Brighter skin? Check. Tighter skin? Check. Skin that’s just generally better? Check. Let me introduce you to vitamin C.
You’re likely already familiar with the stuff in oral form — if you’ve ever had a cold and chugged orange juice or popped an Emergen-C, you know what’s up. But don’t sleep on vitamin C as part of your skincare routine, especially if you don’t already have an antioxidant serum in your regimen. Read on for you why you probably want to get your hands on this stuff, and not just in fruit form.
What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, and also happens to be a skincare superstar. While there are many different types of vitamin C, ascorbic acid (or L-ascorbic acid) is usually what you’ll find in skincare products.
Why should I care?
Well, a few drops of vitamin C every night can do as much for your skin as several other serums combined. It helps reduce inflammation, evens out pigmentation, brightens skin, protects your face from harmful UV rays, and even promotes collagen production.
How do I use vitamin C?
Like most skincare products, there is a right (and wrong) spot in your routine to apply vitamin C. Personally, I’ve found vitamin C to react a little too strongly with sunlight for my skin, so I stick to using it at night, but many people like incorporating it into their morning routines so figure out which you prefer and really stick to it. The beauty of vitamin C is that it is truly one of the most noticeably effective ingredients out there if you use it regularly.
When it comes to application, you want to make sure your skin is cleansed and toned/misted before applying the product, then add your oil or moisturizer on top after you’ve let it sink in for a few minutes. Because the serum or powder and carrier you’ll use is likely to be fairly thin, you definitely want to put it on earlier in your routine so that it can actually penetrate skin. (Remember: thinnest to thickest, or else the thick stuff will block the thin stuff from getting in.)
As for the actual products out there, you’re in luck — there are a lot of ways to get your vitamin C dose. The most common is in serum form or powder. (You can also find masks and cleansers with vitamin C, which are good for a quick fix, but you really want to let the stuff sit on your skin for longer than that.) Serums are great and super easy to use, but vitamin C is an incredibly unstable ingredient — it breaks down quickly when exposed to light, air or moisture, so serums often have a pretty short shelf-life. If you do go the serum route, opt for one that’s housed in a dark or opaque dropped bottle to protect it from the elements.
Another, more stable form is vitamin C powder, which is way more stable and durable than a pre-mixed formula. They’re often referred to as “boosters” as the powder is meant to be shaken into another serum, mist or moisturizer to activate it, thereby “boosting” the powers of whatever you’re mixing it into. What’s more, the effects of vitamin C are often more potent when combined with vitamin E or ferulic acid, to if you’ve already got one of these in your arsenal, consider a shake or two of vitamin C to really see what’s up.
(Do remember, though, that vitamin C is technically an acid. If you use other acids on your skin, be sure to wait at least 10 minutes between applications and stop using one or the other if it’s causing redness or irritation.)
+ Get more skincare & beauty tips from Allie White here!