Including a topical vitamin C serum to your skincare routine could also be a no brainer, however selecting the best one is a bit more sophisticated. For those who’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 various totally different types of vitamin C utilized in skincare, and which one you select undoubtedly issues.
On this submit, I’ll clarify the essential position vitamin C performs in wholesome pores and skin growing old and provide you with a information to a few of the commonest 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’ve got to get from exterior sources equivalent to meals or dietary supplements. Most of us get sufficient vitamin C by means of our weight-reduction plan, and extreme deficiency may be very unusual. That stated, because it’s wanted for thus many capabilities all through the physique, solely a small share of the vitamin C we ingest will make it to our pores and skin. That is why “supplementing” with a topical product is a good way to make sure your pores and skin is reaping all of the superb advantages vitamin C has to supply.
So, how precisely does topical vitamin C profit our pores and skin? There are three essential methods:
1. Vitamin C Protects Pores and skin Cells From Environmental Harm
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 harm and speed up pores and skin growing old. Free radicals are consistently 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 accountable 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 necessary.
Additionally, try this superb visible demonstration I did of how vitamin C slows down oxidation from free radical harm!
2. Vitamin C helps stop collagen breakdown and promotes more healthy collagen manufacturing.
After we speak about “anti-aging” in skincare, it’s typically 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 truth, after age 20, our pores and skin’s potential to replenish collagen decreases by about 1%-1.5% annually! 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 incredible device for managing hyperpigmentation problems equivalent to melasma.
What Is the Finest Type of Vitamin C in Pores and skin Care?
On the subject of vitamin C in skincare, there are two classes: energetic and inactive. The one energetic type 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 of inactive as a result of they should be transformed to L-ascorbic acid inside the pores and skin earlier than they’ll 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 of totally different molecules. These modified variations can both be an ester type of vitamin C, or they could be a totally different compound totally the place different parts are added to stabilize the ascorbyl group. You’ll discover that each one the inactive types I speak about have “ascorb” someplace within the title, which is how you realize it’s a sort of vitamin C (this may be helpful to know when studying ingredient labels).
As I stated, there are tons of various types of vitamin C utilized in skincare, so I’ll simply be protecting 4 of the commonest 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 capabilities that require vitamin C. Due to this, L-ascorbic acid has been researched extra totally than another kind of vitamin C in skincare. It’s been confirmed past a shadow of a doubt to work effectively as an antioxidant. We additionally understand it’s efficient for each collagen synthesis and evening-out hyperpigmentation.
For those who go for L-ascorbic acid, search for a serum that comprises between 8% and 20%. That is the vary through which research have proven it to be handiest. Your pores and skin solely takes in as a lot vitamin C because it wants, so going above 20% received’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 needs to react with virtually all the things in its atmosphere. This contains 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? That is why.)
A technique manufacturers and formulators fight this oxidation is by including different molecules equivalent 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’ll go dangerous. 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 must be at fairly a low pH to stay secure, so this could trigger pores and skin irritation (particularly in the event you use merchandise with components equivalent to retinol or exfoliating acids). This makes it a nasty match for delicate pores and skin sorts, and it additionally isn’t advisable in the event you battle with zits.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Subsequent up is our first inactive type of vitamin C, sodium ascorbyl phosphate. This vitamin C by-product is certainly extra secure than L-ascorbic acid however can nonetheless be fairly reactive. Because of this, it’s typically utilized in skincare formulation as an encapsulation. Primarily 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 presents the identical advantages as pure L-ascorbic acid, particularly in terms of pores and skin brightening and collagen synthesis. The bottom line 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 truly a fancy mix of many compounds slightly than only a easy vitamin C by-product. Additionally inactive, this type of vitamin C is a good instance of further parts being added as a way of stabilizing the extra unstable ascorbyl group.
On this case, the steadiness of vitamin C is enormously 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 immune to assault by free radicals within the first place.
Final however not least, we’ve got the inactive type tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD). This one is my private favourite and can be the famous person of my Vitamin C&E Remedy. What makes THD so totally different from the opposite forms 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 received’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 up to now. One other advantage of 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 may 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 types do. Once more, this could 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 a few of the most analysis behind it. One of many causes it’s so extremely studied is that it’s thought of a quasi-drug in Japan because of its potential to enhance pores and skin pigmentation problems. Fairly cool, proper? What’s thrilling to me about THD is that it’s truly been confirmed in research to be similar to L-ascorbic acid when it comes to efficacy and outcomes. It has a stellar observe file in terms of bettering hyperpigmentation, and it could 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 suggests it may be tougher to seek out in skincare merchandise than different, inexpensive types of vitamin C.
Be taught to Spot Types vs. Sources of Vitamin C
On a last observe, I’d prefer to shortly contact on the difficulty of types of vitamin C versus sources of vitamin C. All the components I’ve lined on this submit 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 received’t truly discover any type of vitamin C on the ingredient label. As an alternative, they’ll embody extracts of crops or fruits identified to be excessive in vitamin C. I’m not saying these components 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 approach to say for positive whether or not you’re truly getting any usable ascorbic acid from them.
Now that you realize extra about the very best forms of vitamin C, listed here are 5 qualities you must search for in an efficient vitamin C serum.
Movie star Esthetician & Skincare Skilled
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.”