Vitamin C is a versatile skincare ingredient which meets the needs of skin affected by pigmentation issues brought on by external factors, and in some cases from biological changes. It's also one of the best anti-aging ingredient to keep a smooth, radiant and glowy complexion.
Whichever the case, we're here to detail the ins and outs of the role of Vitamin C in skincare.
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a remarkable active ingredient and antioxidant which protects skin from free radical damage inflicted by pollution and sun expose. It is a potent and key nutrient for stimulating the rejuvenation of skin cells, and coaxes the formation and protection of essential collagen and elastin. It has become a popular ingredient in anti-aging skincare, although generally it can be helpful to all who have any of the following:
- Hyperpigmentation including sun spots, dark spots, and freckles caused by environmental factors such as prolonged exposure to the sun and UV rays
- Your skin feels dry and lost dehyration
- Wrinkles and fine lines due to a decrease in healthy functioning collagen
- Uneven skin tone
- Rough texture
- Dark or reddened acne scars
- Other blemishes brought on by periods of hormonal changes or old wounds.
There are several forms of Vitamin C in skincare, although Ascorbic acid, also known as L-Ascorbic acid, is the most common in light of its effectiveness.
Even low concentrations of Vitamin C pose promising effects in terms of nourishment and repair of skin. Research suggests that concentrations as low as 0.6% of Vitamin C is enough to at least fight free radicals. So even if you don’t have pigmentation issues, mature skin or blemishes, it is sensible to incorporate a Vitamin C product into your skincare routine to shield your skin from oxidative damage. The skin protection and repair benefits of Vitamin C are increased when paired with hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, calming Allantoin or nutrient dense Vitamin E.
The overall benefits of Vitamin C:
- Removes dead skin cells to unveil a brighter and more radiant complexion
- Due to Vitamin C’s correlation with collagen and elastin, wrinkles and fine lines diminish with frequent use
- Aids wound healing especially when combined with Vitamin E - this is a popular duo for fading acne scars and stretch marks
- Heightens the effectiveness of sunscreens
- Inhibits melanin production to enhance a natural radiance from within skin
- Vitamin C works all on all types of hyperpigmentation regardless of race.
How to Use Vitamin C
Vitamin C serum is typically applied after cleansing and toning, and before moisturiser, once or twice a day. You should always do a patch test before applying them to your whole face to assess your risk for allergic reaction.
In general, a concentration of vitamin C can range from below 5% to 30%. For a vitamin C serum to be effective, ideally look for a concentration between 8% to 20%. The lower concentration might not bring the promised benefits, while the higher could irritate your skin.
Those with dry and sensitive skin probably want to start with lower concentration, around or under 5%, which are less likely to irritate skin. But those with more oily skin and with more hyper-pigmentation concerns can handle higher concentration for better effects.
Better together- How do we mix?
- Vitamin C + sunscreen= BFF: the research shows that the combination of antioxidants like vitamin C, E and sunscreen can boost the effectiveness of sun protection. Apply vitamin C underneath sunscreen before heading out.
- Vitamin C + Vitamin E: giving your skin double the antioxidant ammunition to fight against free radicals and UV damage.
- Vitamin C + Vitamin E + ferulic acid: adding another antioxidant which boosts and stabilises both vitamin C and vitamin E in fighting free radical damage and collagen production.
- Vitamin C + Hyaluronic acid: Vitamin C is an antioxidant to protect skin from sun damage, while hyaluronic acid helps keep skin moisturised, improve skin's elasticity. They become stronger and help reduce the signs of aging, when paired with one another. A general rule of thumb is to use formulas based on their consistency, applying from thinnest to thickest. For example, a moisturiser with hyaluronic acid would be applied after a vitamin c serum, but a hyaluronic acid serum will be layered underneath a moisturiser with vitamin C in its formula. Even you have two serums, just stick with the rule, apply whichever is thinner first.
Not to mix with Vitamin C- They're not friends
- Retinoids/AHAs + Vitamin C: they can be too active for the skin together, may cause irritation, sensitivity and dryness. Use separately.
- Benzoyl peroxide + Vitamin C: Benzoyl peroxide may oxidise vitamin C and may be reducing the efficacy of the vitamin C, so it’s advised to not apply together. Can use on alternative days.
Store it safely
Vitamin C is sensitive to light, so make sure to keep your vitamin C serum away from light, seal the lid tightly, and keep it somewhere dark, cool and dry. If the colour becomes yellow or brown, it's already oxidised, and it's likely going to be less effective. You can still use it if you want, but it won't do much for your skin.
Vitamin C Products To Try
JUMISO All Day Vitamin Brightening & Balancing Facial Serum – a non-water-based, dual functioning brightening and balancing Vitamin C serum packed with rich antioxidants sourced from 86.14% Vitamin tree extract. This serum is gentle and stable enough to use twice daily, AM and PM, and simultaneously provides hydrating Hyaluronic Acid and anti-inflammatories with Centella Asiatica extract. It can be used comfortably on all skin types, including oily skin thanking to the light touch texture and Matricaria Flower extract which controls sebum production.
JUMISO All Day Vitamin Brightening & Balancing Facial Serum
Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop – this is one of the most widely sold Korean Vitamin C serums, due to its non-irritating formula and combination of natural ingredients harvested from nature. It contains Ascorbic Acid (5%) to energize dull skin tones without sensitizing when used little by little, twice daily.
Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
Laneige Radian-C Ampoule and Cream , features a highly concentrated vitamin C ampoule and cream to deliver 400% greater antioxidant effects to improve skin texture, leaving a brighter, radiant complexion. The Radian-C ampoule contains 17.6% Pure Vitamin C, Vitamin C Derivative and Niacinamide(Vitamin B3), while the Radian-C Cream contains 8.5% Vitamin C and Vitamin E, to help provide deep moisturisation and improve the appearance of dullness.
Laneige Radian-C Amouple and Cream
Some By Mi Yuja Niacin Serum – a pairing of 5% Niacinamide and 82% Korean Yuja (Yuzu) fruit extract to ultimately target blemishes to leave a more unified skin tone and complexion. The non-sticky texture enables all year round care for pigmentation issues, and doesn’t contain any unwanted inclusions. Its fragrance is 100% non-synthetic – naturally smelling of organic Yuja peel oil which is suitable for sensitive skin.
Some By Mi Yuja Niacin Serum
Don't limit yourself to vitamin C serums! Why not adding an extra step to your routine, as you can also get vitamin C in face masks, moisturisers and even sunscreens. Here are some of our favourites:
Banobagi Vita Genic Jelly Mask (Brightening) – enriched with Jeju Hallabong orange to nourish skin with Vitamin C, in addition to a vitamin complex consisting of 9 vitamins plus Niacinamide. The jelly-like essence gives skin a radiant glow, leaving skin looking and feeling more awakened and deeply rehydrated.
Banobagi VITA Genic Jelly Mask (Brightening)
Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber With Soothing Brightening Vitamin C – a Cryo therapy inspired mask which increases blood flow to aid the absorption of the active ingredients. It’s formulated with Vitamin C and Niacinamide which breakdown dead skin cells at the surface of skin to reveal a smoother complexion which is also brighter. Sea Buckthorn fruit extract heavily plays a role in improving the radiance of skin.
Dr.Jart+ Cryo Rubber With Soothing Brightening Vitamin C
Some By Mi Yuja Niacin Brightening Sleeping Mask – a like the matching serum, this re-energizing sleeping mask is centered around Yuja extract (70%) and Niacinamide. Its quick absorbing and moisture retaining formula impactfully brightens skin, but also plumps out fine lines and wrinkles leaving skin feeling hydrated from within overnight.
Some By Mi Yuja Niacin Brightening Sleeping Mask