Choosing a Vitamin C Cream

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful anti aging actives available today.  Incorporating this ingredient into your routine can help you reduce wrinkles and fine lines and brighten age spots. There are a wide variety of products that contain this antioxidant on the market.  A Vitamin C cream can be a good a daily moisturizer for most skin types.  It is gentle enough for daily use, yet powerful enough to produce visible results.  Not all creams are created equal.  You will need the right concentration for your skin’s needs.

If you use a face cream regularly, you should consider switching to one that contains Vitamin C.  This nutrient is an antioxidant, meaning it scavenges the free radicals that cause our skin to deteriorate as we age.  It can reduce wrinkling because it also causes your skin to produce more of it’s own collagen, a necessary part of the skin matrix that degrades over time.  A vitamin C cream can also fade hyper pigmentation; the brown spots that result from aging or the healing of blemishes.

One benefit to using a cream over a serum is that you are less likely to irritate your skin.  Vitamin C can be acidic and can aggravate sensitive skin.  Creams are often milder that serums because they are combined with moisturizers and skin soothing ingredients.  They also contain other ingredients that can improve absorbability and make the product more stable.  A cream can be a good way to introduce Vitamin C into your routine and get your skin ready for a stronger serum.  You can also use them along with serums in your skin care regimen, so you don’t need to choose one over the other.  There are entire skin care systems with Vitamin C as the cornerstone anti aging active ingredient.

One important thing to remember when choosing a Vitamin C cream is that the nutrient must be fresh or stabilized for it to work properly.  Unfortunately, this active ingredient oxidizes, or degrades, rather quickly.  When this happens, the product becomes completely ineffective.  Many skin care companies can extend the shelf life of a product by using other ingredients that slow oxidation.  You must choose a fresh product from a knowledgeable manufacturer and reliable supplier.  Many have an expiration date.  Vitamin C is also combined with other ingredients that make it more powerful.  Some of these combinations are even patented.  Cheap Vitamin C creams are usually ineffective.  Invest in a quality formulation.

There are different forms of this nutrient.  Usually, a Vitamin C cream will contain L- ascorbic acid, the most common form.  This type is typically the best choice for most individuals.  It has been used the longest and it thought to be the form most easily used by the body.  Other popular types of the nutrient are Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate.  These forms are less likely to irritate sensitive skin and are more self stable that L- ascorbic acid.

In general, it is best to stick with L-ascorbic acid unless you are experiencing a lot of irritation from the mildest product.  It can take time for your skin to adjust to using Vitamin C, mainly because it is acidic.  Much like alpha hydroxy acids, using a strong product right away can cause irritation.  You should give your skin time to adjust by starting with a mild product and work your way up.  A vitamin C cream will often have a lower concentration than a serum, but some may be very strong.  Most people will not experience irritation with a 5% concentration as a starter product or daily moisturizer.  A 10% to 15% product is often too much to start out with, but it ideal for most skin types once the skin has been through an adjustment period.  20% is generally the strongest concentration available.  Many strong products also list the pH level.  Be careful with products that are around 2, as this is very acidic.  Remember with pH, the lower the number, the more acidic the product.

Strong products with higher percentages and a lower pH can sometimes produce a peeling effect.  Because of this, many people prefer a lower percentage for their daily moisturizer.  The high percentages work the best to produce collagen, however.  Collagen production is a slow process that cannot be rushed.  It may take a couple of months of consistent use to see noticeable results in wrinkles, so don’t expect miracles overnight.

Vitamin C works well with other nutrients, like Vitamins A and E.  Some combinations are used to produce collagen more effectively, or provide sun protection.  It is also commonly seen with botanical formulations.  The only ingredient to really watch is copper peptides.  Both are effective, but they should never be used in the same session, because they may neutralize each other.  Wait 6 hours between applications.

Wrinkle prevention is another benefit of using a vitamin C cream.  Even young people with no visible fine lines can benefit from incorporating it into their routines.  Young skin usually doesn’t need the strong formulas because it is already producing enough collagen.  Vitamin C works to prevent wrinkles from forming because of its antioxidant properties.  It can also be useful in treating acne scars, when combined with exfoliation.

Exfoliation can help make Vitamin C cream more effective for all skin types.  Many people end up wasting their expensive products by applying them to skin that is covered with a layer of dead skin cells.  If you exfoliate away this layer, the cream can get into the skin like it was intended.  Additionally, the nutrient can help the skin heal faster and more evenly after a peel or microdermabrasion treatment.  Add exfoliation to your routine with a facial scrub or AHA peel.  Be careful when using strong exfoliation methods like peels when you are using a strong Vitamin C product because these can also peel the skin.