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What Does Vitamin C Do for the Skin?

There’s a variety of reasons why topical vitamin C has become so popular in the skin care world.
April 04, 2022

When it comes to effective skin care ingredients there’s basically a whole alphabet of vitamins out there. One of the most popular ones — vitamin C — can be super beneficial for your skin, but do you actually know how? 

At the moment, topical vitamin C is very on trend in the skin care world — and with good reason. You’ve likely come across, or even used, tons of products touting the wonders of the anti-aging element. But if you’re wondering just how vitamin C benefits the skin keep reading, as we answer your questions about skin care products with vitamin C. 

Plus, if you want to get in on the topical vitamin C action yourself, we’ll tell you all about our best vitamin C serum, and our other favorite products formulated with vitamin C.

What Is Topical Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is found in more than just your morning juice of choice. Ascorbic acid — the pure form of vitamin C — is a natural antioxidant. Since humans do not produce vitamin C, they resort to ingesting it (like a glass of orange juice) and applying it topically with skin care products. 

If you’re still left wondering, “What do antioxidants do?”, let us get you up to speed. But first, you’ll need to understand what free radicals are. Yes, it’s going to get a bit sciency in here, but we’ll break it down.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, free radicals are produced by melanin and other skin tissues exposed to light. These free radicals are unstable, highly reactive oxidized molecules that can cause tissue damage. And that’s where antioxidants come into play, they can help neutralize the negative effects of damaging free radicals. 

For that reason, antioxidants like vitamin C are sometimes included in sunscreen formulas and — as the American Academy of Dermatology shares — are popularly used in other skin care products for their anti-aging benefits.

How Can Vitamin C Benefit Skin?

Vitamin C can help protect your skin from sunburns and free radicals. Pretty cool, right? As you may already be well aware, free radicals can lead to visible signs of aging, such as dark spots and wrinkles down the road — so it’s no small feat.

As per the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), vitamin C also increases collagen synthesis by stabilizing collagen fibers and decreasing collagen degradation. It decreases melanin formation, reducing pigmentation as a result. It’s why you may constantly hear about its brightening effects. The NCBI also states that vitamin C is the primary replenisher of vitamin E and works cooperatively with vitamin E in the skin’s protection against oxidative damage. 

How to Use Vitamin C In Your Skin Care Routine 

Since the efficacy of topical vitamin C depends on the formulation of the product it’s in, according to the NCBI, not all vitamin C skin care products are created. Still, there are a few different ways you can incorporate topical vitamin C into your skin care routine in order to take advantage of its benefits. Follow our tips below to get started:

1. Add a Vitamin C Serum to Your Skin Care Routine

One of the best ways to add vitamin C into your skin care routine is through using a serum with vitamin C. These potent formulas are an amazing way to provide your skin with vitamin C’s benefits. The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum is specially formulated without water, packaged in an air-tight metal tube sealed until ready to use, and produced in controlled conditions to minimize oxygen exposure and maximize potency and stability. 

It helps restore radiance in just one week and visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles in just two weeks. Pretty sweet, right? If your routine also includes a hyaluronic acid serum, it should come before your vitamin C serum. 

2. Pair Vitamin C With Broad-spectrum SPF

You know how we told you that using vitamin C can help protect your skin from free radicals? Well, as such, vitamin C pairs nicely with broad-spectrum sunscreen — which should already be part of your daily skin care routine. If you’re concerned about overcomplicating your skin care routine, consider using a moisturizer formulated with SPF

After applying your vitamin C serum, use the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30. Just be sure to toss the bottle in your bag when you’re done since SPF should be reapplied at least every 2 hours.

If you prefer to keep your moisturizing and SPF steps separate, apply the L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Intensive Anti-Aging Moisturizer before your sunscreen of choice. 

3. Store Your Products Formulated With vitamin C Correctly

It turns out that how you store your vitamin C skin care products matters. You should keep your products formulated with vitamin C away from air and sunlight (think: somewhere dark). If you don’t, you risk your products losing their potency or destabilizing. 

Next: 11 Top Anti-Aging Ingredients We Can't Live Without In 2022

Edited by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn

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