Vitamin C serum is considered the ‘holy grail’ of anti-aging
Do you need to be using a vitamin C serum? The short answer is no, but . . .
Vitamin C can be a great asset to your skincare routine for a few reasons:
- Counteracts sun damage – Summer is coming and we all know what the sun can do to our skin! Vitamin C is a super powerful antioxidant, meaning that it can help protect skin cells from free radical damage caused by the sun and other environmental stressors.
- Brightens hyper-pigmentation – Many studies have shown that vitamin C when applied topically can help brighten the complexion, fade pigmentation (aka “sun” spots) and post inflammatory scarring (aka red spots). Vitamin C not only inhibits the production of melanin, which helps prevent pigmentation from appearing, but also gently exfoliates the surface of the skin.
- Promotes collagen production – Since vitamin C promotes skin cells to regenerate, it also promotes the production of collagen, which is one of the skin’s largest building blocks. Collagen strengthens the skin and helps soften fine lines and wrinkles, while preventing new ones from forming.
Not all forms of vitamin C are created equal
Depending on the version, it can be highly unstable and poorly absorbed. There are a few different versions of vitamin C used in skincare products. Ascorbic acid (often labelled as L-ascorbic acid) is the most common one, but if it’s not formulated properly it can also be very irritating, causing stinging and sensitivity.
Vitamin C serum should be a pale yellow colour and packaged in a dark or opaque, airless containers. Over time, the serum will oxidize and become darker and so it’s best to use the serum up within a couple of months to keep it potent.
If you want an additional vitamin C boost, use seabuckthorn berry oil after your moisturizer in the evening for a nourishing treatment while you sleep.
Just note: For stubborn sun spots and pigmentation, vitamin C serum won’t be your knight in shining armour (unfortunately stronger measures might have to be taken). Over time though, you’ll notice dark spots and pigmentation significantly lighten.
Should you use vitamin C?
- If you have sensitive skin or conditions like rosacea or eczema, be cautious when trying vitamin C. Avoid using it all together, or try a product that contains lower concentrations of vitamin C, which may be more tolerable.
- Don’t use if your skin is compromised (e.g. extremely dehydrated or irritated as a result of harsh weather conditions, allergic reactions etc.). Depending on the concentration and pH level, the serum may sting and cause further irritation. If your skin is compromised, first use a hydrating serum and a nourishing moisturizer to boost your skin’s health before starting on a vitamin C regime.
Other notes on vitamin C:
- Start slow to see how your skin reacts and first test a patch.
- Make sure the serum is in an opaque container and (preferably) in a pump to protect it from air.
- Instead of using vitamin C all year round, you could try using it as a booster treatment for a couple of months twice a year to help repair any damage and protect from UV damage.