Vitamin C serums are one third of the holy trinity of skincare products for a reason: they work. Along with sunscreen and retinol, any dermatologist will be quick to tell you that vitamin C is an essential must in every basic skin care routine.
So, what makes vitamin C so great? The antioxidant treats a number of common skincare concerns including dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin texture. While vitamin C is extremely effective, you'll only see results if you're using it correctly. And just like any other skincare ingredient, it comes with some dos and dont's.
To get the best information, we turned to articles from board-certified dermatologists Dr. Michelle Henry and Dr. Lily Talakoub to break down the skincare benefits of vitamin C, along with how to properly incorporate it into your routine.
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, which can lead to premature signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. In other words: Antioxidants help keep skin healthy by preventing or reducing damage to skin cells by reactive molecules, aka free radicals. "The antioxidant activity of vitamin C protects against UV-induced damage caused by free radicals, which will prevent accelerated aging and skin cancer," explains Dr. Henry. It also boosts firmness by regulating collagen production.
The antioxidant can be used to treat dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Dr. Henry says that vitamin C can have lightening effects because it interferes with the enzymes used in melanin production.
How Can You Add Vitamin C to Your Routine?
First off, there's multiple forms of vitamin C. Ascorbate and ascorbic acid are naturally occurring forms of the antioxidants, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate is a synthetic, stable, water-soluble form of vitamin C that's produced to use in skincare products.
When shopping for a vitamin C skincare product keep the following in mind: L-Ascorbic Acid is the most beneficial and effective of all forms. Because vitamin c is an ingredient that spoils easily with exposure to air or light, The Best Skincare's bestselling serum C+ E+ Ferulic Peptide Serum uses L-Ascorbic Acid encapsulated in liposomes to ensure stability and protect against degradation.
C+ E+ Ferulic Peptide Serum is a water-soluble Vitamin C that reaches deep into the dermal layer of cells by a power-charged delivery for a maximum amount of antioxidant and anti-aging benefits to the skin. Ferulic Acid stabilizes fragile antioxidants such as the highly-oxidative vitamin C so it is the perfect combination in this serum, and the added Ferulic Acid actually makes other skincare ingredients work harder and last longer. Learn more about C+ E+ Ferulic Peptide Serum by clicking here.
Dr. Henry recommends that you use vitamin C products twice a day, and recommends including one in your morning routine before your sunblock and before your natural retinol or night rejuvenate cream at night.
What Are the Side Effects of Using Vitamin C?
Unless you have a specific allergy, vitamin C is an ingredient that's safe for all skin types. However, there are some ingredients you shouldn't mix with this super-powered antioxidant. Using vitamin C and a medical-grade prescribed retinol together can cause skin irritation and deactivate the ingredients, which makes them ineffective.
"Retinoids, Retinols, and Retin-A's should not be mixed with vitamin C at the same time as their efficacy may be reduced as they function optimally in environments of very different pH levels," says Dr. Henry. That's why she recommends using vitamin C in the morning only, and reserving your retinol for nighttime use.