With a never-ending list of skincare ingredients
thrown our way, it’s hard to figure out which are actually worth adding to our routines. One that can benefit just about every skin type is good ol’ vitamin C
. “Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which fights free radical damage,” notes Audrey Kunin, board-certified dermatologist and founder of DERMAdoctor. “It also supports collagen production
and can brighten the complexion, even the skin tone, and help skin feel firmer, more elastic, and lifted.”
Think you might want to get in on that brightening, complexion-perfecting action? Finding the correct percentage and form can be the hardest, and most important, decision you make. According to Heyday
Skin Therapist Jenna Walsh, most skincare products contain between 10 to 20 percent vitamin C, so it’s all about picking the perfect amount for your specific needs.
While considering your skin type is key, you also need to think about what else you’ll be mixing the ingredient with. Craig Kraffert
, board certified dermatologist and President of Amarte Skin Care, explains that vitamin C is very pH sensitive, and mixing it with AHAs tends to substantially diminish its delivery within the skin. He elaborates that cocktailing your anti-aging ingredients can actually backfire, noting how glycolic acid, vitamin C, and a retinoid can adversely interact. “It can cause irritation and compromise the effectiveness of the ingredients," he says. So, before assuming that more is more, take a step back, look at your routine, and consider how the ingredient will react with the rest of your products, instead of layering it all on and hoping for the best.
In addition to thinking about your skin type and the way in which vitamin C can react with other ingredients, it’s important to remember how vital sunscreen is when introducing it into your beauty arsenal. New York City-based dermatologist, Whitney Bowe
, reminds us that our skin has a remarkable ability to heal itself, if only we protect it properly. “Visible results can be quite quick if you are using highly effective products while [also] protecting [with SPF],” she says. Wondering what makes a product highly effective? She advocates serums over cleansers or moisturizers, as they're the most potent form of vitamin C. And when it comes to actually purchasing those products, remember that vitamin C expires at a faster rate than other skincare products, so bigger bottles aren’t always better. “It’s worth noting that when antioxidants
— especially vitamin C — are exposed to oxygen and light they begin to break down,” Walsh says. As such, she suggests keeping your vitamin C products for no more than six months to avoid the chance of irritation from oxidation.
As with any skincare product, it’s going to take time to see results. “Don’t expect magic in one week,” instructs Walsh. “Give your skin at least 3 to 4 months to complete several rounds of cell turnover before seeing a noticeable change.”
Now that you're up to speed on all things vitamin C, it's time to make room in your vanity. Ahead, you'll find some of the best, most highly rated vitamin C products on the market. Which will you choose?
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