Vitamin C is an essential part of a well-rounded anti-aging skin care routine. Applying vitamin C as a serum targets its benefits, letting you deliver a concentrated form right to your skin.
With an abundance of skin care products currently available, you want to make sure that what you’re using is as effective as possible. So while you may understand the benefits of a good cleanser, exfoliator, and moisturizer, Vitamin C benefits for skin might not be as obvious. Maybe you’re hesitant to add another step to your skin care routine, and want to make sure that any additional products are completely necessary. Don’t second guess yourself: Vitamin C is an essential part of a well-rounded anti-aging skin care routine, with both internal and external benefits for your skin.
So to start, what is it exactly? Vitamin Cis an antioxidant that is necessary for a variety of functions in humans: it’s essential for growth, development, and the repair of damaged tissues, as well as making sure your immune system is healthy. Humans need to get their Vitamin C from food sources such as kale, strawberries, broccolior citrus fruits, but there is a limit to how much of it can be absorbed into your body. So no matter how many kale and strawberry smoothies or broccoli casseroles you knockback, the most effective way for Vitamin C to have a positive effect on your skin is when it is applied topically.
Christine Lee, the National Spa Educator for /skin regimen/, summarizes why topical vitamin C serum is such an effective anti-aging tool: “It’s a powerful antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and reduces discoloration, which are all important factors in the fight against aging.” At the most basic level of skin care, vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps your skin protect itself against stressors such as UV rays and pollution, while also neutralizing free radicals. Dermatologist Patricia Wexler emphasizes this point, explaining that it “aids in your skin’s natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells.” Applying Vitamin C as a serum targets its benefits, letting you deliver a concentrated form right to your skin.
Just like how skin care isn’t a one-size-fits-all routine, Vitamin C is available in several different forms: although they work toward the same end goal, some of the main differences between them include varying degrees of stability, potency, and likelihood for causing skin sensitivity. Understanding the differences between each form and the individual Vitamin C benefits for skin will let you choose the right fit for your specific needs.
Since different forms of Vitamin C have varying stability, it’s often beneficial to add additional ingredients to help keep it balanced. And just as we know using a serum before your daily moisturizer boosts its effectiveness, these ingredients have the same positive outcome for the benefits of vitamin C serum.
So now that you’ve had a crash course in the science behind vitamin C serums, here’s why you need to make it an essential part of your skin care routine. These are the main vitamin C benefits for skin:
Most people know to incorporate a daily sunscreen into their skin care routine, but the fight against sun damage can go a little further. Sun damage is caused by free radicals, which are atoms with a missing electron. In the process of the free radicals “taking” electrons from the atoms in your skin, you end up with sun damage. The antioxidants in ingredients such as vitamin C act as a kind of electron middleman for your skin: by providing the missing electrons the free radicals need, they protect your skin from any further sun damage.
Hyperpigmentation can be caused by acne scarring, sun damage, or most commonly, the overproduction of melanin in the skin. The effect that vitamin C has on these dark areas and brown spots are twofold: not only can it help to lighten and correct these areas of your skin, but it also helps to inhibit future melanin production. We’ve already discussed how vitamin C protects your skin against sun damage, and this is an additional measure to ensure a healthy, bright and even skin tone.
Collagen and elastin are two protein fibers that help keep your skin looking plump, youthful and firm, and their decreased presence can mean visibly aged and tired-looking skin with fine lines. Topical vitamin C helps to trigger collagen production in the skin: because it’s acidic, your skin thinks it’s being damaged and that it needs to start the healing process. This sensory trigger, therefore, accelerates the production of collagen and elastin, meaning younger and healthier-looking skin for you.
A Foolproof Vitamin C Skin Care Routine
Are you feeling like a vitamin C expert yet? Once you’ve found the right derivative for your skin type and understand the skin issues you’d like it to correct, follow this general skin care routine to maximize its effectiveness. A general rule for applying different skin care products is to work from the thinnest to the thickest consistency: this lets the “thinner” products (like most serums) have their chance to absorb into the skin before you apply “thicker” products (like a rich moisturizer) on top of them.
As is the case with any new skin care products, you should always do a targeted patch test before applying it to your face and neck. If you’re going to experience any sensitivity or negative reaction, it’s better to learn that before you’ve covered your entire face. When choosing your vitamin C serum, try to start with a lower concentration, then move into stronger percentages after seeing how your skin reacts to it. While it could take a while for you to see results, it’s important to apply your vitamin C serum consistently as a part of your daily skin care routine. Other products may give you something that looks more “immediate,” but the long term benefits will be well worth sticking to a consistent routine.
It’s amazing to consider how big of a difference a little vitamin C serum can have on the overall look and health of your skin. On its own, this antioxidant powerhouse corrects hyperpigmentation, protects against sun damage from free radicals, and boosts collagen production. And when paired with additional ingredients like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide, you get an even more impactful asset when you’re working to counteract the signs of aging. So even though anti-aging skin care routines are adaptable to suit different skin types and textures, consider adding a vitamin C serum into your lineup and reap the healthy, glowy benefits.
By Lauren Hannel, staff contributor