come in a variety of forms. Consuming this potent antioxidant can support immune health, while applying it topically can help shield delicate skin from daily aggressors and support a youthful complexion. But the key to this citrus wonder doesn’t come down to the product – it’s the particular type of vitamin C that’s being applied.
#1: Ascorbic Acid
When you look at the label of your brightening serum, you'll probably see ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid near the top. It is the most well known form of vitamin C which is also the most effective at penetrating the skin barrier.
The pH level of this ingredient is very important for its formulation. When made with a pH of less than 4, this is when the anti-aging benefits are highest for people with normal skin types. People with sensitive skin should aim for a pH level of 5-7 to avoid irritation.
TIP: Ascorbic acid is water-soluble and breaks down when it is exposed to light and air. When this happens, vitamin C can actually become inactive and potentially damage your skin. Be sure to look for dark, opaque, and air-restrictive bottles to ensure the ingredients remain stable.
#2: Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
This form of Vitamin C is great for all skin types. As opposed to L-ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphate can convert into ascorbic acid once applied to the skin. This process may make the ingredient a little less active but it will be less irritating hence more beneficial for sensitive skin.
One other major benefit of this form of vitamin C is that it behaves less erratically than ascorbic acid when it is exposed to light, air and even water! Granted you will still want to have it stored in a dark amber or opaque bottle but at least you can rest assured the potency won't diminish so quickly.
#3: Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Also known as MAP, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is the most stable form of vitamin C. It is also considered one of the most hydrating and can effectively soothe skin irritations due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
This form of vitamin C is great for acne-prone skin types mainly because it can prevent the oxidation that leads to blackheads. This stable form of the vitamin is effective as a topical antioxidant that can correct discoloration from acne scarring.
How to use Vitamin C topically
Whenever you are choosing to use vitamin C, it is important to use it correctly to receive all the benefits. It has been found that applying vitamin C as a serum in the mornings, after cleansing and before moisturizer, it can actually help other ingredients penetrate the skin better.
The morning is the best time to apply vitamin C serum as that is when harsh environmental aggressors are most active. Vitamin C will protect the skin against harmful effects.
After you cleanse your face, apply a toner to calm the skin and close up the pores, apply vitamin C serum alone or with a moisturizer if need be. Always make sure to finish up with an SPF as vitamin C can only help fight harsh effects of sun damage but does not protect it against UVA and UVB rays.
It is normal to experience a mild tingling sensation with the use of vitamin C. When just starting out, it may be best to apply it every other day to increase your tolerance to the ingredient. It could take up to three months of consistent use to see a noticeable improvement.
5 DIY Vitamin C Products!
#1: Vitamin C Serum
- In a small bowl, combine the vitamin C powder and filtered water. Whisk the ingredients until the vitamin C powder is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, stir in the aloe vera gel and vitamin E oil.
- Pour the serum into a dark amber bottle and store the serum in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. **Your serum may have a different color and consistency, depending on the vitamin C powder and aloe used to make this recipe.**
#2: Vitamin C Serum
- Add the vitamin C powder and distilled water to a small, dark-colored glass bottle. Replace the top and shake until fully combined. (This may take a while, but keep at it!)
- Next, add the vegetable glycerine and vitamin E oil, replace the top, and shake again to combine.
- Finally, add the lemon oil and a pinch of baking soda and shake to mix one last time.
#3: Vitamin C + Moisturizer
1 tsp vitamin C powder
3 drops lavender essential oil
2 tsp moisturizer of your choice - I chose Cetaphil
- Add the powder into a small bowl or container.
- Mix in the essential oil and moisturizer. mix until well blended
- Apply to entire face or use as a spot treatment.
#4: Raw Honey and Vitamin C
1 tbsp vitamin C powder
1.5 tbsp raw honey
1/2 tsp water
4 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
- Mix together the vitamin C and honey
- Add in some water if required then add in a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil
- Mix everything nicely and apply an even layer on the face. Avoid the eye area.
- Keep it on for 10-15 minutes and rinse off with plain water. Repeat once or twice in a week for even-toned and smooth complexion.
#5: Vitamin C with Lemon juice & Green tea Face Mask
3 tsp room temperature brewed green tea
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
- Mix together all the ingredients and apply the mixture all over face and neck
- Let sit for 15-20 minutes
- Rinse off with luke warm water
- Repeat twice in a week for great anti aging benefits.
There’s a reason why vitamin C serums have become so popular, and why it’s a beauty must-have in pretty much every household. Knowing what type of vitamin C to use for your skin is the best way to boost your anti-aging and brightening benefits – after all, knowledge is what takes your skin care to the next level!