Vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant ingredient that can add dynamic results to our skincare routine. It’s brightening, can diminish the appearance of even stubborn dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and can even improve the look of lines and wrinkles. It can be used day and night and adds a preventative and restorative synergy to our skin care routine.
A lot of skincare ingredients have antioxidant properties — and antioxidants are even found in our own skin naturally in the forms of melanin, vitamin E, and uric acid to name just a few. So why is Vitamin C so special and highly regarded in skincare? We can’t manufacture it on our own, so topical application can be very important. Vitamin C has been proven to be one of the most potent and effective antioxidant ingredients when applied topically. It’s shown to absorb well and reach the intended site in the skin to deliver maximum results.
Esthetician Note: Free radicals are reactive molecules that cause damage to our cells and cellular structures. They are created by natural processes in the body, and external triggers such as UV exposure, smoking, stress, and pollution. Antioxidants work to bond with these free radicals to prevent this oxidative stress and damage that can cause visible signs of aging.
As an esthetician, there is one thing I wish people knew about vitamin C…
Avoid Oxidized Vitamin C Products
Its greatest strength (its antioxidant potential) can also be its greatest weakness. Vitamin C can oxidize BEFORE it gets on to the skin or gets into the skin at meaningful levels. This is why it’s important to know that there are actually multiple forms of this ingredient. Vitamin C is an umbrella term for the molecule itself. What version is in your skin care and how much really matters as far as results and skin compatibility goes. How it’s manufactured, packaged, and stored makes a difference as well.
How do I know if my product has oxidized?
Your vitamin C products should be kept out of direct light and heat. They should be in an opaque, UV coated, or dark amber bottle and sealed tightly after each use. Vitamin C serums can be clear or yellow to orange when they are “fresh.” Oxidized products darken and turn brown. Think of an apple after it is sliced and exposed to air. Oxidized products should not be used and should be discarded.
Types of Vitamin C & Skin Benefits
Vitamin C is really an umbrella term for a category of molecules, with different versions offering unique benefits.
Pure vitamin C is l-ascorbic acid (ascorbic acid). It’s the most potent and most researched version of vitamin C. It’s also the form of vitamin C our skin recognizes, so other forms of vitamin C and its derivatives are converted to l-ascorbic acid in the skin.
It’s been show to effectively:
- Improve the appearance of dark spots
- Reduce the look of hyperpigmentation
- Support the skin in the fight against free-radical damage
- Improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles
Overall, this form is regarded by many as the gold standard of topical vitamin C.
While this form of vitamin C is considered the “gold standard,” it is also the most potentially sensitizing and unstable form. It can begin the oxidation process when it comes into contact with water. Interesting side note, some ascorbic acid serums can have an unpleasant smell that is similar to hot dogs.
The Vitamin C Booster powder is a stable powder form of this vitamin paired with ferulic acid, which eliminates the stability issues that come with this form of vitamin C. It stays potent and fresh until you mix it. It also allows you to use more or less of the product based on the needs of your skin. Mix it into the serum or moisturizer that works best with your skin type.
Ingredient Buddies: You will often see vitamin C paired with vitamin E and ferulic acid to amplify the antioxidant power, improve stability, and increase overall results.
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THD Ascorbate) is a highly stable, oil-soluble form of vitamin C. As a result, it penetrates deeply to deliver results. It is considered an analog to L-Ascorbic Acid and it uniquely targets free radicals that damage the lipids in our skin and skin barrier (like ceramides and cholesterol). It improves the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and melasma very effectively. Plus, it pairs well with other brightening ingredients, antioxidants, and even retinol for an added synergy. It can be paired with other active ingredients, even retinol and can be used in concentrations up to 30%. This is a unique form of vitamin C that you might love in your evening skincare routine.
The 30% Vitamin C Dry Oil is uniquely formulated with BRIGHT Oléoactif®, a compound with marshmallow root, licorice root, and rice bran. It’s clinically proven to additionally diminish the look of stubborn types of hyperpigmentation like melasma.
Superox-C (AKA the goPure botanical superstar kakadu plum extract), is the richest natural source of vitamin C. It’s an anti-inflammatory, an extremely potent natural antioxidant, and is very tolerable and effective when applied topically. One thing that makes it unique is that it is both oil-loving and water-loving, so this improves absorption potential and works on multiple pathways to deliver results. It improves skin radiance and boosts luminosity.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a wonderful version of water-soluble vitamin C. It’s great for all skin types and concerns because it is still a potent antioxidant while being effective, gentle, and very stable. This is really important because l-ascorbic acid can be notoriously unstable and oxidize when exposed to light, air, water, and even other skin care products. This version of vitamin C is gentle and has antimicrobial properties. It’s really well suited for all skin types, from dry, sensitive, and even oily and acne-prone. It has great antioxidant brightening power and effectively improves the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation while firming the look of the skin.
How do I use topical Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is your daytime active ingredient go-to. However, it can be used day and night. It can be found in multiple products from your cleanser, serums, moisturizer, and even facial oils. You’ll get the most meaningful results from a concentrated serum or booster applied as your first treatment step after cleansing and toning. The goPure vitamin C products are stable and easy to add into your skincare routine for a more even-looking complexion.
To get the most out of your vitamin C results, make sure you use proper sun care daily.