Vitamin C has been hailed as one of the most effective ingredients in beauty - but what does it really do for your skin?
Read on for your ultimate guide, as we explore why it’s a skincare essential and how you can make the most of Vitamin C in your routine, no matter how sensitive your skin.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin found in fruit and vegetables and also made synthetically for supplements and skincare products. Of course, it’s long been drilled into us to get plenty of Vitamin C into our diets – and that will do all kinds of good for your skin. But here we’re talking about topical Vitamin C that you find in your skincare, which can either be sourced directly from fruits and veg or made in a lab.
Its power lies in its status as one of skincare’s most effective antioxidants. Oxidation can cause damage, leading to anything from hyperpigmentation to blemishes – so applying something to counteract the process is essential for healthy skin. But that’s not all that Vitamin C can do.
Read on for the multiple benefits of using Vitamin C skincare and see what it can do for you.
The benefits of Vitamin C for your skin
Vitamin C is a true all rounder and can help all skin types, even the most sensitive (more on that in a bit). Here are just a few benefits of adding it into your skincare routine…
Vitamin C can help protect the skin from the environment. Aggressors in the outside world - think the sun or pollution - cause damage to the skin via free radicals. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps fight these free radicals and stops them in their tracks. This is why it is particularly important to apply Vitamin C in the morning.
Don’t forget, it doesn’t protect you entirely from the sun, so always wear SPF too. For an all-natural formula that suits even the most sensitive skin, try British Summer Time SPF30.
Plumps fine lines
If fine lines are worrying you, add Vitamin C to your shopping list. By fighting against free radicals, Vitamin C helps to support the skin as it ages by warding off damage. But that’s not all - it also helps to accelerate the production of collagen and elastin, the key building blocks of the skin to keep it looking bouncy.
That boost to your skin’s inner structure does more than just soften wrinkles. It also helps to give skin a healthy, smooth texture. It makes perfect sense; our natural collagen production reduces over time, and let’s face it - our skin is never smoother than when we’re young.
Evens out skin tone
Vitamin C has been shown to lighten dark spots and improve hyperpigmentation. This is because it actually blocks the enzyme responsible for pigmentation production (melanin). So not only will using it daily keep future damage at bay, but with the right formula you’ll also notice existing discolouration fade away.
Helps reduce scarring
This brightening effect also works well on scars left behind by blemishes and spots. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, Vitamin C speeds up the healing process so you can wave goodbye to blotchy marks.
Those melanin-blocking properties also improve the overall radiance of the skin, showing dullness the door. If you want a healthy, glowing complexion, Vitamin C is a must-have.
Vitamin C and sensitive skin
So you’re sold on the benefits – but what about sensitive skin? If you have reactive skin, it’s natural to be cautious of active ingredients. However, those with sensitive skin needn’t miss out. It’s all about what formula you use. Vitamin C itself isn’t a particularly sensitising ingredient; the issue lies with how it's mixed. Often, Vitamin C products contain fragrance and other actives which could set your skin off, but it’s the form of the active itself that can cause issues.
Ascorbic Acid, also known as L-ascorbic Acid, is the most common form of Vitamin C that you’ll spot on an INCI list. However, while it’s potent, it’s also highly unstable. It’ll often be mixed with other ingredients to help stabilise the formula, which can be a recipe for irritation. These include sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.
The higher the level of Vitamin C in the formula, the higher the level of stabilisers required – and the greater the risk of an adverse reaction. It also requires a low pH; but that alone will cause skin irritation, especially on sensitive skin.
The good news is, there are other forms available – like the all-natural corn-derived form that we use here at Pai – which bring all the benefits of Vitamin C to the skin, without the irritation.
Our oil-soluble, slow-releasing and stabilised form means you get the benefits of the ingredient to the very last drop, and in formulas that won’t destroy your skin in the process.
How to use Vitamin C in your skincare routine
Vtiamin C skincare is a growing category, with the chance to add it to every step of your routine - but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to use it. Here’s how to make the most of this antioxidant in your daily skincare routine without upsetting sensitive skin.
AM to PM
Much like a glass of OJ, Vitamin C is best used as part of your morning routine. As mentioned earlier, Vitamin C can help protect the skin from environmental aggressors such as UV rays and pollution - so applying it first thing can help give your skin the best possible chance for the day ahead.
That said, if you prefer you can also use Vitamin C in your PM routine to reap its other benefits and wake up to brighter, glowing skin.
For an everyday fix, try our Vitamin C face cream, C-2 Believe. This brightening moisturiser combines our potent, stabilised form of Vitamin C with upcycled Bilberry, a soothing superfood that’s rich in omegas for essential skin repair. Together, they keep skin looking radiant while making sure your skin barrier stays strong. Read more about how our Vitamin C moisturiser works here.
Mix it up
If you’re happy with your current routine and want to simply add Vitamin C with the products that already work for you, you’ll love our boosters collection. Our Vitamin C Brightening Booster contains 20% Vitamin C, one of the most powerful on the market. It’s oil-soluble and designed to be blended with your existing routine, so you can simply mix it in to your serum, face cream or face oil and you’re good to go. Overnight it works wonders blended with our Rosehip Oil for a real brightening boost.
New to our boosters? Find out more about how to use boosters in your routine here.