Skincare 101: Vitamin C: What is it, how does it work, how do you use it?
For years, I have had those fizzy vitamin C tablets that you dissolve in water when you have a cold. I’m quite a long way from the recommended age now, but they are delicious nevertheless. Vitamin C is a relatively new addition to my skincare routine. It’s become really amplified within The Ordinary hype, as well as popping up in a lot of high street skincare (Una Brennan Vitamin C Oil Cleanser is a dream). So what’s it’s jam?
What is it?
Not just an orange anymore, vitamin C is now hailed as an anti-ageing, brightening ingredient that helps to alleviate sun damage. It comes in a few forms; L-ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphatem ascorbyl palmitate and retinyl ascorbate. Ascorbic is the most common in skincare and
How does it work?
Alongside the vitamin C you ingest in food, it can boost collagen production to make skin appear firmer and smoother and helps skin to fight against UV damage and free radicals (boo). It can also help you skin to heal itself, meaning it can help to fade brown spots or scarring, too.
How do you use it?
Vitamin C will become destabilised in contact with the air. This means you need to look for it in air-tight packaging, perhaps pump bottles, and a serum formation (like this from The Ordinary) is probably your best bet. As it’s good for protection and works with your SPF, it’s best to put it on in the morning underneath moisturiser and sun protection. If it’s high potency, it may feel tingly, so it’s a good idea to start with small concentrations and build if it feels uncomfortable on the skin. Any concentration of active vitamin C can do some good.
As a word of warning, skin can get irritated if you use Vitamin C with Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid and Retinol. So swap one out for the other to avoid a reaction.