Vitamin C is one of the few skin care ingredients with lots of scientific evidence that proves it works. It is an antioxidant and free radical scavenger, so it reduces oxidative damage on the skin cells. This is a major cause of aging. It also stimulates your skin to synthesize collagen, which improves skin texture and reduces sagging and wrinkles. Used regularly over time, it can also reduce hyper pigmentation, or age spots and acne marks. Sometimes the acidity of the product can actually have an exfoliating effect as well.
There are many different Vitamin C skin care products on the market today, and they are not all created equal. They don’t even use the same Vitamin C. Most types of Vitamin C degrade after they are exposed to the air for a while. This makes them less effective and potentially bad for the skin as the degraded form of the vitamin can increase oxidative damage. Don’t buy a large a bottle or jar of a Vitamin C skin care product unless you know it is stable.
The natural form of Vitamin C is L ascorbic acid. It is one of the most effective and potent forms but unfortunately it can degrade the quickest. Some companies have made skin care products with other ingredients that stabilize the vitamin. One way to be sure is to use a serum in capsule form. This way you know the Vitamin C is fresh. Some people find this form of Vitamin C can cause skin irritation. If this is case for you, try using other forms or a weaker L ascorbic acid product. It can take time for your skin to adjust to the acidity of the products.
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a Vitamin C derivative that also promotes collagen production. It is more stable and doesn’t degrade as fast as L ascorbic acid. Sensitive skin types may have an easier time using this ingredient because it is less likely to cause irritation. This ingredient does degrade over time and should be stored out of the sun.
Ascorbyl palmitate is another Vitamin C derivative that is more stable than L ascorbic acid. It works well as a free radical scavenger, but not so great for collagen synthesis. This ingredient also degrades eventually.
Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a Vitamin C ester that has decent stability and rarely causes irritation. It is more effective at lower concentrations than ascorbic acid. It may have a skin lightening effect in some products.
Vitamin C is often combined with other Vitamins and actives in the same product. This can be convenient if you like the effects of other skin actives, like Vitamins A, E and Co Enzyme Q 10. Vitamin C works well with these other ingredients with one exception, copper peptides. Products that contain these ingredients should be used at least 6 hours apart, or they might make each other less effective.
Taking Vitamin C internally as a supplement has skin care benefits as well. Take it with a multivitamin that contains copper and zinc for maximum collagen and elastin producing results. Look for the natural for L ascorbic acid or a whole Vitamin C complex supplement like Acerola Cherry powder.
Vitamin C products that work can be pricey. Most Vitamin C skin care products do not contain an effective dose. A stabilized product with enough Vitamin C can cost significantly more than a product that simple has Vitamin C on the label.
Vitamin C is found in many different types of skin care products, like lotions, serums, creams, face washes or toners, and facial masks. It’s a common active ingredient in anti wrinkle products. You’re most likely to get the strongest concentrations in a serum, cream, or lotion. Different products contain different forms of the vitamin, even within the same brand or line. Look for L ascorbic acid first, but be aware that the product may degrade. Some Vitamin C skin care products can cause irritation, so your skin may need a derivative like Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, or take time to adjust by using a weaker product to start with.