I have noticed in recent months that more and more serums and skincare products with Vitamin C have entered the market. They all promise to brighten and aid the appearance of healthy looking skin. I’ve tried quite a few of these Vitamin C skincare products and have generally seen good results. But Vitamin C is notoriously unstable and difficult to use on the skin, and some people find that it can irritate their skin.
I asked, internationally acclaimed, Dr Alastair Clark from the Sandton Aesthetics Institute if the use of Vitamin C is a fad or a miracle that we should all incorporate into our skincare routine.
“Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can be used topically in dermatology to treat and prevent changes associated with photoaging. It can also be used for the treatment of hyperpigmentation,” said Dr Clark. “Because it is unstable and difficult to deliver into the dermis in the optimum dosage, research is being directed to find stable compounds of Vitamin C and newer methods of delivery of Vitamin C into the skin.”
THE BENEFITS OF VITAMIN C TO THE SKIN
Vitamin C is an antioxidant which protects the skin
Dr Clark says that Vitamin C is the most plentiful antioxidant in human skin. It forms a part of the complex group of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants that co-exist to protect the skin from reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can damage the skin.
Dr Clark explains the science behind Vitamin C’s protection of our skin: “As Vitamin C is water soluble, it functions in the aqueous (water) compartments of the skin cell. When the skin is exposed to UV light, damaging ROS are generated. Vitamin C protects the skin from oxidative stress by sequentially donating electrons to neutralize the free radicals.”
“Although Vitamin C alone can provide photoprotection, it works best in conjunction with Vitamin E, which increases the action of Vitamin C four-fold.”
“A combination of 0.5% ferulic acid (a potent antioxidant of plant origin) with 15% Vitamin C and 1% Vitamin E can increase the efficacy of Vitamin C eight-fold. This triple combination is very useful for the reduction of acute and chronic photodamage.”
Vitamin C aids collagen synthesis
Vitamin C is essential for collagen biosynthesis by the skin. Collagen maintenance and production is obviously vital for a youthful appearance of the skin.
(RELATED POST: 10 Foods that boost collagen production)
Vitamin C as a depigmenting agent
Dr Clark says that Vitamin C interrupts the key steps of melanogenesis (during skin pigmentation) and is therefore effective in treating and preventing pigmentation.
Vitamin C has an anti-inflammatory action
“Vitamin C has a potential anti-inflammatory activity and can be used in conditions like acne vulgaris and rosacea. It can promote wound healing and prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” says Dr Clark.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A TOPICAL VITAMIN C PRODUCT
Vitamin C is available in the market as a variety of creams, serum and transdermal patches. “Of these, only the serum contains active Vitamin C in an almost colourless form,” says Dr Clark. “It is unstable and, on exposure to light, gets oxidized.”
The stability of Vitamin C is controlled by maintaining a pH of less than 3.5. At this pH, the ionic charge on the molecule is removed and it is transported well across the outer layer of the skin.
ADVERSE REACTIONS OF TOPICAL VITAMIN C
Dr Clark says that topical Vitamin C is largely safe to use on a daily basis for long durations. It can safely be used in conjunction with other common topical anti-ageing agents such as sunscreens, tretinoin, other antioxidants and alfa hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid.
Minor adverse reactions include a yellowish discoloration of the skin, hypopigmented hair and staining of clothes, which occur due to oxidative changes of the Vitamin C. “Once applied, Vitamin C cannot be fully washed or wiped off the skin.” Rarely, stinging, erythema and dryness are seen after use of topical Vitamin C. These can easily be treated using a moisturiser says Dr Clark. Care must be taken while applying a product containing Vitamin C around the eyes.
THREE VITAMIN C CONTAINING PRODUCTS THAT I’VE TRIED
K-beauty cult brand, Klairs, has two products that I love.
Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop, R550 BUY
Remember that Vitamin C is more effective when used with Vitamin E so also get Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask
Formulated by Dr Alastair Clark and Dr Genevieve Marks for the Sandton Aesthetic Institute, this serum contains Vitamin C, E and A.
SAI Clinical Antioxidant Serum, R780 BUY
A trusted international brand that promises to deliver 3 times more Vitamin C to the skin than leading competitors.
Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum, R1495 BUY
(RELATED POST: Review- Dermalogica’s Biolumin-C Serum)
For more information contact the Sandton Aesthetic Institute
Tel: 011 883 3116
THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST