Including a topical vitamin C serum to your skincare routine could also be a no brainer, however choosing the proper one is a bit more difficult. Should you’ve ever frolicked shopping vitamin C serums on-line, you’ve in all probability observed the ingredient label by no means simply reads “vitamin C.” There are numerous totally different types of vitamin C utilized in skincare, and which one you select undoubtedly issues.
On this submit, I’ll clarify the essential function vitamin C performs in wholesome pores and skin getting older and offer you a information to among the most typical 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 a substitute, it’s one thing we have now to get from exterior sources equivalent to meals or dietary supplements. Most of us get sufficient vitamin C by means of our food plan, and extreme deficiency may be very unusual. That stated, because it’s wanted for therefore many capabilities all through the physique, solely a small share of the vitamin C we ingest will make it to our pores and skin. That is why “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 fundamental methods:
1. Vitamin C protects pores and skin cells from environmental injury.
This in all probability 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 getting older. Free radicals are continuously coming at us from so many various sources, together with UV gentle from the solar, ozone, smoke, and air pollution (to call a couple of). All of those are additionally accountable 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 vital.
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 speak about “anti-aging” in skincare, it’s typically in reference to an ingredient’s skill to stimulate collagen. That is no shock contemplating collagen performs such a key function in maintaining pores and skin trying youthful. The truth is, after age 20, our pores and skin’s skill to replenish collagen decreases by about 1%-1.5% annually! Enter: vitamin C. First, it helps shield the collagen you have already got by inhibiting a bunch 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 skill 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 a fantastic device for managing hyperpigmentation issues equivalent to melasma.
What Is the Finest Type of Vitamin C in Pores and skin Care?
With regards to vitamin C in skincare, there are two classes: energetic and inactive. The one energetic type 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 throughout 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 totally the place different parts are added to stabilize the ascorbyl group. You’ll discover that each one the inactive types I speak about have “ascorb” someplace within the identify, which is how it’s a sort of vitamin C (this may be useful 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 energetic, 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 completely than some other sort of vitamin C in skincare. It’s been confirmed past a shadow of a doubt to work nicely as an antioxidant. We additionally understand it’s efficient for each collagen synthesis and evening-out hyperpigmentation.
Should you go for L-ascorbic acid, search for a serum that incorporates between 8% and 20%. That is the vary wherein research have proven it to be only. Your pores and skin solely takes in as a lot vitamin C because it wants, so going above 20% received’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 capable of 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 the whole lot in its surroundings. This consists of gentle, warmth, oxygen, water, and metals. This implies the ascorbic acid in your serum has a excessive likelihood 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? That is why.)
A technique manufacturers and formulators fight this oxidation is by including different molecules equivalent to vitamin E or ferulic acid to their vitamin C serums. Each are confirmed to assist stabilize ascorbic acid and to make vitamin C simpler. Nonetheless, you must dissipate any serums containing L-ascorbic acid fairly shortly, or they’ll go dangerous. buddy of mine who’s a beauty chemist advised me she avoids formulating with L-ascorbic acid as a lot as she will be able to because it’s so troublesome and unpredictable to stabilize.
Along with stability points, L-ascorbic acid has a excessive potential for irritation. It must be at fairly a low pH to stay secure, so this will trigger pores and skin irritation (particularly for those who use merchandise with substances equivalent to retinol or exfoliating acids). This makes it a foul match for delicate pores and skin varieties, and it additionally isn’t really useful for those who 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 certainly extra secure 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 secure whereas getting the place it must go, aka into your pores and skin.
Producer research declare sodium ascorbyl phosphate gives the identical advantages as pure L-ascorbic acid, particularly in the case of pores and skin brightening and collagen synthesis. The secret’s ensuring it’s secure throughout the system and that it’s capable of successfully penetrate into the pores and skin.
One factor that’s distinctive about the sort of vitamin C is that it’s been proven in research to assist enhance pimples. Should you get breakouts and have beforehand struggled to include vitamin C into your routine, this ingredient may very well be value a shot! Simply bear in mind, pimples is advanced and can at all times require a focused routine in 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 really a posh mix of many compounds reasonably than only a simple vitamin C by-product. Additionally inactive, this type of vitamin C is a superb instance of extra parts being added as a way of stabilizing the extra risky ascorbyl group.
On this case, the soundness of vitamin C is drastically 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 proof against assault by free radicals within the first place.
Final however not least, we have now the inactive type tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD). This one is my private favourite and can also be the famous person of my Vitamin C&E Therapy. What makes THD so totally different from the opposite varieties 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 received’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 secure of all of the types of vitamin C I’ve talked about to date. One other good thing about oil solubility is that it has a slower launch time than water-soluble molecules. This implies an extended window of energetic vitamin C in your pores and skin, and due to this fact an extended window of safety.
The slow-release may 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 way in which water-soluble types do. Once more, this will imply much less irritation.
Lastly, one of many causes I like this ingredient a lot is that, apart from L-ascorbic acid, it has among 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 due to its skill to enhance pores and skin pigmentation issues. Fairly cool, proper? What’s thrilling to me about THD is that it’s really been confirmed in research to be akin to L-ascorbic acid when it comes to efficacy and outcomes. It has a stellar monitor file in the case of bettering hyperpigmentation, and it could 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, cheaper types of vitamin C.
Study to Spot Varieties vs. Sources of Vitamin C
On a remaining observe, I’d wish to shortly contact on the problem of types of vitamin C versus sources of vitamin C. All the substances I’ve coated 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 energetic ascorbic acid.
I’ve observed some manufacturers will promote merchandise marketed as containing vitamin C, however you received’t really discover any type of vitamin C on the ingredient label. As a substitute, they’ll embody extracts of vegetation or fruits identified to be excessive in vitamin C. I’m not saying these substances 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 energetic vitamin C. There’s actually no approach to say for positive whether or not you’re really getting any usable ascorbic acid from them.
Now that extra about the perfect varieties of vitamin C, listed here are 5 qualities it is best to search for in an efficient vitamin C serum.
Superstar 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 data and fixed analysis are why Marie Claire calls her “essentially the most passionate pores and skin practitioner we all know.”