It protects against free radicals, smoothes tired features and brightens dull complexions. It is the ultimate radiance booster. Where does it come from? Why incorporate vitamin C products it into your beauty routine? Are there any risks or precautions to take?
Vitamin C: Overview.
Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is essential to the proper functioning of the metabolism but is not produced by it. It is essential to provide it to the body through food (citrus fruits, chestnuts, spinach, peppers, strawberries…) and food supplements. According to the health authorities, to be in good health, it is important to absorb about 200 mg per day. Vitamin C is essential because it stimulates the immune system and tissue repair and contributes to bone development. Moreover, a long deficiency in ascorbic acid (about 3 months) can lead to a fatal disease called “Scurvy”, characterized by a significant bleeding syndrome.
Several studies agree that the epidermis is often deficient in vitamin C; this is because only 1/3 of this molecule absorbed by the body is found in the skin. Moreover, when applied topically, vitamin C is much more effective for the skin than when ingested orally. Hence, the success of cosmetic products formulated with this active ingredient.
Vitamin C in skincare has many benefits, including helping to produce collagen, brightening the complexion and protecting the skin from damage caused by sun exposure and harmful free radicals. This powerful antioxidant is found in many serums, facial cleansers, oils, and moisturizers. It also has excellent hair care benefits.
The Different Forms of Vitamin C.
Pure vitamin C, i.e., L-ascorbic acid, is the one that gives the best results in terms of overall improvement of the skin and its complexion. Nevertheless, its acidic pH around 3.5 must be kept in a cosmetic formula in order to avoid oxidation problems.
As this parameter can be restrictive, certain derivatives of vitamin C are used such as “Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate”, “Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate”, “Ascorbyl Palmitate”, “Tetrahexyldecyl Palmitate”, “Ascorbyl Glucoside” or “3-0 Ethyl Ascorbate”.
The Benefits of Vitamin C for the Skin:
When applied to the skin, there will be a vitamin C before and after, as it is much more effective than when ingested through food.
As an antioxidant, it slows down skin aging. By acting on the epidermis, it strengthens the skin barrier and neutralizes the free radicals generated by pollution, stress, or exposure to the sun;
It improves the appearance of the dermis and epidermis by regulating excess melanin for a visibly luminous complexion;
It boosts the production of keratinocytes in order to optimize the elasticity of the skin and shrink the pores;
It reduces wrinkles by fighting cell inflammation and increasing the density of the dermal papillae;
It improves blood circulation and oxygenation of the skin to boost the healing process and cell renewal.
It helps to reduce and prevent dark circles under the eyes by strengthening the skin, which is generally thinner in this area of the face. Its action conceals the underlying blood vessels helping to visibly reduce puffiness.
It accelerates the production of collagen, responsible for the firmness and elasticity of the skin.
Vitamin C and Side Effects.
Vitamin C is generally safe for skin and also when consumed in food. However, people with sensitive skin or allergies may experience a yellowish discoloration. This is especially true for dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin, which does not react well to acidic pH. Although rare, these people may experience irritation such as tingling, itching, and dryness after using vitamin C skincare. This can be treated by layering a moisturizer over the vitamin C product you use. If you have sensitive skin, it is recommended to start with a low concentration of this ingredient to observe possible skin reactions. In any case, it is important to test vitamin C on skin before incorporating it into your daily beauty routine.
OHSGIMA H. & al. Effects of vitamin C on dark circles of the lower eyelids: quantitative evaluation using image analysis and echogram. Skin Research and Technology (2009).
TELANG P. S. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal (2013).