You’ve probably heard it touted as a true skin savior. It’s right up there with sunscreen, retinol and hyaluronic acid as one of the best ingredients to apply to your skin. But you may be confused as to why it’s so great, and what format it should come in. If you count yourself amoung the confused, know that you are not alone. Vitamin C can come infused in a product, alone as a liquid or a powder, and in varying degrees of concentrations. Today, we’re setting the record straight on why Vitamin C is so important, how it makes a difference, and what you need to look for when selecting a Vitamin C product for your skin.
It is now well established in the scientific literature that topically applied Vitamin C is of enormous benefit to the skin. It is a naturally occurring anti-oxidant and the most powerful one present in human skin that protects against photoaging, photocarcinogenesis, the signs of genetic aging, and the development of hyperpigmentation. Since humans cannot synthesize Vitamin C on its own (i.e. we can’t produce it the way we can other vitamins) our only option is to ingest it (through fruits and vegetables that contain it) or to apply it topically to the skin. We actually need Vitamin C for survival (think back to your grade-school history lessons and the discovery of scurvy!), but our bodies limit how much get transported to the skin. For dermatological purposes, applying it topically is the most effective way of reaping Vitamin C’s benefits.
The chemically active form of Vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid, and this is the only form of Vitamin C that can be accessed by the skin. When selecting a Vitamin C based product, ensure this ingredient is at the top of the ingredients list. Because L-ascorbic acid is notoriously unstable, not every cosmetic formulation is made equal. As soon as it is combined in any kind of aqueous solution, it starts to oxidize and degrade in potency. It is also extremely UV and heat sensitive, so the container it comes in matters too when considering the integrity of an L-ascorbic acid based product. Finally, the fact that it is hydrophilic (i.e. it’s attracted to water) poses a real problem when we’re talking about the skin which is hydrophobic (it repels water).
In short, it’s a bit of a challenge to work with. What matters for you is this: so long as a formulation has L-ascorbic acid concentrations of 10% or higher, a pH of 3.5 or lower, and comes either in powder form or in a lipid based solution in a UV and temperature stabilizing bottle, you should be good to go. If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is! It’s a tricky ingredient to try and maximize in a skincare regime. But girl, do we ever have you covered.
Our Super C product is 100% pure L-Ascorbic acid and ticks off all the requirements listed above. To retain the potency of this chemical, we keep it in its powered form, stored safely in a little blue bottle to prevent oxidation. It only gets mixed immediately prior to application (in your hand!) using your favourite AHA cream, gel or nighttime moisturizer. Voila! The deed is done.
There’s still so much more to share about this miracle ingredient (like how it boosts the effects of sunscreen in protecting your skin from UVA damage and improves collagen synthesis) but that’s for a later installment. Today we’re glad to set the record straight on its efficaciousness and the importance of its formulation, stay tuned for more.