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Vitamin C in Skincare

Updated: June 14, 2023

One of the most popular skincare ingredients out there is Vitamin C. You may be used to eating Vitamin C. Think lemons, oranges, strawberries, mangos, and melons.

Not only is Vitamin C great for your overall health and immune system, it also has plenty of benefits on your skin.

This article will cover everything you need to know about Vitamin C:

  • What is Vitamin C
  • Eating vs Applying Vitamin C
  • Properly storing Vitamin C
  • How Vitamin C works on your skin
  • Vitamin C skin benefits
  • Types of Vitamin C

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin naturally found in many of our foods. This vitamin is essential for many functions in our body.

Research has shown Vitamin C is an effective ingredient in skincare as well. Dr. Neera Nathan at Massachusetts General Hospital states, "Topical vitamin C is a science-backed, dermatologist-favorite ingredient that may help slow early skin aging, prevent sun damage, and improve the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, and acne."

Eating vs Applying

Does eating Vitamin C have skin benefits?

When consuming Vitamin C, your skin receives a portion of the nutrients.

Applying it topically has been shown to be more effective for skin benefits. Studies show 10-20% of vitamin C is effective without causing irritation. A higher amount wonโ€™t increase benefits and may make your skin irritated.

Storing Vitamin C

Vitamin C is sensitive to air and light. Once exposed, it may break down and become less effective. Be sure to store your Vitamin C products in a dark and cool place. Some types of Vitamin C are not stable than others.

Ascorbic Acid is pure vitamin C but also one of the least stable forms in skincare. Look for packaging that is air-tight and sun-proof.

How does Vitamin C work?

Vitamin C is an important vitamin for many body functions. Your skin uses Vitamin C to create collagen and regulate collagen balance. It plays a role in reversing pigmentation by interrupting the process. Vitamin C also assists your skin in wound healing and minimizes scar formation.

Your skin can accumulate Vitamin C along with Vitamin E to offer a small boost in UV protection. However, this should not replace sunscreen.

Best use for Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is best used for brightening skin. It helps improve dark spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. It is also a key component in helping your skin produce collagen, thus making it effective in improving wrinkles and fine lines.

Vitamin C is also often used with Vitamin E. These two help stabilize each other and increase the benefits.

Vitamin C provides these benefits:

  • improve dark spots
  • improve acne scars
  • reduce hyperpigmentation from sun damage
  • reduce the signs of wrinkles.

Who should not use Vitamin C

In general, it is recommended not to use vitamin C skincare on children. Those with allergies or sensitive skin may find vitamin C irritating.

Mixing Vitamin C with other actives, such as acids, may sensitize skin. It is best to patch-test vitamin C.

Types of Vitamin C

These forms of Vitamin C all provide the same benefits. Some are more gentle or stable than others.

Start using Vitamin C

Be sure to look out for Vitamin C between 10%-20% and a low pH (lower than 3.5). These conditions are most used in studies relating to vitamin C in skincare. Any amount higher than 20% may irritate skin without providing an increase in benefits.

With SkinSort, you can easily find products containing Vitamin C. Browse through over 3,000 types of products including cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and more.

Further Learning

Curious as to why vitamin C has different names, such as ascorbic acid? Learn more about INCI naming convention in skincare.