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 difficult. When you’ve ever hung out searching vitamin C serums on-line, you’ve most likely observed the ingredient label by no means simply reads “vitamin C.” There are numerous totally different types of vitamin C utilized in skincare, and which one you select positively issues.
On this submit, I’ll clarify the essential function vitamin C performs in wholesome pores and skin getting older 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 a substitute, it’s one thing we’ve got to get from exterior sources corresponding to meals or dietary supplements. Most of us get sufficient vitamin C by means of our weight loss program, and extreme deficiency may be very unusual. That mentioned, because it’s wanted for therefore many capabilities all through the physique, solely a small proportion of the vitamin C we ingest will make it to our pores and skin. This is the reason “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 fundamental methods:
1. Vitamin C protects pores and skin cells from environmental injury.
This most likely 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 injury and speed up pores and skin getting older. Free radicals are continuously coming at us from so many various sources, together with UV mild from the solar, ozone, smoke, and air pollution (to call a couple 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 essential.
Additionally, try this superb visible demonstration I did of how vitamin C slows down oxidation from free radical injury!
2. Vitamin C helps forestall collagen breakdown and promotes more healthy collagen manufacturing.
After we speak about “anti-aging” in skincare, it’s usually in reference to an ingredient’s skill to stimulate collagen. That is no shock contemplating collagen performs such a key function in conserving pores and skin trying youthful. In truth, after age 20, our pores and skin’s skill to replenish collagen decreases by about 1%-1.5% every year! Enter: vitamin C. First, it helps defend the collagen you have already got by inhibiting a bunch 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 skill 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 issues corresponding to melasma.
What Is the Greatest Type of Vitamin C in Pores and skin Care?
In the case of vitamin C in skincare, there are two classes: energetic and inactive. The one energetic kind is L-ascorbic acid, which is the bioavailable type of vitamin C (that means the shape our pores and skin is ready to use). All different types of vitamin C are thought-about inactive as a result of they need to be transformed to L-ascorbic acid inside the pores and skin earlier than they will get to work.
Inactive types of vitamin C are nonetheless constructed on the inspiration of L-ascorbic acid however have been modified to the purpose the place they’re thought-about totally different molecules. These modified variations can both be an ester type of vitamin C, or they could be a totally different compound solely the place different elements are added to stabilize the ascorbyl group. You’ll discover that every one the inactive varieties I speak about have “ascorb” someplace within the title, which is how you realize it’s a kind of vitamin C (this may be useful to know when studying ingredient labels).
As I mentioned, there are tons of various types of vitamin C utilized in skincare, so I’ll simply be overlaying 4 of the most typical 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 completely than every other kind of vitamin C in skincare. It’s been confirmed past a shadow of a doubt to work properly as an antioxidant. We additionally realize it’s efficient for each collagen synthesis and evening-out hyperpigmentation.
When you go for L-ascorbic acid, search for a serum that accommodates between 8% and 20%. That is the vary by which research have proven it to be simplest. 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 desires to react with virtually all the pieces in its atmosphere. This contains mild, 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? This is the reason.)
A technique manufacturers and formulators fight this oxidation is by including different molecules corresponding 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, it’s a must to deplete any serums containing L-ascorbic acid fairly rapidly, or they will go unhealthy. A superb good friend of mine who’s a beauty chemist instructed 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 will trigger pores and skin irritation (particularly if you happen to use merchandise with elements corresponding to retinol or exfoliating acids). This makes it a foul match for delicate pores and skin varieties, and it additionally isn’t really useful if you happen to battle with pimples.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Subsequent up is our first inactive type of vitamin C, sodium ascorbyl phosphate. This vitamin C by-product is unquestionably extra secure than L-ascorbic acid however can nonetheless be fairly reactive. For that reason, it’s usually utilized in skincare formulation as an encapsulation. Basically 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 affords the identical advantages as pure L-ascorbic acid, particularly in the case of pores and skin brightening and collagen synthesis. The secret’s ensuring it’s secure inside the system 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 really a fancy mix of many compounds moderately than only a easy vitamin C by-product. Additionally inactive, this type of vitamin C is a good instance of extra elements being added as a method of stabilizing the extra risky ascorbyl group.
On this case, the soundness of vitamin C is significantly elevated by the addition of silanol. The silanol additionally aids in pores and skin penetration, that 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 kind tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD). This one is my private favourite and can also be the celebrity of my Vitamin C&E Therapy. What makes THD so totally different from the opposite varieties 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 to date. 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 subsequently an extended window of safety.
The slow-release may also 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 varieties do. Once more, this will imply much less irritation.
Lastly, one of many causes I 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-about a quasi-drug in Japan because of its skill to enhance pores and skin pigmentation issues. Fairly cool, proper? What’s thrilling to me about THD is that it’s really been confirmed in research to be corresponding to L-ascorbic acid when it comes to efficacy and outcomes. It has a stellar observe file in the case 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 implies it may be tougher to search out in skincare merchandise than different, inexpensive types of vitamin C.
Study to Spot Types vs. Sources of Vitamin C
On a ultimate notice, I’d wish to rapidly contact on the problem of varieties of vitamin C versus sources of vitamin C. The entire elements I’ve coated on this submit are types of vitamin C, that 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 observed some manufacturers will promote merchandise marketed as containing vitamin C, however you received’t really discover any type of vitamin C on the ingredient label. As a substitute, they’ll embody extracts of crops or fruits recognized to be excessive in vitamin C. I’m not saying these elements are unhealthy 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 method to say for certain whether or not you’re really getting any usable ascorbic acid from them.
Now that you realize extra about the most effective varieties of vitamin C, listed here are 5 qualities it is best to 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 information and fixed analysis are why Marie Claire calls her “probably the most passionate pores and skin practitioner we all know.”