In this post, I’ll attempt to break down any related chemistry jargons and hopefully highlight the benefits of vitamin C for your skin. This post will be a combination of what I’ve learned in school and information sourced from notes from Oregon State University. I’ll also highlight what you should know before adding it to your skincare and then briefly share my own experience since I added it to my skincare routine. Permit me if I ramble on this one, okay? (This post contains some affiliate links)
Last week I posted a picture on Instagram captioned “Vitamin C or Vitamin-oops-C?“. I thought it was funny that I was reacting to Vitamin C serum until I started reading up on it. If you’re new to my blog, my skin is fairly stubborn. Finding products that work for my skin is a hurdle and that’s how I became a skincare junkie and developed a passion for everything skincare; hence this blog 🙂
Anyways, lets cut to the chase…..
I talked about Serums and the benefits in THIS POST when I first included it in my routine sometime in May. If you read it, you know that Vitamin C serums are meant to deliver a high concentration of vitamin C to your skin.
Let me explain a few things first
There are lots of electrons constantly in motion in our body. They love to move in pairs. Things happen that leave these electrons single. Since they are fond of moving in pairs, the single electrons are not happy; they become very reactive and aggressive. (Nobody really likes the single life, huh?). These single unpaired electrons are called Free radicals- the one you hear about a lot. An “antioxidant” is generous and donates an electron to a free radical to prevent it from being too reactive.
So now back to Vitamin C and the skin
The skin has three layers; Vitamin C is normally found in high levels in the top two layers of the skin (dermis and epidermis).
- As we age, this high level decreases.
- Exposure to UVs and other external pollutants also decrease the level of Vitamin C on the skin.
- Exposure to air, heat, and light has been documented to degrade the potency as well.
Fun (important) facts:
- The body does not make vitamin C but it is essential to everyday health.
- You don’t need a higher concentration for it to be effective. A higher concentration can actually cause more damage to your skin. A concentration of 15-20% is optimal. Anything over that is really an overkill.
- Some studies have shown that the higher the concentration, the less quickly (or better) it absorbs
- For its benefits for the skin, applying on skin seemed to have a more significant effect than when consumed orally to fight free radicals.
- It is often oil and/or water-based but does not leave your skin oily. This makes it friendly for most (not all) skin types.
- It also showed to be most effective when paired with other smaller ingredients such as Vitamin E and hyaluronic acid. In fact, you often find them paired with these micronutrients in most serums Like this one from Oz-Naturals which I added to my skincare routine.
Benefits of Vitamin C (For Skin)
- Vitamin C protects the skin against the damage caused by excess absorption of free radicals (or UV rays). However, it is NOT a sunscreen. It does not absorb UV light (sunscreens do).
- Vitamin C is also good for regulating the formation of collagen. Collagen is a structural protein (a protein that gives structure to cells in the body including skin cells). So in this case, collagen is that protein that gives the skin it’s structure-elasticity, firmness, plumpness, and flexibility.
- Good for healing wound- it boosts the immune response to an injury site.
- May help reduces dry skin. Although this is not well documented yet, It may help prevent moisture loss from the skin.
- May be good for fighting acne
- Helps reduce inflammation (acne)
- It has bleaching properties which make it a great ingredient for brightening skin from issues such as age spots, hyperpigmentation, and discoloration.
Vitamin C reactions and your skin
- Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid- the kind found in nature and in skin care products) are usually unstable. This means they oxidize easily. This oxidation negatively impacts how potent they are. Oxidation is caused by exposure to air.
- Oxidized vitamin C may increase free radical formation which results in you getting reactions such as irritation, burns, and rashes.
- To know when your vitamin C serum has oxidized, pay attention to color. It’ll go from clear to yellow or brown. Some brands add ingredients that alter the clear color of vitamin C making it hard to detect when it oxidizes. I’d steer clear from serums that aren’t clear. It’s okay for it to come in a dark bottle to prevent light, but the liquid itself should be clear.
To prevent these negative reactions, it is important to start out with lower concentrations. If you haven’t used vitamin C previous, start out with products containing lower concentrations and build your way up. Use vitamin C for some weeks before going up in the concentration level. Also, do not use it every day as this may be too much for your skin to handle if you are just starting out.
I was reading about ingredients to hydrate my skin because I felt my skin has been mad thirsty lately. I ended up wanting to try out serums starting with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C as these two seemed like the perfect pair. The problem was that I assumed both would work great for my skin especially since I was purchasing all natural kinds. I bought these two and started using them simultaneously (BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER).
I should’ve known better. Anyways, within a few weeks, I had rashes all over my face. It was awful! My skin’s texture was very rough. I knew the rashes were from overdosing on the vitamin C serums because: 1) I had never used them before. 2) I jumped right into using more than one in high concentrations from the get to.
I had to completely stop using both products to let my skin recover from the
trauma reaction. And it has; the texture of my skin is pretty much back to where it was prior to using the product. So, I am reintroducing it slowly, few times per week just to ease my skin back to it.
To wrap this up, the vitamin C serum that I Love and have heard a lot about is the Vitamin C Serum from Mad Hippie. ($33 on Mad Hippe and $31 on Amazon ). If you search for it on google, you’d find it about $4 bucks cheaper on a couple of natural and wellness stores.
This serum uses a form of Vitamin C called Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate. it is one of the most stable forms of the vitamin (so there’s less oxidation and irritation). It also includes Ferulic Acid, Konjac Root Powder, Grapefruit, Chamomile and Clay Sage.
I’d love to know what your experiences are with serums in general. Leave me a comment! Don’t forget to share and spread the love 🙂