Science of skincare: what is vitamin C? –

What are the skincare benefits of vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a key anti-ageing skincare ingredient that helps to gently brighten and smooth your skin. It’s one of the most power antioxidants and helps protect your skin against free radical damage caused by the environment, which can breakdown your collagen and encourage wrinkles and sagging. 

What are the different types of vitamin C? 

There are several different types of vitamin C that are used in skincare products, including L-ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphatem ascorbyl palmitate and retinyl ascorbate. The former has the most amount of scientific research surrounding its benefits and is deemed ‘the king’ of vitamin C, as Dr Sam Bunting explains in the video. L-ascorbic acid boosts collagen production and smooths and firms skin, as well as fending off photo-ageing.   However, any type of vitamin C in your moisturising serum and lotion will offer some skin benefit. 

It’s worth noting that when antioxidants are exposed to light and air too frequently they can breakdown, so it’s best to opt for formulas in air-tight packaging, pumps or single-use, individually wrapped products.

How should you use vitamin C?

To protect your skin from UV damage and environmental aggressors, vitamin C is more commonly recommended for your morning regime, however you can use at night as there is some research to say that free radical damage continues to effect your skin overnight. If you’re using glycolic or salicylic acid and retinol, you will need to leave some time in between before applying your vitamin C product to avoid any stinging or redness. 

Unlike most ingredients, research has shown that as little as 0.6 percent of vitamin C can help protect your skin from free radicals and ageing.  

The products recommended by Dr Sam Bunting:

Obagi Professional Vitamin C Serum, £69.98

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Acid, £90

Dr. Sam Bunting is a London-based cosmetic dermatologist specialising in great skin. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram  for more advice and videos on how to take care of your skin.

This series was filmed on location at The Glebe House London.


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