Although the health benefits provided by ingesting vitamin C have been known for decades (preventing diseases like scurvy, improving cardiovascular health, and providing essential benefits to people with anemia and iron deficiency), the growing popularity of topical application is now prompting people to ask: should I use a vitamin C serum for my skin?
Examining the ingredient list on cosmetics and beauty products is quickly becoming a habit for purchasers. But, things can get a little confusing when it comes to choosing the right product for your skin’s needs. Read on for insight on the benefits provided by the regular use of vitamin C in skincare.
Those magic words “anti-aging” have become synonymous with vitamin C because of its proven scientific benefits. And although it is an antioxidant well-known for its ability to collect free radicals, vitamin C is less known as an important component in the production of collagen in the skin. Collagen is essential for helping keep skin in optimum condition, and unfortunately levels of vitamin C decline as we get older and this has a negative effect on collagen production and our skin suffers as a result.
Studies have shown that vitamin C is absorbed through the skin and that topical application has beneficial effects. However the type of vitamin C used in the ingredient list of a beauty product is also very relevant.
But there is more to aging than just collagen and wrinkles because as we get older the density of the dermal papillae in skin decreases and this simply adds to the effect. What scientists have found though, is that topical application of ascorbic acid actually increases the density and so results in corrections normally associated with one of the aging processes.
Ascorbic acid, although a very effective form of Vitamin C, is also the least stable (most likely to degrade), meaning its active properties can be drastically reduced before you even get chance to apply it to your skin. In general, any form of vitamin C will be degraded by factors such as exposure to air, heat, or even light, especially in less stable formulations. But, certain types of this Vitamin are more hardy and stable than others.
Although there are numerous forms and derivatives of Vitamin C, one of the new generation of compounds is Ethyl ascorbate or Ethyl ascorbic acid. This version, unlike ascorbic acid, is stable - which means it is not prone to degrading as easily.
It also has a very high rate of absorption when applied topically as 80% of it converts into ascorbic acid. This makes it a great choice in serums and skincare products where potent vitamin C is desired.
So what else should you look for when trying to choose the ideal product? Well, with Vitamin C, the other ingredients can make a big difference in absorption, sensitivity and other factors.
Aloe vera makes a perfect natural addition to most skincare, and paired with Vitamin C, can make one of the best serums available. Aloe is a natural substance which needs little introduction regarding the benefits it provides to the skin. Whether you are looking for a natural moisturizer or a treatment for the relief of sunburn, people around the world know to turn to this plant for soothing, healing hydration. In a serum, it also helps reduce irritation and blemishes while nourishing and hydrating.
Although it might not sound like it, hyaluronic acid is a gentle, naturally occurring compound that exists in the human body and which is widely distributed throughout many of the tissues. Its function is to help retain the moisture which gives skin the natural, healthy plumpness that we often associate with youth. When you see hyaluronic acid added to a vitamin C serum ingredient list, then you’ll know you’re getting a product that will help skin retain the moisture it desperately needs (particularly as we age).
Green tea is another “must-have” component of the best vitamin C serum products on the market. Quite a bit of research attests to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of what was once considered to be just a very popular drink. Whether you ingest it or apply it topically, the polyphenols emerging as catechins are said to provide most of the benefits. Green tea is also (if not better) known for its protective capacity -- particularly against UV rays that age our skin.
When searching for the ideal vitamin C serum there is a lot more to it than would first appear. You need to get the right amount of the active compound, it needs to be in a form that is stable and less likely to degrade, and it needs to be formulated in the correct ratios.
The other compounds in the ingredient list are very important too in that they can provide protection from further damage and assist the vitamin C to enhance skin restoration. The inclusion of ingredients that help skin retain moisture and support cellular regeneration in more than one way helps ensure you're choosing the best vitamin C serum that benefits your skin in a profound way.