Ask any beauty expert what their absolute must-haves in their skincare routine are, and here’s what you’ll hear: facial sunscreens, retinol, and vitamin C serums.
Why? Well that’s simple. When used in combination, these three are your best bet to fight the signs of aging. Not only that, but this holy trinity promotes happy, healthy and well-functioning skin. You probably have your best SPF moisturizer and you know which retinol serum is best for you, so let’s take a closer look at vitamin C.
What Does Vitamin C Do?
Vitamin C is a kind of mega multitasker; it stimulates collagen production, helps brighten dark spots and pigmentation marks caused by sun damage, and acts as an antioxidant to protect the skin from free radicals (unstable molecules that cause oxidative stress on skin cells, aka premature aging. It’s not just our skin that suffers, our bodies are also affected by oxidative damage, which is why vitamin C is so easily used to fight disease.)
Not only that, but it’s also great for reducing inflammation, softening rough skin texture, and giving you a great natural glow (meaning that with the best face serums, you can even miss your very best highlighter).
How To Use Vitamin C
“You have to pay a lot of attention to the shape and the concentration you use on the skin,” says Dr Emma Craythorne, dermatologist consultant. ‘The optimal concentration depends on the formulation. In most cases, for a product to be of biological significance, it must have a concentration greater than 8%. Studies have shown that a concentration of more than 20% does not increase its biological significance, but can cause irritation. Reputable products of vitamin C available today are therefore in the range of 10 to 20 percent. Pure Vitamin C is also known as L-Ascorbic Acid. This is the most effective form of vitamin C on the skin.’
It’s quite a spicy active ingredient, so it’s a good idea to get your skin used to it. Don’t worry, introduce it slowly by applying it every few days at first. You can then gradually increase your consumption. Make sure to use your best SPF moisturizer on top.
Vitamin C is unstable – meaning its efficacy and strength are affected by exposure to light, air and heat. It is also a bit of a lone wolf and does not like to be combined with certain ingredients. We don’t recommend applying an AHA/BHA toner (anything with salicylic acid or glycolic acid in it) beforehand as this could destabilize the pH level of the vitamin C and stop it from working.
Keep scrolling for our beauty editor-approved roundup of the best vitamin C serums the beauty industry has to offer.