Updated: Jan 26
Vitamin C is one of the favourite ingredients for skin care and for good reason too! From slowing down our skin's ageing to giving a glow to dull skin, it performs a myriad of functions. What exactly are the benefits of Vitamin C for your skin? And which Vit C skin care products can you use in your skin care regime?
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water soluble vitamin and needs to be consumed daily as it is not produced by the body.It is present in fresh fruits and vegetables but cooking destroys it. Oranges, Lemons, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Spinach are all rich sources of this Vitamin. The Daily Value for vitamin C is 90 mg per day, but breastfeeding women need an extra 30 mg and people who smoke need an extra 35 mg per day.It’s easy to meet your vitamin C needs through your diet as long as you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. For example, a medium orange provides 77% of the daily requirement, and 1 cup of cooked broccoli provides 112% of the daily requirement. .
How does it affect immunity?
In these COVID times, the importance of Vitamin C couldn't be stressed more.Vitamin C affects your immune health in several ways.
1.Its antioxidant activity decreases inflammation, which helps to improve your immune function.
2.The vitamin also boosts the activity of phagocytes, immune cells that can “swallow” harmful bacteria and other particles.
3. It promotes the growth and spread of lymphocytes, the immune cells that secretes your circulating antibodies.
Forms of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is available in many forms like tablets,intravenous, topical(serums,creams,lotions etc).
The Daily Value for vitamin C is 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women, but breastfeeding women need an extra 30 mg and people who smoke need an extra 35 mg per day.
The amount of Vitamin C most people can consume daily without negative effects is 2,000 mg (2g).
Most vitamin C supplements provide a daily dose of anywhere from 250–1,000 mg.
What does it do for the skin?
It does the following:
Powerful Antioxidant: Sunlight, pollution, UV rays and other environmental aggressors create free radicals in the skin that damage it. Vitamin C neutralises them and protects us from free radicals.
Photoprotective: It shields us from the harmful rays of the sun thereby minimising the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots.
Anti Aging:It increases collagen production and keeps our skin soft and supple.
Anti pigmentary:It inhibits tyrosinase- the enzyme involved in production of melanin( the pigment that gives skin its colour) and thus fades hyperpigmentation and brightens the skin tone.
Replenishes Vitamin E levels and acts together to prevent oxidative damage.
Although you’re probably getting vitamin C in your diet, there’s no way to guarantee that it’s going straight to your skin. Using serums and other topical products is the most direct way to reap these benefits.
The most important factor that decides how well your Vit C product is going to work is the form of Vitamin C in the product. L-Ascorbic Acid is the active form of Vitamin C in the skin and is the most effective and the most researched.However, it can be slightly irritating due to its low pH. It is also highly unstable - oxidises rapidly on exposure to sunlight, air, heat and changes in pH.
Among the topical formulations, serums are the most effective as they deliver high concentrations of Vitamin C.
Ingredients that work well with Vitamin C are antioxidants like Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid which make the Vitamin C more stable, hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and sunscreens.
Though persons vary in their tolerance,when multiple irritating actives are used together,there is always risk for reactions.Products containing retinols (Vitamin A derivatives),alpha and beta hydroxy acids and benzoyl peroxide are not to be mixed with Vitamin C. Consider using them on alternating days rather than at the same time.
How to store a Vitamin C product?
1.Keep it in a cool, dark place away from light and air -- both can hurt the ingredients. Choose a product in a dark-colored container to protect it.
2.Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight.
3.Close the lid tightly after each use.
How and when to use Vitamin C?
It can be used either in the morning or evening, whichever is practical for you. Lower concentrations can be used twice daily and higher concentrations once daily.
Tips for using topical Vitamin C:
1.If you have sensitive skin,it is always better to patch test it before using it on the face.Select a small area of skin that’s easy to conceal, like your forearm.Apply a small amount of product and wait 24 hours.If no side effects occur, you can apply to your face.
2.Start with using it thrice a week and then slowly increase the dosage as tolerated.
3.Apply directly on skin to get maximum benefits.
4.Concentrations between 5%and 20% are effective.Lower than that might not bring the desired results, and higher could irritate your skin.For sensitive skins,start at a lower concentration.
5.If there is any burning,stinging, redness or irritation after using, discontinue usage.