Vitamin C is a super ingredient for the Skin
My clients know I’m not a big fan of most products labelled “anti-aging”. In my opinion, they’re often gimmicky and over sell their benefits. Instead, I often preach prevention and simple daily rituals to keep skin healthy as you age (rather than having to repair later down the road).
That said, there are a few great “anti-aging” ingredients that I do promote and vitamin C is one of them. Many studies have shown that vitamin C when applied to the skin can help brighten the complexion, fade pigmentation (aka “sun” spots) and post inflammatory scarring (aka red spots), help boost collagen production (for firmer skin), and help fight UV damage. Pretty great, right?
Not all forms of vitamin C are created equal
Depending on the version, it can be highly unstable when exposed to water, light, and oxygen, and poorly absorbed. There are about 7 or 8 versions of vitamin C used in skincare products and ascorbic acid (often labelled as L-ascorbic acid) is the most common version, but also the most irritating which can cause stinging and sensitivity because of its low pH level. It’s also much harder to stabilize (meaning it can oxidize easily making it useless and even harmful).
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) is a good stable, bio available (meaning easily absorbed) version of vitamin C, and has had encouraging results when studied. It also causes less sensitivity, however depending on the state of your skin you may find it still causes a slight tingling sensation.
FitGlow’s Super C Serum is one of the best vitamin C serums I’ve found on the natural market. It is well formulated and uses 20% SAP (which is the ideal percentage) with super hydrating hyaluronic acid and other antioxidants of vitamin E and ferulic acid to enhance the performance of the vitamin C. The serum is super light weight, champagne in colour, and feels silky after applied. This serum would be ideal for most skin types (see below for more), but particularly good for anyone who tends to struggle with breakouts and wants anti-aging benefits.
For an added boost, you can try FitGlow’s Super C Cream formulated with vitamins C & B and green tea. This healing and hydrating cream feels very nourishing when applied, but dries matte, making it perfect as a makeup base. I don’t recommend the cream for anyone who has trouble with breakouts or clogged pores though. It can be heavy and contains shea butter, which is great for most dry mature skin types, but can be troublesome for acne-prone skin (like me! Shea butter causes me to mildly breakout). If you want an added vitamin C kick, use seabuckthorn or rosehip oil after your moisturizer in the evening for a nourishing treatment while you sleep.
Just note: For stubborn sun spots and pigmentation, vitamin C serum won’t be your knight in shining armour (unfortunately stronger measures might have to be taken). Over time though, you’ll notice dark spots and pigmentation significantly lighten. In just over two weeks of using Fitglow’s serum, I noticed my post-inflammatory scars (aka red marks from breakouts) significantly fade.
What you should know:
- If you have sensitive skin or conditions like rosacea or eczema, be cautious when trying vitamin C; avoid it all together, or try a product that contains a low concentration (5-10%) –which may be more tolerable, but also less effective.
- Do not use if your skin barrier is compromised (ie. extremely dehydrated or irritated as a result of harsh weather conditions, allergic reactions etc.). Depending on the concentration and pH level, the serum may sting and exasperates the irritation. If your skin is compromised, use a hydrating serum with pure hyaluronic acid first and a nourishing moisturizer to boost your skin’s health before starting on a vitamin C regime.
- Start slow to see how your skin reacts. Patch test first.
- If the serum turns brown, throw it out. This means it has oxidized.
- Make sure the serum is in an opaque container and (preferably) in a pump to protect it from air.
- High quality vitamin C serums are not cheap. Instead of using it all year round (which you can) try using it as a booster treatment for a couple of months twice a year to help repair any damage and protect from UV damage. Try it out during the summer to protect against and again during the fall to repair.