Vitamin C happens to be the the current sweetheart of everyone who knows a thing or two about anti ageing.
This topical vitamin works beautifully on dull skin, pigmentation and early wrinkles, yet is much gentler on skin as compared to its stronger age defying cousin i.e. retinol. Yes, no dryness, redness or peeling of skin that are an integral part of engaging with retinol.
Dull skin is usually a result of lack of hydration (dehydrated skin), old acne or inflammatory scarring, pigmentation and sun damage. So before incorporating Vitamin C in your skin regimen, make sure your hydration and sun protection are taken care off.
HOW THE MOLECULE WORKS?
Pollution, Poor diet and UV rays damage skin by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) which are precursors of oxidative stress that eventually causes collagen breakdown at dermis, leading to visible wrinkles.
- Topical Vitamin C acts as a local antioxidant and ensures optimal functioning of enzymes producing and stabilizing collagen.
- It counters pigmentation in skin by partially blocking melanin synthesizing enzyme Tyrosinase, decreasing melanin formation.
- It helps in wound healing and repairs skin damage.
Now you probably must be wondering that isn’t it a great idea to apply naturally occurring Vitamin C on our skin? After all those oranges, tomatoes and other storehouses of vitamin C should be good to use here. Well No, because Vitamin C (chemically L- Ascorbic Acid) is not stable & hardly absorbed by skin in its native form. This is the reason you would find various formulations in the market like
- Ascorbyl 6 palmitate,
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP): most stable, easily absorbed form,
- Sodium ascorbate
- Tetraisopalmitoyl ascorbic acid
That means its imperative to read the labels well before buying your vitamin C as inactive forms wont do any good to your skin.
The formulation as well as concentration of vitamin C makes hell amount of difference in effects, Look out for products with concentration higher than 10% vitamin C & added antioxidants like Vitamin E & Ferulic acid which have been shown to boost the efficiency of Vitamin C by 8 times.
Active forms of Vitamin C are colorless and effective only at acidic pH below 3.5.
Vitamin C turns into yellow inactive form on exposure to light and air, so do check that your vitamin C comes in a dark colored and airtight packaging. And though its going to hurt to hear or do, but discard your bottle of Vitamin C serum if the color turns to yellow and it has been opened longer than 6 weeks.
Best thing about this molecule is its low or negligible side effect profile. Mild yellow discoloration of skin, stinging or tingling sensations and breakouts in acne prone skin all that can possibly happen. Discontinue immediately on appearance of breakouts as its known to flare up acne in few people. Other side effects are however transient and resolve on continued usage.
Wait and do adequate research before you jump on vitamin c bandwagon looking at the influencers or a close friend.
Most of vitamin C serums are oil based and work great for dry & sensitive skins.
Oily and acne prone skins ideally need a gel/ light serum based preparation.
People with active acne should avoid vitamin C altogether.
There is not sufficient clinical data to tell if Vitamin C is more effective than other brightening agents like glycolic acid, niacinamide, kojic acid etc, however the beauty of this molecules lies in the fact that it can be safely used in combination with any brightening agents, sunscreens and even retinoids/ retinol. Just make sure you space out retinol at night and vitamin C in daytime with sunscreen applied on top of it.
It’s indeed a safe and easy to use anti aging molecule for someone in late twenties, pregnancy and sensitive to retinol.