There’s a new hero in the world of beauty and its name is vitamin C. It seems you can’t peruse the shelves in the skincare aisle these days without seeing products heralding the benefits of vitamin C, and for good reason. This incredible natural resource has been touted as the ultimate anti-ageing ingredient thanks to its ability to brighten, smooth fine lines, deeply hydrate and reduce the signs of ageing.
Sounds like a winner to us!
If you have yet to incorporate this sought-after skincare ingredient into your daily routine and are a bit unsure on whether you need to, read on as we spoke to cosmetic physician Dr Imaan Joshi to find out why vitamin C is so good for you and how to incorporate it into your daily skincare routine for the best results.
First things first, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is essential for our health and provides a host of benefits for our skin, including producing collagen, which helps keep our skin looking plump and hydrated. It also helps fight free radicals caused by UV radiation and aids the natural regeneration process in your skin, which becomes even more important to foster as you age.
It’s normal to start noticing changes to your skin such as unevenness, age spots and dullness, as you get older and that’s where Vitamin C comes in, helping to brighten and even out skin tone.
“Vitamin C helps even out skin colour by inhibiting melanin production, fading hyperpigmentation and dark spots over time without affecting normal skin colour,” Joshi explains.
It also improves and enhances the effects of your SPF sunscreen. Joshi says it’s especially to wear sunscreen if you’re using vitamin C in your skincare routine as it helps prevent your vitamin C from oxidising on the skin.
Unfortunately, very little Vitamin C makes it into the skin when consumed through foods, like oranges and kiwi fruit, which is why it’s important to apply it topically.
When it comes to introducing a new product, Joshi says you should always start slowly, explaining: “Vitamin C can be irritating to some skin types, so start slowly. Allow the skin to adjust and then increase as needed.”
When it comes to choosing an oil or serum, she says the sweet spot for the Vitamin C concentration level is between 10 to 20 per cent. Why? Because a concentration level higher than 8 per cent will deliver better results, but anything above 20 per cent could lead to irritation. As to whether oil or serum is better for you, it comes down to personal preference as they both work differently. Put simply, the purpose of oil is to nourish and moisturise the skin, while serums absorb deeply into the skin to stimulate results.
As to when you should apply Vitamin C and in what order, a good rule of thumb is to cleanse, apply Vitamin C serum or oil, and then moisturise, Joshi says. And the best time of the day to apply in the morning. However, if you’ve purchased a Vitamin C moisturiser you would finish your skincare routine with this followed by SPF for extra protection.
Joshi recommends avoiding pairing it with retinol (Vitamin A) or AHAs or BHAs (skin exfoliants found in some skincare products) as the combination of both can irritate the skin. If you really want to keep your retinol product in your routine, apply it at night and your vitamin C in the morning.
If you want to maximise the benefits of your vitamin C, Joshi recommends pairing it with hyaluronic acid (a deeply hydrating product found in many serums) and vitamin E. Both Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid hydrate, protect and repair ageing skin, so together they’re unstoppable. And in even better news, Vitamin C and Vitamin E are known as the ‘power couple’ in the beauty world as they each enhance the effects of the other.
Because Vitamin C is such a powerful product it can be irritating for sensitive skin, so if you know your skin is prone to flare-ups make sure you do a patch test on your jawline before applying it to the rest of your face.