Including a topical vitamin C serum to your skincare routine could also be a no brainer, however selecting the best one is a bit more difficult. When you’ve ever hung out shopping vitamin C serums on-line, you’ve most likely seen the ingredient label by no means simply reads “vitamin C.” There are various totally different types of vitamin C utilized in skincare, and which one you select positively issues.
On this submit, I’ll clarify the essential function vitamin C performs in wholesome pores and skin ageing and provide you with a information to a few of the commonest types of vitamin C in skincare. Let’s dive in!
What Are the Advantages of Vitamin C for Pores and skin?
Like all nutritional vitamins, vitamin C can’t be produced by our our bodies. As an alternative, it’s one thing we’ve to get from exterior sources reminiscent of meals or dietary supplements. Most of us get sufficient vitamin C via our food plan, and extreme deficiency may be very unusual. That stated, because it’s wanted for thus many capabilities all through the physique, solely a small share of the vitamin C we ingest will make it to our pores and skin. This is the reason “supplementing” with a topical product is a good way to make sure your pores and skin is reaping all of the superb advantages vitamin C has to supply.
So, how precisely does topical vitamin C profit our pores and skin? There are three important methods:
1. Vitamin C protects pores and skin cells from environmental injury.
This most likely isn’t information to you, however vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. It scavenges free radicals, that are unstable molecules that result in pores and skin injury and speed up pores and skin ageing. Free radicals are always coming at us from so many various sources, together with UV mild from the solar, ozone, smoke, and air pollution (to call just a few). All of those are additionally answerable for a pure depletion of vitamin C in our pores and skin over time, which is why supplementing with a topical antioxidant product is so necessary.
Additionally, try this superb visible demonstration I did of how vitamin C slows down oxidation from free radical injury!
2. Vitamin C helps stop collagen breakdown and promotes more healthy collagen manufacturing.
After we discuss “anti-aging” in skincare, it’s typically in reference to an ingredient’s means to stimulate collagen. That is no shock contemplating collagen performs such a key function in preserving pores and skin trying youthful. The truth is, after age 20, our pores and skin’s means to replenish collagen decreases by about 1%-1.5% every year! Enter: vitamin C. First, it helps defend the collagen you have already got by inhibiting a gaggle of enzymes that break down collagen. Second, it aids in more healthy collagen manufacturing because it’s a cofactor for 2 enzymes wanted to construct and cross-link collagen.
3. Vitamin C helps even out pigmentation for brighter-looking pores and skin.
Of all its advantages, vitamin C could also be best-known for its means to create brighter extra even-toned pores and skin by fading blotchy hyperpigmentation. It does this by interrupting the over-production of melanin, which causes hyperpigmentation. It’s an ideal instrument for managing hyperpigmentation issues reminiscent of melasma.
What Is the Finest Type of Vitamin C in Pores and skin Care?
In terms of vitamin C in skincare, there are two classes: lively and inactive. The one lively kind is L-ascorbic acid, which is the bioavailable type of vitamin C (which means the shape our pores and skin is ready to use). All different types of vitamin C are thought of inactive as a result of they should be transformed to L-ascorbic acid inside the pores and skin earlier than they’ll get to work.
Inactive types of vitamin C are nonetheless constructed on the inspiration of L-ascorbic acid however have been modified to the purpose the place they’re thought of totally different molecules. These modified variations can both be an ester type of vitamin C, or they could be a totally different compound completely the place different elements are added to stabilize the ascorbyl group. You’ll discover that each one the inactive kinds I discuss have “ascorb” someplace within the title, which is how you understand it’s a kind of vitamin C (this may be helpful to know when studying ingredient labels).
As I stated, there are tons of various types of vitamin C utilized in skincare, so I’ll simply be masking 4 of the commonest ones.
As I discussed earlier, L-ascorbic acid is the lively, bioavailable type of vitamin C. That is what our cells use to hold out any and all capabilities that require vitamin C. Due to this, L-ascorbic acid has been researched extra totally than some other sort of vitamin C in skincare. It’s been confirmed past a shadow of a doubt to work effectively as an antioxidant. We additionally realize it’s efficient for each collagen synthesis and evening-out hyperpigmentation.
When you go for L-ascorbic acid, search for a serum that accommodates between 8% and 20%. That is the vary through which research have proven it to be handiest. Your pores and skin solely takes in as a lot vitamin C because it wants, so going above 20% gained’t work any higher and simply will increase the potential for irritation.
The issue with L-ascorbic acid
So if L-ascorbic acid is so tried and true, why even entertain different types of vitamin C? The issue with L-ascorbic acid is that it solely works successfully IF you’re in a position to get it into the pores and skin, and therein lies the problem. Pure ascorbic acid is extremely unstable and because it’s an antioxidant, it needs to react with nearly every little thing in its setting. This consists of mild, warmth, oxygen, water, and metals. This implies the ascorbic acid in your serum has a excessive probability of oxidizing earlier than it will get an opportunity to make it into your pores and skin. (Ever heard of vitamin C serums turning brown? This is the reason.)
A technique manufacturers and formulators fight this oxidation is by including different molecules reminiscent of vitamin E or ferulic acid to their vitamin C serums. Each are confirmed to assist stabilize ascorbic acid and to make vitamin C more practical. Nonetheless, you need to deplete any serums containing L-ascorbic acid fairly shortly, or they’ll go dangerous. A superb good friend of mine who’s a beauty chemist instructed me she avoids formulating with L-ascorbic acid as a lot as she will because it’s so troublesome and unpredictable to stabilize.
Along with stability points, L-ascorbic acid has a excessive potential for irritation. It needs to be at fairly a low pH to stay steady, so this may trigger pores and skin irritation (particularly should you use merchandise with elements reminiscent of retinol or exfoliating acids). This makes it a foul match for delicate pores and skin varieties, and it additionally isn’t really useful should you battle with pimples.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Subsequent up is our first inactive type of vitamin C, sodium ascorbyl phosphate. This vitamin C by-product is unquestionably extra steady than L-ascorbic acid however can nonetheless be fairly reactive. For that reason, it’s typically utilized in skincare formulation as an encapsulation. Primarily what this implies is that the ingredient is put right into a protecting shell to assist it stay steady whereas getting the place it must go, aka into your pores and skin.
Producer research declare sodium ascorbyl phosphate presents the identical advantages as pure L-ascorbic acid, particularly in terms of pores and skin brightening and collagen synthesis. The hot button is ensuring it’s steady inside the components and that it’s in a position to successfully penetrate into the pores and skin.
One factor that’s distinctive about this sort of vitamin C is that it’s been proven in research to assist enhance pimples. When you get breakouts and have beforehand struggled to include vitamin C into your routine, this ingredient might be price a shot! Simply bear in mind, pimples is complicated and can at all times require a focused routine to your pores and skin sort.
Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate
This one is a little bit of a tongue tornado, and that’s as a result of it’s truly a posh mix of many compounds reasonably than only a simple vitamin C by-product. Additionally inactive, this type of vitamin C is a good instance of extra elements being added as a method of stabilizing the extra unstable ascorbyl group.
On this case, the soundness of vitamin C is enormously elevated by the addition of silanol. The silanol additionally aids in pores and skin penetration, which means this vitamin C compound has improved supply into the pores and skin. Lastly, silanol has been proven to strengthen the membranes of pores and skin cells, which makes them extra immune to assault by free radicals within the first place.
Final however not least, we’ve the inactive kind tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD). This one is my private favourite and can be the celebrity of my Vitamin C&E Therapy. What makes THD so totally different from the opposite forms of vitamin C I’ve talked about is the truth that it’s an oil-soluble ester type of vitamin C.
Since THD is solubilized by oil as an alternative of water, it gained’t begin to react and convert into L-ascorbic acid till it comes into contact with the oils in your pores and skin. This makes it essentially the most steady of all of the types of vitamin C I’ve talked about up to now. One other advantage of oil solubility is that it has a slower launch time than water-soluble molecules. This implies an extended window of lively vitamin C in your pores and skin, and subsequently an extended window of safety.
The slow-release can even imply a decrease potential for irritation than different types of vitamin C. Additionally, since THD is oil-based, it doesn’t require a low pH the best way water-soluble kinds do. Once more, this may imply much less irritation.
Lastly, one of many causes I really like this ingredient a lot is that, other than L-ascorbic acid, it has a few of the most analysis behind it. One of many causes it’s so extremely studied is that it’s thought of a quasi-drug in Japan because of its means to enhance pores and skin pigmentation issues. Fairly cool, proper? What’s thrilling to me about THD is that it’s truly been confirmed in research to be similar to L-ascorbic acid when it comes to efficacy and outcomes. It has a stellar monitor file in terms of bettering hyperpigmentation, and it might even enhance collagen synthesis higher than L-ascorbic acid.
To me, THD is the winner. The one draw back is that it’s costly to formulate with, which suggests it may be tougher to seek out in skincare merchandise than different, inexpensive types of vitamin C.
Be taught to Spot Types vs. Sources of Vitamin C
On a closing observe, I’d wish to shortly contact on the difficulty of kinds of vitamin C versus sources of vitamin C. The entire elements I’ve lined on this submit are types of vitamin C, which means as long as they make it into your pores and skin you’re assured to be getting some quantity of lively ascorbic acid.
I’ve seen some manufacturers will promote merchandise marketed as containing vitamin C, however you gained’t truly discover any type of vitamin C on the ingredient label. As an alternative, they’ll embody extracts of vegetation or fruits recognized to be excessive in vitamin C. I’m not saying these elements are dangerous by any means (most of them have antioxidant properties and make nice companions to vitamin C), however they’re not dependable sources of lively vitamin C. There’s actually no option to say for positive whether or not you’re truly getting any usable ascorbic acid from them.
Now that you understand extra about the very best forms of vitamin C, listed below are 5 qualities you need to search for in an efficient vitamin C serum.
Celeb Esthetician & Skincare Professional
As an esthetician skilled in beauty chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching pores and skin, educating her viewers, and constructing an award-winning line of merchandise. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives across the globe, her huge real-world information and fixed analysis are why Marie Claire calls her “essentially the most passionate pores and skin practitioner we all know.”