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7 Myths About Vitamin C Debunked

It’s time to dispel the untruths about this effective anti-aging ingredient.
November 09, 2022


Vitamin C has been in the spotlight for a while now. It shows up as the star ingredient in a variety of skin care products. Social media creators can’t seem to get enough of the powerhouse anti-aging ingredient either, flooding our timelines with praise of their favorite vitamin C-infused heroes

But of course, with all that hype can come bad information and it can be difficult to wade through what’s fact and fiction. So, we’re taking a deep dive to debunk some of the myths about vitamin C.

Myth 1. Pure Vitamin C Products Always Lose Potency Quickly

The instability of vitamin C is, no doubt, a major challenge for cosmetic laboratories. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), vitamin C is pretty stable but it does dissolve quickly in water and it can be further decomposed when subjected to changes in temperature, oxygen levels and pH. 

The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum is formulated without water and packaged in an innovative air-tight metal tube to minimize UV and oxygen exposure. Similarly, the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift 12% Pure Vitamin C + E + Salicylic Acid Serum
is sealed in an opaque glass bottle to protect it from UV and light to ensure it stays potent until the very last drop.
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Myth 2. You Shouldn’t Use Pure Vitamin C If You’ll Be in the Sun a Lot

On the contrary, vitamin C is great at preventing and repairing sun damage and slowing down photoaging, especially when combined with vitamin E and UV filters. Also known for its antioxidants properties, topical vitamin C has been proven to be photo-protective. 

That being said, you should still wear SPF daily. The L’Oréal Paris Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30 contains both vitamin C and SPF for built-in sun protection, plus hyaluronic acid for hydration and Pro-Retinol for tackling wrinkles.

Myth 3. Pure Vitamin C Has to Be Really Concentrated to Work

If there’s one thing that TikTok has taught us in the past few years, it’s that more doesn’t always mean better. A high concentration doesn’t necessarily mean that the vitamin C is pure, stable and effective. If the concentration of vitamin C is too high or the vitamin C is not pure or stabilized, the skin care product may be ineffective or even pro-oxidant (induces oxidation). 

According to the experts at L’Oréal Paris, the concentration of pure vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid) needs to be at least five percent to have any impact. So a formula with 12 percent, like the aforementioned L’Oréal Paris Revitalift 12% Pure Vitamin C + E + Salicylic Acid Serum, has a sweet spot dose meant to balance stability, effectiveness and tolerance.

Myth 4. Vitamin C Doesn’t Play Well With Other Actives

When it comes to vitamin C, there are plenty of active ingredients that you can use within the same skin care routine — it’s all about layering the right way. Ingredients such as ferulic acid, vitamin E,  and niacinamide are a good match for vitamin C, helping to fight free radicals and wrinkles and enhance brightening and hydration.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) such as glycolic acid
, beta hydroxy acids (BHA) such as salicylic acid and retinol (vitamin A) should be layered carefully with pure vitamin C, as mixing them together can cause skin irritation. According to dermatologists, it’s best to use your pure vitamin C in the morning with SPF protection and apply the acids and retinoids as part of your nighttime skin care routine.
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Myth 5. Pure Vitamin C Always Irritates the Skin

As it’s very potent, pure vitamin C has garnered a reputation for irritating the skin. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to skin irritation from cosmetics, be sure to choose a vitamin C serum specifically formulated to balance efficacy and tolerance. Make sure it’s made for all skin types and consult with your dermatologist before mixing it with other active ingredients.

Myth 6. Pure Vitamin C Is for Older Women

Pure vitamin C is an ingredient of choice for those with mature skin but that doesn’t mean only the older population can reap its benefits. By activating the production of collagen and elastin and fighting free radicals, pure vitamin C enhances skin radiance and prevents the appearance of early signs of aging. This means that it’s also useful for young skin. So even if you’re in your twenties, vitamin C can help you achieve an immediate glow and long-term anti-aging effects. It’s never too early to start taking care of your skin’s future.

Myth 7. Ingesting Vitamin C Through Diet Is Enough for Your Skin

Studies show that only one third of the vitamin C ingested as food is available to the skin. For the skin to be able to protect itself from external stressors, dermatologists recommend applying pure vitamin C topically, as a serum, for maximum skin absorption and potency. 

Next: The Best Retinol Cream For Beginners

Edited by: Shalwah Evans, Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Prop Stylist: Katrina Rozeville, Prop Assistant: Emily Ramirez

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