If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain annoyed at all the expensive beauty trends that seem to be the ‘magical cure all’ one day and tossed to the wayside the next, you’re not alone. For someone who takes all facets of skincare very seriously, I can’t tell you how frequently I hear claims that “this new [insert regime or product] is exactly what will cure your skin woes.” I (and my bank account) feel your pain, so today we’re talking about a tried and tested ingredient that should be an MVP in your skincare game no matter what age you are.
Touted as the “secret weapon for skin of all ages” by pretty much every skincare expert, makeup artist, and celebrity out there (including Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio), vitamin C creams and serums work to improve, hydrate, and preserve your skin from the inside out.
Despite it’s numerous multi-functional abilities, I think what really sets it apart from other products is its ability to rebuild your skin’s DNA at a cellular level. According to scientist and skin cancer researcher, turned award-winning dermatologist/skincare guru Dr. Dennis Gross, “Vitamin C is widely known for its antioxidant benefits for your body but also your skin, brilliantly boosting collagen while helping to treat UV exposure. It will also boost skin’s luminosity and smooth skin tone – so it really is a skincare hero,” Gross says.
Want to maintain a healthy, youthful complexion long into your future? Read on to learn the extensive benefits of vitamin C and why it should be the frontrunner of your daily skincare routine.
Increases collagen production within your skin cells.
Collagen is the most abundant form of protein in the body, and what’s responsible for giving your skin that plump, young, dewy glow. It also helps keep skin flexible, which prevents stretch marks. By the time you reach your late 20s, the amount of collagen in your body starts to decrease, and by the time you reach your 70s-80s, you’re going to have around 4-5x less collagen.
Clinical studies have shown that topically applying vitamin C increases collagen production in young skin as well as aged skin by igniting fibroblast activity within our cells. Fibroblast is the most common cell that produces collagen, so stimulating it increases the overall amount produced.
Increasing collagen can fill in the fine lines and wrinkles on your skin and prevent sagging. This means you can really get younger and firmer skin without having to get expensive, risky, and painful plastic surgery.
It’s never too early—or too late—to begin using vitamin C serums or creams for its collagen benefits alone.
Reduces under eye circles and skin discoloration.
Studies have shown that vitamin C can also help to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles. This is a no makeup required solution for those who are constantly trying to conceal the dark circles under their eyes. And who doesn’t want to have a more youthful, bright, and healthy appearance?
If you suffer from dark eye circles, skin redness, or other discoloration of the skin, then a quality vitamin C serum may also be able to help you achieve a more uniform skin tone and better complexion.
An even skin tone can help your skin look younger for longer, not only by stimulating collagen production, but by evening out your skin tone and brightening your complexion as well.
In addition to improving your skin’s overall complexion, vitamin C leaves the skin looking and feeling replenished and revitalized. It can brighten otherwise dull skin, allowing it to look healthier and more vibrant.
image by urban outfitters
Protects skin from sun damage.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, so applying it topically to your skin via creams and serums has been shown to protect your skin from damage against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. It also naturally helps to neutralize free radicals already present in the body, while reducing the formation of new free radicals due to prolonged exposure to the sun. This results in increased strength and elasticity of the skin, causing less sun spots and skin damage along the way. Of course, vitamin C should not be considered an alternative to wearing sunscreen, but when combined with regular sunscreen application, it can really work wonders for your skin.
Editor’s Note: I recommend applying a vitamin C serum underneath your usual sunscreen to give yourself a powerful UV defense combo and keep your skin fresh, hydrated, and young. Studies have also shown that skin is less red, dry, and swollen when vitamin C serum are used before sun exposure.
Reduces puffiness and inflammation.
In high enough concentrations such as a high-quality serum, it’s been found that vitamin C also has major anti-inflammatory qualities. This is ideal for people (aka me…) who tend to wake up in the morning with an unusual amount of puffiness around the eyes, cheeks, and jawline.
I can attest that using a little bit of vitamin C serum first thing in the morning, followed by a 5-minute (pre-refrigerated) jade rolling session for lymphatic drainage and inflammation can really go a long way here. Hint: I also keep my vitamin C topical cream in the fridge (next to my jade roller, of course) and cover my face and neck with the cream after I’m done rolling. Hasta la vista, unsightly puffiness.
How to use it:
The best way to use a topical vitamin C is to simply apply a small amount of once or twice a day—depending on your skin type—to clean, dry skin. It should be applied before you apply your makeup, but after you use your daily facial cleanser and toner. From there, wait for it to dry (or jade roll), and continue with your regular makeup and skin care routine.
Editor’s Note: vitamin C is completely natural, so there should be no concern about how your skin is going to react to it. The serums and cream are created for everyday use, and have no harsh chemicals or other questionable ingredients you wouldn’t want to put near your skin—unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many other skincare products currently being boasted across the market. Always read the ingredients before applying. This is so important for not only your skin, but your overall health as well, since your body internally absorbs everything you externally place onto it.
Here’s some of our favorite vitamin C skincare formulas:
How to get the most out of your vitamin C products:
Follow-up your vitamin C products with a moisturizer and eye cream. If you’re heading out for the day, make sure your moisturizer includes SPF protection (yes, even if it’s cloudy outside and yes, even if your makeup contains SPF.) Your skin soaks in harmful UV rays at all times throughout the day, and vitamin C + sunscreen help to prevent formation of new free radicals, which cause significant internal health and external skin problems.
Remember: Just like with any new skincare product you introduce into your regime, you may not see immediate results. It could even take up to a few months before you start to see noticeable differences in your skin. But, it’s working. We promise. Your body needs time to adjust, heal, and repair itself. Eventually you will start to see noticeable differences in overall skin hydration, wrinkles, brown spots, and sun damage overall.
I know these products are pricy and take a few weeks to begin to see noticeable results, which can be double frustrating to some, (it was for me, at least.) So, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your vitamin C skincare formulas:
- Follow application instructions. More is not better—more is more expensive in the long run.
- Use regularly. If you only apply once in a while, you won’t see results.
- Be patient. Don’t give up just because you don’t see immediate changes.
- Store correctly (cool, dry places) and always check expiration dates to ensure the potency hasn’t been compromised.
Take care of your skincare products, and they will take care of you! Long live your dewy, youthful glow.