Are you thinking about adding vitamin C to your skincare routine? Or have you already been using it for a while but not sure if you’re using it right? Here are some helpful tips to maximize vitamin C skincare benefits.
The benefits of vitamin C for the skin are well documented.
There are so many articles out there — a lot of them written by renowned dermatologists — that call vitamin C a holy grail product, a powerhouse skincare ingredient.
Vitamin C skincare benefits include:
- Evening out skin tone and diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Brightening skin and helping reduce the appearance of dark spots
- Smoothening out skin’s rough texture, including acne scars
- And just giving you that much sought-after glow
Bottomline: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that definitely deserves a place in your skincare routine.
There’s a few things to keep in mind to really maximize its benefits though. Let’s get to it.
Who can use vitamin C?
Everyone can benefit from vitamin C, whatever your skin type.
In general, however, people with sensitive skin should be careful when adding any kind of ingredient to their skincare routine.
Not sure if your skin can tolerate vitamin C?
Skin patch testing is a good way to see if your skin would react negatively to certain products. Check out my post on how to introduce new skincare products to your skincare routine for more information.
If all goes well, it’s also better to start with lower concentrations of vitamin C, use it once week and go from there, giving your skin time to build a tolerance for it.
Best form of vitamin C for skin
We’re probably all familiar with the vitamin C that we drink to nourish our bodies, but topical vitamin C for our skin is a little bit more complicated (and confusing) than that.
It comes in many forms, but the most common one is ascorbic acid (or L-ascorbic acid). It has the most skin-related research of any form of vitamin C.
“When properly formulated at a pH of less than 4 (2.6-3.2 is the ideal range), this form helps create younger-looking, firmer-feeling skin while fading signs of uneven skin tone and spots. Ascorbic acid also helps skin’s surface defend itself from free radicals and external stressors, lessening the effects of exposure to the elements.
Other beneficial forms that have notable research demonstrating their efficacy include sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, 3-O ethyl ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl glucoside.”
Best kind of vitamin C product to use
Vitamin C is delivered in different ways too. Vitamin C serums are the most popular (like this Vitamin C Serum from Wishtrend); but I’ve also tried vitamin C moisturizers (like Skin & Lab C Plus Brightening), toners and spot correctors (like Melano CC Vitamin C).
There are different concentrations and potencies as well. It can go from a low of 5% to a high of 25-30%.
The product you choose depends on what works best for your skin and your skin concerns.
For example, serums are generally more concentrated than moisturizers but for some, the concentration of vitamin C in a moisturizer might be enough.
And if you have sensitive skin, you might want to stick with 5%. If you have more serious skin concerns like acne marks or general dullness, you might want to (carefully and slowly) experiment with higher concentrations.
How to add vitamin C to your skincare routine
How you add vitamin C to your skincare routine depends on what kind of vitamin C product you choose to go with.
- Apply vitamin C toners after cleansing
- Vitamin C serums after toner but before moisturizer
- And vitamin C moisturizers after serums but before sunscreen in the morning, or as the last step in your regimen at night
When to use vitamin C
Speaking of morning, yes, you can use vitamin C in the morning. There’s a misconception that you can’t use it in the morning because it makes skin extra sensitive.
However, you maximize vitamin C’s skincare benefits more in the morning — when UV radiation is at its peak — because it helps neutralize free radicals and it works with your sunscreen for that extra layer of protection against UV damage.
Always wear sunscreen during the day, whether you applied vitamin C or not.
Products not to use vitamin C with
Vitamin C is pretty safe and generally well-tolerated. However, try to avoid mixing it with retinoids and benzoyl peroxide in the same routine.
Using vitamin C with retinol may cause over exfoliation, resulting in increased skin and sun sensitivity. While using it with benzoyl peroxide renders the effects of both ingredients less potent because benzoyl peroxide will oxidize vitamin C.
To be safe, use vitamin C in the morning and retinol or benzoyl peroxide at night; or on alternate days.
How about vitamin C and niacinamide?
If you find yourself immersed in skincare forums and review boards like me, you’ve most likely come upon multiple discussions that say vitamin C and niacinamide are not friends.
That the use of one will neutralize the effectiveness of the other; and using both in the same routine might even lead to redness and skin irritation.
However, new research suggests that using both products in the same routine is actually a pretty powerful combination for brighter complexion. Yay for us!
How to store vitamin C
Vitamin C products are typically sold in dark and opaque bottles or containers that you can close pretty tightly because it’s sensitive to light and air.
When exposed, it oxidizes, changes colour from colourless to yellow or light brown, and becomes less effective.
So make sure to store your vitamin C products properly. I keep my vitamin C serums in the deepest recesses of my drawer and I make sure to close the bottle tightly after every use.
Start using it today!
Vitamin C is an amazing ingredient and when used right, can do wonders for our skin.
The change doesn’t happen overnight (nothing ever does), but sooner rather than later, you will start to notice your skin is clearer, brighter, happier!
If unsure, it’s always best to check with your dermatologist.
Watch out for product reviews in the following weeks; I’ve been testing different kinds of vitamin C products and I can’t wait to share my findings with you.
Happy skin experimenting!
Do you use vitamin C in your skincare routine? What kind? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.