4 reasons why you should include Vitamin C serum in your skincare routine
Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is the most abundant antioxidant in human skin. Though most plants and animals can synthesise vitamin C from glucose, humans and other certain vertebrates cannot synthesise vitamin C on their own because they do not possess enzyme called L-glucone-gamma lactone oxidase which is required for the synthesis of Vitamin C. Hence it is considered an essential nutrient that needs to be supplied in our diet.
However, only a small amount of vitamin C will be biologically available and active in the skin, although we intake a high dose of vitamin C orally. On the other hand, topically-applied vitamin C appears to be a valid route for delivering ascorbic acid to the skin because ascorbic acid seems to be taken up readily at an acidic pH. The use of topical vitamin C is, therefore favored in the case of cosmeceuticals.
Benefits of vitamin C in skin care
1. Vitamin C as a potent antioxidant
The free radicals which are unstable and over-reactive are likely to bind to vital and sensitive molecules such as proteins (collagen), fats and other tissues. When the skin comes to contact with UV light, free radicals such as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are produced. This process creates an endless chain reaction and can cause cumulative and significant damage, including alteration of the cellular DNA, the cell membrane and the cell proteins results in the development of premature aging and accelerated aging of the skin.
Vitamin C shields the skin from oxidative stress by successively donating electrons to neutralize the free radicals. The oxidized types of Vitamin C are moderately non-reactive. Mechanisms of vitamin against free radicals balance concentration antioxidants and prevent them from harming the tissues and cells to help preserve skins natural glow.
2. Vitamin C and anti-aging effect
Collagen is one of the most plentiful proteins which is responsible for particular biological functions, one of which is to provide structural support in the skin. As we age, these building blocks degrade as the synthesis of collagen lowers, which result in wrinkling and other typical signs of skin aging.
Vitamin C stimulates and promotes the biosynthesis of collagen quantitatively and qualitatively by stabilizing and cross-linking the collagen molecules. Topical vitamin C has been shown to associate with better skin appearance, with notable decreases in skin wrinkling.
3. Vitamin C and anti-pigmentation effect
The pigment that gives human skin its colour is known as melanin which is present in melanocytes of the epidermis. When our skin exposes to sunlight, melanin particles gather and absorb UV rays as they pass through the upper layers of the epidermis and create a protective coating making our skin tan.
Topically-applied vitamin C has the cosmetic effect of fading blemishes and brightening the skin by inhibiting the action of the enzyme tyrosinase.
4. Vitamin C and replenishing of vitamin E
Vitamin C is also known to be the primary replenisher of vitamin E that has a fundamental role in protecting cell membranes against oxidative stress and maintaining the collagen network in the skin.
In addition to the mechanisms as mentioned above of actions, vitamin C can promote wound healing and prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation due to its anti-inflammatory activity.
Vitamin C its derivatives
Ascorbic acid is very unstable and pH dependent. Therefore, its esterified forms are incorporated into skincare formulations to help to prevent the degradation of vitamin C.
Common vitamin C derivatives are:
- Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP)
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP)
- Ascorbyl Palmitate (AA-PAL)
- Ascorbyl Tetra-Isopalmitate (VC-IP)
- Ascorbyl Glucoside (AA-2G)
- Ascorbyl 2-Phosphate 6-Palmitate (APPS)
- 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbate (EAC)
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Palmitate
- Calcium Ascorbate
- Sodium Ascorbate
Our vitamin C brightening facial serum includes Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP) - a stable, water-soluble derivative, this form of vitamin C is gentle on skin.
The esterification of ascorbic acid protects vitamin C from oxidative degradation. This stabilized form of vitamin C is added to improve the appearance of aged and fragile skin and to correct hyperpigmentation and age spots.
For optimal results, apply a product containing 2-3% SAP.
Combinations of vitamins and other active ingredients in anti-aging therapy
Can I combine Vitamin C product with other active ingredients, like Vitamin A or E, etc...?
Although Vitamin C alone can provide photoprotection, it works best in conjunction with Vitamin E (Alpha-tocopherol) and vitamin A (retinol and retinoids) providing a noticeable antioxidant activity, which indicates the potential effects of photoprotection against skin photoaging.
Note: if your vitamin C product contains L-Ascorbic acid, do not combine with a product containing vitamin A, because they work optimally in different pH environments. L- Ascorbic acid products are formulated to be at a low pH of less than 3.5, while retinol works best at a pH of 5.5-6.
Combination of vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide products cannot be applied as they can counteract each other’s effects: The benzoyl peroxide can oxidize the vitamin C.
However, if your product contains vitamin C derivatives (like our Vitamin C Brightening Facial Serum) you can combine with vitamin A containing products because both work best at a pH of 5.5-6.
Also, it is highly recommended to wear sunscreen SPF 30 or above after applying vitamin C product for greater protection.
M.Sc. in Medical Microbiology, B.Sc. in Applied Science (major in Chemistry and Botany) and more than 8 years of industrial experience. In her career, she has formulated 600+ new products, reformulated existing products and created experimental studies to resolve problems during projects.
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