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 sophisticated. If you happen to’ve ever hung out searching vitamin C serums on-line, you’ve in all probability seen the ingredient label by no means simply reads “vitamin C.” There are a lot of totally different types of vitamin C utilized in skincare, and which one you select positively issues.
On this put up, I’ll clarify the vital position vitamin C performs in wholesome pores and skin ageing and provide you with 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 an alternative, it’s one thing we now have to get from exterior sources corresponding to meals or dietary supplements. Most of us get sufficient vitamin C by our food regimen, and extreme deficiency may be very unusual. That mentioned, because it’s wanted for thus many features all through the physique, solely a small share of the vitamin C we ingest will make it to our pores and skin. Because of this “supplementing” with a topical product is a good way to make sure your pores and skin is reaping all of the wonderful advantages vitamin C has to supply.
So, how precisely does topical vitamin C profit our pores and skin? There are three principal 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 ageing. Free radicals are always coming at us from so many various sources, together with UV gentle from the solar, ozone, smoke, and air pollution (to call a number of). All of those are additionally chargeable 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, take a look at this wonderful visible demonstration I did of how vitamin C slows down oxidation from free radical injury!
2. Vitamin C helps forestall collagen breakdown and promotes more healthy collagen manufacturing.
After we speak about “anti-aging” in skincare, it’s usually in reference to an ingredient’s potential to stimulate collagen. That is no shock contemplating collagen performs such a key position in protecting pores and skin trying youthful. In actual fact, after age 20, our pores and skin’s potential to replenish collagen decreases by about 1%-1.5% every year! Enter: vitamin C. First, it helps shield the collagen you have already got by inhibiting a gaggle 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 potential 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 an ideal software for managing hyperpigmentation issues corresponding to melasma.
What Is the Greatest Type of Vitamin C in Pores and skin Care?
Relating to vitamin C in skincare, there are two classes: energetic and inactive. The one energetic kind 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-about inactive as a result of they need to be transformed to L-ascorbic acid inside the pores and skin earlier than they will get to work.
Inactive types of vitamin C are nonetheless constructed on the muse of L-ascorbic acid however have been modified to the purpose the place they’re thought-about totally different molecules. These modified variations can both be an ester type of vitamin C, or they could be a totally different compound fully the place different parts are added to stabilize the ascorbyl group. You’ll discover that each one the inactive varieties I speak about have “ascorb” someplace within the identify, which is how it’s a sort of vitamin C (this may be helpful to know when studying ingredient labels).
As I mentioned, there are tons of various types of vitamin C utilized in skincare, so I’ll simply be protecting 4 of the most typical 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 features that require vitamin C. Due to this, L-ascorbic acid has been researched extra completely than every other sort of vitamin C in skincare. It’s been confirmed past a shadow of a doubt to work effectively as an antioxidant. We additionally comprehend it’s efficient for each collagen synthesis and evening-out hyperpigmentation.
If you happen to go for L-ascorbic acid, search for a serum that accommodates between 8% and 20%. That is the vary by which 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% gained’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 desires to react with virtually every thing in its setting. This consists of gentle, warmth, oxygen, water, and metals. This implies the ascorbic acid in your serum has a excessive probability 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? Because of this.)
A method manufacturers and formulators fight this oxidation is by including different molecules corresponding to vitamin E or ferulic acid to their vitamin C serums. Each are confirmed to assist stabilize ascorbic acid and to make vitamin C more practical. Nonetheless, you must deplete any serums containing L-ascorbic acid fairly shortly, or they will go dangerous. A very good good friend of mine who’s a beauty chemist informed me she avoids formulating with L-ascorbic acid as a lot as she will because it’s so troublesome and unpredictable to stabilize.
Along with stability points, L-ascorbic acid has a excessive potential for irritation. It needs to be at fairly a low pH to stay secure, so this may trigger pores and skin irritation (particularly for those who use merchandise with substances corresponding to retinol or exfoliating acids). This makes it a foul match for delicate pores and skin varieties, and it additionally isn’t advisable for those who wrestle with pimples.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Subsequent up is our first inactive type of vitamin C, sodium ascorbyl phosphate. This vitamin C by-product is unquestionably extra secure than L-ascorbic acid however can nonetheless be fairly reactive. For that reason, it’s usually utilized in skincare formulation as an encapsulation. Basically 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 provides the identical advantages as pure L-ascorbic acid, particularly on the subject of pores and skin brightening and collagen synthesis. The secret is ensuring it’s secure inside the method and that it’s capable of successfully penetrate into the pores and skin.
Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate
This one is a little bit of a tongue tornado, and that’s as a result of it’s really a fancy mix of many compounds slightly than only a easy vitamin C by-product. Additionally inactive, this type of vitamin C is a superb instance of further parts being added as a method of stabilizing the extra unstable ascorbyl group.
On this case, the soundness of vitamin C is significantly 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 now have the inactive kind tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD). This one is my private favourite and can be the celebrity of my Vitamin C&E Remedy. 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 a substitute of water, it gained’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 probably 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 can even 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 varieties do. Once more, this may imply much less irritation.
Lastly, one of many causes I really 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-about a quasi-drug in Japan due to its potential 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 observe report on the subject of bettering hyperpigmentation, and it might 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 implies it may be more durable to search out in skincare merchandise than different, inexpensive types of vitamin C.
Be taught to Spot Kinds vs. Sources of Vitamin C
On a remaining word, I’d wish to shortly contact on the difficulty of varieties of vitamin C versus sources of vitamin C. All the substances I’ve coated on this put up 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 seen some manufacturers will promote merchandise marketed as containing vitamin C, however you gained’t really discover any type of vitamin C on the ingredient label. As an alternative, 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 solution to say for certain whether or not you’re really getting any usable ascorbic acid from them.
Now that extra about one of the best varieties of vitamin C, listed below are 5 qualities it’s best to search for in an efficient vitamin C serum.
Superstar Esthetician & Skincare Professional
As an esthetician educated 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 “probably the most passionate pores and skin practitioner we all know.”