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Everything about vitamin C serums for the skin

Vitamin C orangesV.Itamine C has been popular in skin care in recent years, you can find it in all kinds of serums and creams. Read all about vitamin C in skin care products below and what you should pay attention to when buying a vitamin C serum.

What does vitamin C do for the skin?
Vitamin C is the most abundant antioxidant in the skin. It fulfills important functions there, such as protecting the skin against UV radiation and stimulating collagen production. Collagen is part of the skin that provides elasticity and firmness.

There are times when the skin benefits from some extra vitamin C. In older and sun damaged skin, the amount of vitamin C in the skin is lower. Vitamin C is one of the most researched cosmetic ingredients, and a vitamin C serum has been shown to help:

  • Stimulate collagen production.
  • Protect against UV damage and skin aging from the sun.
  • Reduce skin inflammation, such as acne.
  • Reduction of pigmentation spots.

What should you pay attention to when buying a vitamin C serum?
Vitamin C is also called L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid in English. L-ascorbic acid is very unstable and oxidizes quickly when exposed to water, light or oxygen from the air. When vitamin C is oxidized, it loses its effectiveness and does nothing for your skin. Most serums come in a jar or a transparent glass bottle with a pipette, chances are that the vitamin C is ineffective after opening the bottle a few times or even when purchased.

In an advanced stage of oxidation, vitamin C acquires a dark yellow or brown discoloration. This is because vitamin C is eventually converted into erythrulose, a substance that gives the brown color in self-tanners. To mask this, some manufacturers add an orange or yellow colorant to their product beforehand, so that you cannot see the oxidation, not entirely fair!

Stabilized forms of vitamin C have been invented to prevent oxidation. They are often referred to by complicated names, but it is actually nothing more than a vitamin C that has been modified so that it is less unstable. Commonly used forms of stabilized vitamin C are:

  • Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
  • Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate
  • Ascorbyl Palmitate
  • Tetrahexyl decyl scorbate

It is better to opt for a serum with stabilized vitamin C, so you can at least be sure that your vitamin C remains effective. Look for this on the ingredient list of the product. A disadvantage of stabilized vitamin C is that it is less easily absorbed by the skin. And although they oxidize much less quickly, they are not completely insensitive to oxidation. Therefore, choose a serum in an opaque, airtight bottle with a pump instead of a jar or glass bottle with a pipette, so that it does not have to be opened each time and exposed to light and oxygen.

What dosages should I use?
Contrary to what is often claimed, it is not necessarily necessary to use very high doses of vitamin C. It has been scientifically proven that vitamin C is also effective at low doses of 1 percent. It is best to choose a dosage of 4 to 20 percent. More is not always better, higher dosages can lead to additional irritation and a burning sensation. If you have sensitive skin, choose a vitamin serum with a lower dosage, for example 4 to 10 percent.

When to use vitamin C?
Vitamin C products can be used at any time of the day. As protection against external influences during the day. But also before going to sleep to nourish the skin, or as an after sun to reduce UV damage after a day in the sun. Vitamin C can improve the protection of sunscreen, but it is by no means a substitute for it. If you use a vitamin C serum during the day, spread a layer of sunscreen with a high SPF (factor) over it, especially if you choose a serum with the unstabilized form, because it oxidizes extra quickly under the influence of sunlight.

Can I use vitamin C with other skincare products?
Retinol
Contrary to what many articles online claim, vitamin C can very well be used at the same time as retinol. It is often claimed that retinol stops working when used at the same time as a vitamin C serum, because a vitamin C serum is often acidic and this reduces the effectiveness of retinol. But many recent studies have shown that vitamin C and retinol when used at the same time actually enhance each other's anti-aging effects. Some people with sensitive skin may experience extra irritation when combining retinol with vitamin C. If this is the case with you, it is better not to use it at the same time, but alternately, for example, one day of vitamin C and one day of retinol. or vitamin C in the morning and retinol in the evening.

AHA and BHA peelers
Vitamin C serums can be used with AHAs and BHAs, but this can cause additional irritation for some. In case of irritation it is better not to use it at the same time.

Niacinamide
It is also often said that niacinamide should not be combined with vitamin C products. This is mainly based on one old study from the 1960s. In this study, pure vitamin C was mixed with niacinamide and allowed to react with each other at a high temperature. Nicotinic acid was then formed, a substance that temporarily dilates the blood vessels and can cause a red face (flushing). This is unlikely to happen with serums that are stored at room temperature and certainly not with vitamin C serums that use stabilized forms of vitamin C. Again, combining can cause extra irritation if you have sensitive skin.

Benzoyl peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide, a popular anti-acne agent, causes vitamin C to be oxidized, rendering it ineffective. Therefore, do not use these products at the same time. If you want to use both, we recommend using Benzoyl Peroxide in the evening and Vitamin C Serum in the morning after washing your face.

Peptides
Vitamin C can be used at the same time as serums and creams with peptides.

In summary
In short, a vitamin C serum or cream is a must-have for your skincare routine and protects your skin from UV damage, stimulates collagen production and can reduce acne, pigmentation and scarring. Preferably choose a serum with a stabilized form of vitamin C, in an opaque bottle with a pump. You can see which form of vitamin C is in the ingredients list. Vitamin C already works at low doses, choose a dose of between 4 and 20 percent, and for a lower dose of, for example, 4 to 10 percent if you have sensitive skin. When you use a vitamin C serum during the day, use it in combination with a sunscreen with high SPF. A vitamin C product cannot be used simultaneously with benzoyl peroxide. It can be combined with most other popular skincare products, just don't do this if you experience extra irritation. Have fun and good luck in the search for your favorite vitamin C serum or face cream!

Sources

  • Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 27, Issue 4, Jul 2007, Pages 402–412.
  • Nutrients, Volume 9, Issue 8, 2017, Page 866.
  • Experimental Dermatology, Volume 12, Issue 3, Jun 2003, Pages 237-244.
  • 1 Journal of Experimental Dermatology, Volume 116, Issue 6, Jun 2001, Pages 853-859.
  • International Journal of Cosmetics Science, Volume 31, Issue 1, Feb 2009, Pages 41-46.
  • Indian Dermatology Online Journal. Volume 4, Issue 2, Apr-Jun 2013, Pages 143–146.
  • 15 International Journal of Cosmetics Science, Volume 27, Issue 3, Jue 2005, Pages 171-176.
  • Acta Derm Venereol, Volume 76, Issue 4, Jul 1996, Pages 264-268.

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