Vitamin C In Skincare

vitamin c in skincare

Being touted as a solution for every skincare problem, companies often put Vitamin C or one of its derivatives in many of their products hoping to attract more customers. But what’s the truth about Vitamin C? Is it really effective or just another hyped up ingredient?

Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis. Collagen is a fiber that makes skin elastic and its reduction leads to the formation of wrinkles.
In addition, Vitamin C boosts the immune system and is also a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals, which cause premature aging too. But that’s not all. It can reduce hyperpigmentation, and help protect skin against UV damage.

Cons of Vitamin C

Despite its many benefits, the use of Vitamin C in skincare products has a few problems. First of all, to be effective this ingredient has to penetrate deep into the skin and not just lie on the surface. But for that to happen, not only Vitamin C needs to be in an acidic environment, but it has to be present in high concentrations in a product. Most products available on the market, however, don’t contain enough Vitamin C and those that do tend to be expensive. In addition, using products that contain big quantities of Vitamin C can cause irritations to people with sensitive skin.

Another downside of Vitamin C is that, when exposed to light and air, it oxidizes, losing its effectiveness. In addition, that may actually generate more free radicals! Because of this, it is recommend to buy products that have dark packaging and avoid those that come  in jars as they expose the products to light and air. Also, store the product properly as stated on the label and, if it changes color and becomes yellowish-brown, throw it away.

Get Vitamin C from food

If you don’t want to buy an expensive Vitamin C product, don’t worry. Eating food rich in Vitamin C like oranges, tangerines, or blueberries, will give you all the Vitamin C you need. But don’t overdo it! Research shows that an overload of Vitamin C won’t produce more collagen.

It is also important to note that Vitamin C is not the only antioxidant that works great for the skin: Vitamins A and E, lycopene and grape extract have good antioxidant properties too. And using several antioxidants instead than just the one, doesn’t matter how well-publicized it is, will benefit the skin more.

Do you use moisturizers or serums with Vitamin C?

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  1. says

    This is rather interesting. There has always been much controversy of the benefits and efficacy of ingested vitamins versus topical vitamins. Take for example Collagen. We have collagen added to a number off our creams, salves and serums. In Japan and Asia they sell Collagen in drinks with the reasoning that collagen can not be absorbed into the deeper layers our of epidermis making the stuff you slap on your face almost useless. Meiji even goes to state that their marine based Collagen powder has a higher absorbency rate when mixed in with your drink. Is this true? Do they really work faster than topical solutions? Or do some vitamins, when ingested, go to other places than the ones you intend them for?
    .-= Saintangelius´s last blog ..Absence makes the heart grow fonder… =-.

  2. beautifulwithbrains says

    Shuu: that’s right, too much is usually never good. :)

    Jamilla Camel: that’s a nice approach. Vitamin B3 has great benefits for the skin, including antioxidant properties. Using them together will probably enhance their benefits.

    Saintangelius: Skin is designed to keep everything out and for this reason, despite what companies claim, ingredients applied topically usually stay on the surface of the skin, which is made of dead cells. Creams do moisturize and prevent water loss but that’s it. To do more, the ingredients will have to penetrate deep into the living cells of the skin and only very few substances can do that. That’s why it’s better to get vitamins, proteins and everything else our bodies need from food than a cream.
    Vitamin C can penetrate deep into the skin but for it to do so, it has to be present in high concentrations in the product. If it is listed towards the end of the ingredient list, it won’t do anything. But if you eat an orange a day for example, your body will have all the Vitamin C it needs for collagen synthesis.
    As for collagen, there is no proof that applying it on the skin has anti-aging benefits. It will moisturize the skin but nothing more. The same is true if you drink it. It may plump your skin a bit but won’t help with wrinkles.

  3. says

    I concur.
    On the one hand, people do not realise that vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and thus anything not used is excreted in urine, so it must be taken daily. On the other, it’s really really easy to get.

    The RDA for vitamin C is 60mg a day, the average sized kiwi contains 48mg of vitamin C – well over half the daily recommended allowance. Of course, the RDA is a MINIMUM required for health and you can safely exceed it many times over.

    Worth mentioning, however, that taking in amounts of vitamin C over 10,000mg a day has shown to contribute to the production of form radicals (like free radicals, but complete groups of oxidised cells) which are also a considerable health risk. So yes, all things in moderation. Personally I wouldn’t exceed 1000mg a day, but I’ve sold vit C to patients fighting cancer before who’ve taken 5000-8000mg daily.
    .-= Anastasia´s last blog ..Sliced Bread Isn’t Actually All That Great =-.

  4. beautifulwithbrains says

    Thank you for sharing Ana. I agree with you that too much Vitamin can cause damage. I’ve never been too worried about it as the body simply eliminates any excess, but then I’d never take that much! I would never recommend that, too much of a good thing is never good and may actually cause more harm.

  5. says

    When it comes to getting the right vitamins for your skin i feel it’s always a good idea to work from the inside out, most of the time it’s cheaper too, a combination of foods high in a vitamin plus a top up with supplements is affordable and will compliment the skincare products used.

    Selenium is another good antioxidant.
    .-= Beauty Able´s last blog ..Get Rid Of Blackheads With Pore Cleansing Strips =-.

  6. beautifulwithbrains says

    I agree with you Beauty Able. I think the body benefits more getting vitamins by eating foods rich in them than from topical creams. It’s definitely cheaper considering that most skincare products don’t contain concentrations high enough to provide benefits for the skin.

  7. Joscelyn says

    Hi, I love your blog thanks for sharing so much information with us, I have a question, i’ve seen youtube videos of people making homemade vitamin c serums and i wonder if it really works since it needs to penetrate deep into the skin, i was thinking about buying one of those products that claim to have pure vitamin c, but they are so expensive for me, so i was hoping i could made my own serum, do you think it is worth it? thank you :)

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Joscelyn, hi and thank you for your kind words. I’ve partially answered this question on the glycerin page, but basically I believe that, when it comes to Vitamin C, it’s better to spend a bit more and buy a product properly formulated with it rather than try to make your own. It’s very difficult to stabilize Vitamin C and, when unstable, it oxidizes (ie lose its effectiveness) really quickly. You would also need to use a concentration that’s high enough to penetrate the skin but not so high to cause irritations, which isn’t easy either. Hope this helps.

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