Now that we’ve busted open common skincare myths, discovered the the right way to wash your face, and taken a deep dive into exfoliation, it’s time to get into the good stuff: ACTIVE INGREDIENTS. Active ingredients come in all sorts of skincare products, but most commonly, you’ll find them in serums. These serums deliver powerful active ingredients directly into your skin in potent concentrations which can be crucial in restoring and improving your overall skin health. Today, I’m going to dive deep into one of the most important active ingredients: Vitamin C.
We’ve all heard of Vitamin C and its role in promoting a healthy immune system, but this vitamin also plays a pivotal role in the health of your skin with a long list of clinically-proven benefits. According to the Cleveland Clinic (and innumerable other highly-reputable sources), Vitamin C is the only anti-oxidant that is scientifically proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen, minimizing fine lines, scars, and wrinkles. In addition to stimulating collagen production, Vitamin C can also reverse and prevent damage due to photoaging, reduce hyperpigmentation and brighten the skin. It is no wonder Vitamin C has become a holy grail ingredient in cult skincare products and is a must-have step in any skincare routine.
Vitamin C is naturally found in both the dermis and epidermis of the skin but as we age, the amount of vitamin C in our skin can decrease substantially which can make skin look dull, wrinkled, and dry. To restore the optimal level of Vitamin C in the skin, you can apply a vitamin C product topically to the surface of the skin. When applied topically, this potent product can travel past the epidermis into deeper layers of the skin.
Due to the popularity of Vitamin C, there are many serums and other skincare products on the market containing this active ingredient, but not all Vitamin C serums are created equal. Currently, my favorite Vitamin C product is the Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum. This serum contains the highest concentration and most stable formulation of L-Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) along with Lactic Acid (a powerful AHA).
Vitamin C is something I use year-round, but its benefits are especially powerful in the summer and other periods when my skin has increased exposure to the sun. Due to its powerful antioxidant properties, Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals that are caused by sun exposure and other environmental pollutants. UV radiation is a major trigger of free radicals in the skin and while adequate sunscreen is a non-negotiable any day of the week (make sure yours has both UVA and UVB protection!), Vitamin C has become a must-have addition to my daily skincare routine as well.
How do I incorporate it into my skincare routine? Vitamin C is unstable and can oxidize quickly when exposed to light so you want to make sure you store your serum in a cool, dark place to limit oxidization (this is true for most skincare products!). Vitamin C is safe to use in conjunction with other antioxidants, AHAs, sunscreen and retinoids, but it is water-soluble, so make sure to apply the serum BEFORE facial oils or oil-soluble acids. I apply the serum every morning after using an acid toner, before moisturizer. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to use this in lieu of an acid toner as the use of two acidic products may cause irritation for some (and the Vitamin C and Lactic Acid in this product provide acid exfoliation as well). For me, using the products together doesn’t irritate my skin, and the combination is great because the extra acid exfoliation actually enhances the efficacy of the Vitamin C product.
Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!